The Fight that Never Was

By Patrick Drengwitz, Community Relations Assistant

I can say with all honesty that nothing excites me more than the return of baseball in a few days, and the anticipation will keep building until opening day. Of course being an employee for a minor league team, I’m sure you could’ve guessed that. There is, however, another return that has caught my attention and it’s not of a sport, but of an individual athlete that I consider the best in the game.

In 41 days, the world’s best pound-for-pound boxer, Floyd Mayweather Jr., will make his return to the ring after his two-month stay in prison. The challenger is WBC Interim Welterweight Champion Robert Guerrero. Now, normally a return for such a dominant and undefeated superstar such as “Money” Mayweather would have people buzzing like crazy. However, that is not the case, and the reason why: the man in the other corner is not Manny Pacquiao.

The fight that would end all fights and likely go down in history as one of the best of all-time would undoubtedly be Mayweather vs. Pacquiao. The two have traded the title of best-pound-for-pound fighter in the world more times than I can count, yet no combat between the two has been seen. Unfortunately, it probably never will be seen and this is where the appeal of boxing almost completely diminishes. When there are two figures in a sport clearly a step above the rest, it is only natural for fans to want to see a clash of the titans. We have been treated to it many times with Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, two tennis greats who have given the public several instant classics. So why then can’t boxing get this match booked and set pay-per-view ratings that would stand ‘til Rapture?

Well, I think Pacquiao is scared.

First of all, with the egos that boxers have it’s a shocker that Pacquiao wouldn’t want to be the man that puts the first digit in the losses column for Mayweather. It’s also frustrating because I believe he’s the only guy that could do it. I don’t mean to diminish Mayweather’s past foes, because he’s fought some seriously bad dudes. And because Mayweather has put together a flawless track-record, it’s not completely out of the question to say Pacqiuao is flinching when he looks at that stellar 43-0. Pacquiao’s record is 54-5-2. In case you need a specific fact and not my own speculation, Pacquiao has also been difficult when it comes to the drug testing that has been suggested for the fight. The Filipino doesn’t want blood drawn within thirty days of the match for fear of weakening him whereas news from the Mayweather camp suggest Floyd couldn’t care less how he is tested. Is Pacquiao hiding something or does he have a legitimate gripe? He did, however, say that he would submit to testing directly after the fight, but what point would that be if damage had been done to Mayweather already?

It may have been futile to even write such an article since this argument seemed antiquated years ago when the third try for the fight fell through. But it still bugs me to see Mayweather fight and not have an opponent that legitimately puts that streak in jeopardy. I’m not really a boxing fan at all, but as a sports fan I know when I have the opportunity to watch something with the potential to be monumental. Those pay-per-views aren’t cheap either, but if that fight ever did happen, I would shell out the cash in a heartbeat.

Patrick is starting his first season with the Crawdads and hopes it leads into a long career with baseball. He is from Gaithersburg, Maryland and majored in Communications at Salisbury University. Patrick wrote for his college paper for two years before becoming the sports editor when he was a senior. He enjoys watching all D.C. sports, breaking a sweat at the gym and spending free time with friends.


Liver Mush and Basketball: How I Am Spending the End of the Offseason!

by Evan Schaffer, Group Sales Assistant

Just wrapped up my first couple months in Hickory and it has been a blast! I am really enjoying working for the Crawdads and it has been a pleasure meeting people around the city, whether it’s on the phone or in person.  Many people have told me that it is imperative to try Liver Mush while I am here, so now I can proudly say I finally tried it. Sorry, but I am going to stick with the brisket or pork. Hickory is definitely a different town than my hometown Houston, the 4th biggest city in the country. The biggest difference is the scenery. In Houston it’s mostly flat and at night you’re lucky if you can see two stars in the sky because of the pollution. Here in Hickory the mountain scenery and the numerous visible stars in the sky make this town great to live in!

I am very excited for the NCAA Tournament to begin. I may be from Texas, but I am a big Duke fan and I am expecting them to win it all this year. You can probably catch me at one of my favorite restaurants, Buffalo Wild Wings, throughout the tournament. Wings and plenty of TVs, you can’t beat that! We are now less than two weeks away from Opening Night and I can speak for everyone with the Crawdads that we are excited to start the season. GO DUKE!

Evan is entering his first season with the Crawdads and his second season in minor league baseball. He is from Houston, Texas, graduated from Texas Tech University with a degree in Sports Management before earning his master’s degree at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia.  In his spare time he likes to play the drums and do anything that keeps him active outdoors.

Introducing Quinn

By Quinn Gruber, Group Sales Assistant

Hey Crawdads Fans!

My name is Quinn Gruber and I am the new Group Sales Intern for your 2013 Hickory Crawdads. I want to use my first blog entry to introduce myself to all the Crawdads fans out there who plan on coming to the park and following the ‘Dads this year. I just arrived Western Carolina last week and have already fallen in love with the area that our ‘Dads call home. Originally, I hail from the opposite side of the US, from the small town of Aptos, California. Aptos is located in Santa Cruz County, about an hour and a half south of San Francisco on the beautiful Monterey Bay. When I was ready to attend college I toyed with the idea of schools all over the country before eventually packing my stuff up and heading north to the University of Oregon, located in the friendly college town of Eugene. The son of a high school basketball coach and third of four children, I grew up a huge sports fan, and that love only grew when I stepped foot in Tracktown USA and became an Oregon Duck. At the U of O, I majored in Political Science with a minor in Business Administration. I was also a member of the Warsaw Sports Business Club and Sigma Nu Fraternity.

Like I said, I am a big time sports fan. My favorite teams include the Chicago Bears, the Golden State Warriors, and the Oakland Athletics. Being that we are an affiliate of the Texas Rangers, I suppose I am venturing into a little bit of enemy territory, but as long as we have the same results in the AL West that we did last year, I don’t think that will be a problem! In my spare time I love to play all sports, especially basketball and golf. I also love to travel the country, so I am hoping that living in a new area will allow me to explore even more places that I have yet to see!

Thanks for checking in Crawdads fans, and I hope to see you all out at the ballpark to enjoy America’s pastime this season!

Quinn is beginning his first season as a group sales assistant with the Crawdads. A native of Aptos, California, outside of Santa Cruz, he is a 2012 graduate of the University of Oregon, earning a degree in Political Science.

Sam’s Hidden Treasures of Television

By Sam Sigal, Media Relations Assistant

Pitchers and catchers are now reporting to Spring Training, and that means one glorious thing: BASEBALL IS AROUND THE CORNER! While the time from the end of the World Series to the beginning of Spring Training is only roughly four months, at times it can seem to be so much longer. While football and basketball have given my life its fair share of excitement, there has been way too many weekday nights after work humming the lyrics to the Vapors’ early 1980’s hit “Waiting For the Weekend.”

However, thanks to cable television, as well as my little sister’s Netflix password, I recently discovered (or shall I say re-discovered) hidden treasures, the term I use to describe my all-time favorite television shows that, despite their extreme excellence, each got taken off the air way too soon.

Below is the list of five shows, in no particular order, which got cancelled too soon. Shows had to have fit into two catagories for inclusion: 1) lasted no more than two seasons and 2) were awesome.

1)Freaks and Geeks
Seasons: 1 (1999-2000)
Total Episodes: 18
Why it was awesome: It was created and directed by Judd Apatow, and included James Franco, Seth Rogen, Jason Segal and the guy who grew up to play the dorky doctor in Bones. Watching a cast featuring those before-their-prime actors, as well as a consistently hilarious storyline depicting two separate social groups (the nerds, and the outcasts) in an early-1980s, convinced me why this show is always on any and every list of the top shows that ended too early.
2)Sports Night
Seasons: 2 (1998-2000)
Total Episodes: 45
Why it was awesome: It was a comedy about a fictional sports-news show. Just like how NBC’s 30 ROCK hysterically depicted the behind-the-scenes environment of a sketch-comedy show, Sports Night was both funny, and well-written, as the creator and head writer was Aaron Sorkin, the same guy behind the West Wing, The Social Network, A Few Good Men, and Moneyball, not to mention a weird cameo playing himself in a few episodes of Entourage.
Seasons: 1 (2001-2002)
Total Episodes: 17
Why it was awesome: Undeclared portrayed a group of freshman suitemates adjusting to life in college, and is the second of two Judd Apatow-created shows on this list, and just like Freaks and Geeks, Undeclared was absolutely hilarious, featured really funny characters portrayed by actors who would go on to television and movie stardom (Jay Baruchel from She’s Out of My League, and Charlie Hunnam from Sons of Anarchy, as well as two guys Apatow kept from Freaks and Geeks in Jason Segal and Seth Rogen).
4)Eli Stone
Seasons: 2 (2008-2009)
Total Episodes: 26
Why it was awesome: The main character, Eli Stone, is a hot-shot lawyer who finds out in the first episode that he suffers from a brain aneurysm. As a result of his aneurysm, Stone has hallucinations that not only features pop-star George Michael singing to him, but also contains signs leading him towards cases and causes that not better his life, but the life of others as well. While this show is the only non-comedy on this list, and I am normally not one for sappy “find yourself for the good of the world” stories, Eli Stone was probably my favorite show during the year and a half it was on the air. It had the perfect mix of sadness with Eli struggling with his possibly life-threatening condition, and happiness with Eli using his hallucinations for good, as well as being serenaded by George Michael in those visions. You can’t get happier than that, right?
5)$#*! My Dad Says
Seasons: 1 (2010-2011)
Total Episodes: 18
Why it was awesome: I love William Shatner. I love goofy old men jokes. Adding those two things together made for 30 minutes of laughing. However, I barely remember what the show was about outside of William Shatner saying funny stuff. That’s probably a solid indicator on why it the show didn’t last.

Honorable Mentions (two shows that just missed the cut, lasting for three seasons)
Star Trek (3 seasons spanning 1966-1969): Due to the fact that Star Trek has become arguably the most successful Sci-Fi franchise, it is easy to forget that the original show failed to extend past three seasons, and that the cult following came years later.
Arrested Development (3 episodes spanning 2003-2006): A very successful show included on virtually every “cancelled too soon” list. Perhaps the most disfunctional family in television history, the Bluth family never strayed far from our minds, as a series of Netflix episodes and a possible Arrested Development movie are both in the works.

Sam enters his first season as media relations assistant with the Crawdads. Born in San Francisco, California before moving to Princeton, New Jersey, Sam graduated from Rider University with a degree in Communications and a focus in Radio Television, while serving as Student Manager for the Men’s Basketball team during his time there. He spent 2012 as an intern with the Trenton Thunder, the AA team of the New York Yankees. Sam enjoys playing and watching sports, as well as hanging out with friends and having a good laugh (or a bad laugh, if there is such a thing).

February Blues

By Teddy Ingraham, Director of Food and Beverages

Sports…February would be even worse without them. The weather is bad and everyone has the post New Year blues. With the Ravens being crowned World Champs last night, the city of San Francisco was denied the jubilation felt in Boston in 2004, when both the Patriots and Red Sox shared the moniker that the Ravens have now. Now football is over and baseball, unfortunately yet to start, it is time to focus our attention on College Basketball. With my Kentucky Wildcats finally seeming to put together a couple of good games, I couldn’t be more excited for the madness that is March to begin. I don’t know if anyone around here was interested in the Michigan – Indiana game on Saturday night, but it was incredible to watch. Victor Oladipo was magnificent and the almost ally-oop that he tried would have been the dunk of the year if he could have converted it. If I had to pick two teams right now that would be playing for the national championship, I would have to pick Indiana and Florida. Those are the two best teams right now, but Michigan, Kansas, Miami(FL) and Duke can also make a strong case. There are some great games coming up and for the most part they are on ESPN so keep an eye on your local listings. The one that I am most looking forward is the Kentucky–Florida game on the 12th in Gainesville. If UK can manage to pull off a win then they will have punched their ticket to the dance, which would be fantastic. That’s what I’m looking forward to leading up to Opening Day here at the ballpark which is April 4th. Until the 4th I’ll have college basketball and my personal favorite time of the year: “Pitchers and Catchers report to Spring Traning” to look forward to.

Until next time,
Teddy Ingraham

Teddy is entering his first season with the Crawdads and second season in baseball. He is from Hebron, Kentucky, just south of Cincinnati. He is a graduate of Northern Kentucky University, with a degree in Sports Business and minors in Math and Business Administration. In his spare time he enjoys watching ESPN and following his Kentucky Wildcats and Cincinnati sports teams.

Introducing Evan

By Evan Schaffer, Group Sales Assistant

Hi Crawdads Nation! I wanted to introduce myself. My name is Evan Schaffer and I am the new Group Sales Representative for the Crawdads. Here’s a little background information about myself. I was born in Houston, Texas and attended undergrad at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas.  I got my masters in Sports Management at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia. I love working in baseball, and in 2009, I was an intern for the Asheville Tourists, a Minor League Baseball team also in the South Atlantic League, and the following year I was a Video Scout for Baseball Info Solutions in Coplay, Pennsylvania.  I am very excited to be working with the Crawdads and looking forward to a great season in Hickory!

Here are some more interesting facts about myself. I am a huge fan of sports. Coming from a state that loves football, I am a big Texas Tech University and Houston Texans fan. I am disappointed in the 2012 season, but I have a feeling 2013 will be the year for the Texans!  I’m also a huge fan of the Houston Rockets, the only professional sports team in Houston to win a championship.  I also love to travel.  My favorite place to go to is the beautiful Key West, Florida, especially in the winter to get out of the cold and into somewhere warm.

Feel free to stop me and say hello, as I am excited to meet the great Crawdads fans at the ballpark!

Evan is entering his first season with the Crawdads and his second season in minor league baseball. He is from Houston, Texas, graduated from Texas Tech University with a degree in Sports Management before earning his master’s degree at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia.  In his spare time he likes to play the drums and do anything that keeps him active outdoors.

A Lasting Image

By Katie Buchholz, Promotions Assistant

Check out this photo of one of our fans after he failed to complete the CLAWlossal Challenge last season.

Sorry, bud. You’re headed to the CLAWlossal Wall of Fame.

It’s nice, right?

This is the photo that welcomed me to my desk on my first day here as the Promotions Assistant for the 2013 season. Media Relations guru Andrew Buchbinder thought it’d be a funny joke-and it was. But what’s even funnier is that I’ve made it the background on my computer and kept it as such since that day.

Everybody in the office has an opinion on it-most come in and laugh and make some remark about how miserable the poor guy looks after falling short of CLAWlossal glory. Assistant GM Charlie Downs is especially fond of commenting on the photo-he actually came in while I was writing this and joked that I should write about our mystery man here…Already in progress! And Director of Promotions Jared Weymier, with whom I have the good fortune of sharing an office, can’t understand why I’ve put this on my desktop. He tells me probably everyday that I should take it down, but I won’t. For a few reasons, actually:

First, I think it’s funny.
Second, I have yet to find another picture on this computer that I like more.
And third, I just don’t care to change it.

This picture was good enough for me when I started and, barring the discovery of an even more exceptional picture, this photo will be good enough for me until the day I bid my desktop adieu.

And I guess that, in a way, this is what I want to look like at the end of the season. Beat down and exhausted and utterly defeated after having put all of myself into every inning of every game; ready to burst from having inhaled and crammed in every last bit of information that I can fit into my brain; and disappointed that there are things left undone, things we couldn’t manage to find a way to squeeze into an already chock-full promotional schedule.

And really, it reminds me of how much I can’t wait for ballpark food. Because, seriously, is there anything better? I think not.

Katie is in her first season with the Crawdads as the promotions assistant. A native of Racine Wisconsin, Katie will graduate in May from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse with a degree in sport management. Previously, Katie has interned with the UW-La Crosse baseball and football teams, as well as the La Crosse Loggers of the Northwoods baseball league. A die-hard fan of the Milwaukee Brewers, Katie likes to read in her free time, as well as follow sports.

Introducing Teddy

By Teddy Ingraham, Director of Food and Beverages

Hello Crawdads fans, my name is Teddy Ingraham, and I am your new director of Food and Beverages. I want to take some time to introduce myself. I have just moved to Hickory from Hebron, Kentucky where I was living and attending Northern Kentucky University. It is a growing school in Highland Heights, KY that just became Division 1 and member of the Atlantic Sun Conference, a small conference composed mostly of teams in Florida and Tennessee. I lived in many places as a small child with my Dad being in the Army. I was born in Georgia, moving to Germany when I was a year old, and then back to the states when I was 3. Ever since my dad’s retirement from the military, I have lived in the Northern Kentucky with the exception of living in Wilmington, Delaware for a year while working concessions for the Wilmington Blue Rocks, a Single-A team in the Carolina League. I could not be more excited to move out here and help you all have a great time at the ballpark while also enjoying a quality food experience!

Just to give you a little bit more about me, I am a huge sports fan with baseball being my favorite sport. I grew up a huge Cincinnati Reds fan which hasn’t been a great experience in the past but these last few years has been fantastic due to our recent run of success. My dad is from the northeast, so I will admit to being a fan of the Boston Red Sox, which also wasn’t that much fun until 2004 when we finally broke through and won a World Series. Another sports love of mine is the Kentucky Wildcats, since being from Kentucky, basketball is more of a religion than a sport. Watching the Wildcats is always a fun activity, even though this year hasn’t gone so well.

Well now you know a little more about me and I look forward to learning more about Hickory and all of the Crawdads fans!

Teddy is entering his first season with the Crawdads and second season in baseball. He is from Hebron, Kentucky, just south of Cincinnati. He is a graduate of Northern Kentucky University, with a degree in Sports Business and minors in Math and Business Administration. In his spare time he enjoys watching ESPN and following his Kentucky Wildcats and Cincinnati sports teams.

San Francisco Treats

By Sam Sigal, Media Relations Assistant

The “Big Apple” and “The City of Brotherly Love”, New York City and Philadelphia to be exact, can cast a pretty big shadow, especially when it comes to professional sports. And for the majority of the last fifteen years, I have lived in Princeton, New Jersey, a place smack-dab in the middle of those two fan territories. With two teams occupying New York in all four of the big-time sports, most of my friends, and the people around me rooted overwhelmingly for one of three professional teams in each sport. For example, in baseball I was usually overwhelmed by Phillies fans, Yankee fans or Mets fans, while in football it was the Eagles, Giants or Jets most people were cheering for come fall season. I, however, was born in the beautiful city by the bay out west known as San Francisco, California. So when the Yankees were celebrating the four World Series Championships in five years from 1996-2000 and again in 2009, the Phillies won a title in 2008 and a National League Pennant the following season, and the Mets were, well, the Mets, but for some reason still being talked about, my team, the San Francisco Giants, meddled through mediocrity.

Football was certainly not any better. The Philadelphia Eagles may have failed to win a Super Bowl during the Andy Reid Era, but no NFC team during the past decade won more games. And let me tell you, not many things are more obnoxious than Philadelphia sports fans who THINK they’ve accomplished more than they have. During that time period, the New York Giants made the postseason six times, with two Super Bowl appearances and one title (adding a second this past season). Then, there are the Jets. The Jets to me epitomize New York sports. Sure, outside of one successful guarantee by Joe Namath more than forty years ago they haven’t won anything. However, due to an obnoxious head coach who likes hearing himself talk as much as he likes coaching, the New York fan base is peculariouly hypnotized into believing that the Jets are actually worth caring about.

But, I once again didn’t have much to stack up against either of those teams. For my kindergarten memories of the San Francisco 49ers’ Super Bowl XXIX victory in 1994 was the highlight of my football fandom for the better part of the next fifteen years. While the end of the 90’s offered glimpses of success, the ‘ole Gold and Red quickly sunk to the bottom of the football ladder, while my friends’ favorite franchises prospered.

Long story short, watching teams like the Yankees and Phillies prosper on the diamond, while the Eagles and New York Giants thrived on the gridiron (not to mention the Mets and Jets staying annoyingly relevant) caused me to resent even more the lack of success of my favorite squad. But, slowly but surely the tide has turned! In 2010, my San Francisco Giants not only returned to the playoffs for the first time in seven years, but went on to win their first World Series crown since 1954! Unlike fans of perennial powerhouses like the New York Yankees, the World Series title in 2010 left me with a sense of satisfaction that I thought would last a lifetime. I didn’t need a dynasty. Heck, one World Series ring was good enough for me! But, as if I was being rewarded for my years of disappointment (okay, I apologize Cubs fans, I guess it wasn’t THAT bad), one championship didn’t have to last forever, as only two seasons later Buster Posey, Pablo Sandoval, Matt Cain and the San Francisco Giants did it again, and in turn became the first team since THOSE New York Yankees to win multiple titles in three years.

And while I may be jumping the gun a bit writing this days before the 49ers take on the Atlanta Falcons with a birth in Super Bowl XLVII at stake, Colin Kaepernick, Frank Gore, Patrick Willis and the rest of Coach Jim Harbaugh’s squad has a chance to turn me into something I never thought I’d be: A fan spoiled by winners. I guess that leaves me with one question I can ask myself:

Is San Francisco the new New York?

Sam enters his first season as media relations assistant with the Crawdads. Born in San Francisco, California before moving to Princeton, New Jersey, Sam graduated from Rider University with a degree in Communications and a focus in Radio Television, while serving as Student Manager for the Men’s Basketball team during his time there. He spent 2012 as an intern with the Trenton Thunder, the AA team of the New York Yankees. Sam enjoys playing and watching sports, as well as hanging out with friends and having a good laugh (or a bad laugh, if there is such a thing).

NFL Playoffs

By Adam Dries, Broadcast Assistant

It is that time of the year, as the NFL Playoffs have hit the final games of a great season. The conference championship games are upon us, and four teams will battle it out for the two spots down in New Orleans, and a chance at Super Bowl glory.

This year like almost every year during the Belichick era, the Patriots are staring down an AFC Title. Just like in the 2012 Playoffs they will be up against the dangerous Baltimore Ravens. We all know that the Ravens will be ready to get some revenge for their heartbreaking loss from last January. This is the Patriots’ time to shine, but do not count out a fired up Ray Lewis, who will reach back for whatever is left in the tank to try to get one last shot at his second Lombardi Trophy.

The NFC Championship will once again feature the other Harbaugh coached team the 49ers, against Matt Ryan and the Falcons. Ryan is trying to prove he can be a big game QB, and there is no better place to do just that than in the Playoffs. But the 49ers are too complete of a team to lose this game if they play their style of football.

My predictions:

AFC Championship: Patriots over the Ravens- 31-21.
NFC Championship: 49ers over Falcons- 41-35

Super Bowl: Patriots over 49ers- 38-35

Make sure to keep reading! My next blog will feature how I am adjusting to life in Hickory, and counting down to April and Crawdad baseball!

Adam Dries is entering his first season as broadcast assistant with the Hickory Crawdads. A 2010 graduate of Western Carolina University, Adam also currently serves as a procurement officer for the City of Charlotte