Jay Matteson will direct the Fan Experience for 2022
WATERTOWN, NY - The Watertown Rapids Collegiate Baseball Organization recognized at the
beginning of the 2021 season that they needed to bring more energy and excitement into their
operations. Coming out of the pandemic, The Rapids knew they had a good management team
assembled in their General Manager Nick Czerow and Director of Operations, Nate Matteson.
The owners felt confident their young managers could grow the business side of the operation.
But Czerow and Matteson knew there was another side of the game that would be critical to the
Czerow said, “We recognized that we needed a new level of energy to make our games
exciting, even for those who may not be big fans of baseball.” “We needed someone who could
run our events on the field, interact with our fans, and just make the whole experience something
to remember”, Czerow added.
“When Nick and I talked about this I knew exactly the person we needed, said Nate Matteson, adding, he has a huge voice, is not shy, and I’ve watched him
actually change the momentum of games and help teams who were losing, win!” “That person
happens to be my dad, Jay Matteson” he added. After talking with the ownership team, the two
managers approached Jay about providing their on-field voice. Jay agreed but decided to
volunteer for the season to see how it worked out, for everyone. By the end of the 2021 season,
the fans and Jay had built a strong bond. Every game was fun and exciting even when the score
may not reflect a win for the Rapids Baseball Team. Jay started a tradition of having the fans
start the games by yelling “Play Ball!” in unison. The Rapids Roar was invented where Jay and
the fans would yell “Let’s Go Rapids!” so loud, it could be heard inside nearby restaurants. Jay
roams the stands interviewing the audience and creating unplanned events and excitement.
During the last game of the season, the weather forced the teams to wait almost two hours while trying to get the field ready to
play. During that time, Jay, the two baseball teams and the fans had so much fun giving away prizes and competing in games.
For 2022, the owners of the Watertown Rapids have contracted with Jay Matteson to become
their Fan Experience Specialist. Mr. Matteson will provide business development expertise to
the management team in the off-season. Matteson’s priority during the season will be to enhance
the experience the fans have when they come to the park. The owners want their games to
become a fun and exciting event where a baseball game happens. "People want to have a fun
relaxing exciting experience on beautiful summer days and nights. The Watertown Rapids will
be the place to go for that experience." Matteson added.
While talking with Jay Matteson, he emphasized “The Duff”, the ballpark at the Alex Duffy
Fairgrounds in Watertown, is Northern New York’s “Field of Dreams.” Jay had the opportunity
to coach a lot of youth baseball as his son played saying “I remember the awe and excitement
from the kids as they’d go watch collegiate baseball at The Duff.” “The youth players all
dreamed of a day they’d get to play at the Duff. Then when some of them had the opportunity to
play wood bat league baseball, they’d walk onto the field of the Duff, and you could see it in
their faces. They were here.” according to Matteson.
Matteson said that as a coach, he felt the
same way. “It is quite an experience to finally walk out on to “The Big Field” and know that you
were coaching a team on this field.” said Matteson. Jay indicated that it was great to watch the
college students have the same experience. For many it is the first time they ever play baseball in
front of a large crowd, with the lights, the music, the action. It is exciting for them.
Regarding becoming the “Voice of the Watertown Rapids” on the field, Mr. Matteson says he is
looking forward to working with the Watertown Rapids Organization, the players, and the fans to
create an exciting and fun environment and have a baseball game happen at the same time.
Matteson finished by saying, “The best moments come when a young fan comes to him after the
game and asks for his autograph and he looks at them and can see in their eyes, they are at their
field of dreams.”
The Rapids are now preparing for the 2022 baseball season and tickets will be on sale soon. The whole Rapids team looks forward to seeing you all back again.