OPENING DAY: Silver Hawks success contagious?


Their field has a new name, there's a new sound system, and a new statue as you walk into the center field entrance to Four Winds Field, home of the South Bend Silver Hawks.The team is celebrating the start of a new season tonight.Part of the festivities includes unveiling a new bronze lifesize statue of legendary South Bend resident and Major League Baseball Hall of Famer Stanley Coveleski.The stadium adorns Coveleski's name.It's just one of many improvements and changes Silver Hawks owner Andrew Berlin has commissioned there.In the past several years, Berlin has made more than $4.5 million dollars worth of improvements, including upgrading the stadium, new Tiki Bar and better lighting.This year, Berlin has put in a better sound system and improved food concessions.The clubhouses have also been given a makeover.Berlin says it's not just about the game or the new stuff, it's bigger than that.Jeff Rea, President of the St. Joseph County Chamber of Commerce, says the surrounding communities need toplay on these lessons learned.

"The Silver Hawks have really worked on the whole experience and trying to improve the whole experience," said Rea. "If we as a community do those kind of things, it really will enhance and bring people here and lead to new jobs and new capital investment."

Rea says Berlin bases his decisions on what's called a Net Promoter Score System.Customers are divided into three groups- fans, passives and detractors.They are asked one main question - Would you recommend our company?Berlin uses the information and answers gleaned from the process to make adjustments.Rea is encouraging other area businesses to use the system."We have to eat the elephant one bit at a time, start chipping at it, and just keep trying to make an impact where ever we can," said Rea.South Bend Deputy Mayor Mark Neil throws out the first pitch at Tuesday night's game, which starts at 7 p.m.Post-game fireworks are also planned.

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