May 2009

ZOOperCrawdads!!!

Ok, so it’s been a couple weeks since the last blog, but I promise I’ve been hard at work!  I’ve spent the majority of my time lately, racking my brain to come up with ZOOperstar names for the Crawdads, in honor of the ZOOperstars coming to L.P. Frans this Saturday for the game against Hagerstown at 7 p.m.  For those of you out there unfamiliar with the ZOOperstars, they are caricatures of famous athletes, the likes of Whale Gretzky, LeBronco James, Nomar Garciaparrot…  It’s going to be a huge night at the ballpark with the ever-amusing mascot entertainers, so I figured I’d put pen to paper, or at least fingertips to keys, and see what we could come up with for the ‘Dads.

Here we go (in no particular order, with ZOOperstar name in italics):

Martin Perez — Martin Parrots

Jared Bolden — Jared Golden Retriever (and he brings back fly balls – it all comes together so nicely!)

Yoon-Hee Nam — Loon-Hee Nam

Mark Hamburger — Lark Hamburger

Eric Fry — Eric Fly

Jake Kaase — Snake Kaase

Doug Hogan — Slug Hogan (in reference to his slugging ability, not running ability… he can move for a catcher!!)

Joe Wieland — Crow Wieland

Tyler Tufts — Tylark Tufts

Cristian Santana — Cristian Santanteater

Timmy Rodriguez — Timmy Frogriguez

Zach Zaneski — Zebra Zaneski

Matt West — Cat West

Glenn Swanson — Glenn Swanson (That one was easy!!)

Ryan McNeal (Strength Coach) — Ryan McSeal (It was between McSeal or Lion for his first name, but Lion would have sounded too cool!)

That’s all I’ve come up with so far.  If any further dawn on me, I’ll be sure to fill you in!  Also, if anyone has any good ones, feel free to post them as a comment on this blog.  To comment on this or any other blog, all you have to do is click the link that says “comments” just to the bottom of this entry.  Hope to hear some good names from the Crustacean Nation, and look forward to seeing everyone at the ballpark for the ZOOperstars and Drawstring Backpack Giveaway this Saturday at 7 p.m. (call 828-322-3000 for tix today)!

Go ‘Dads,

Andrew

Greetings from Ohio

Hello ‘Dads fans and greetings from Ohio.  Can’t exactly claim that I’ve been anxiously waiting for the day I got to say hey from Ohio, but the hotel is nice enough and the sun is shining, so I can’t really complain.

The Crawdads are just kicking off an eight-game road trip with four in Lake County and four in Lakewood, NJ.  A lot of people wonder what goes on on the road.  While you always come back from a trip with some new stories, generally amusing ones, typically not a whole lot actually happens.  And I like it!

The players tend to have either a mandatory or optional workout every morning.  Some of the coaches go along as well, and I choose to catch up on some much-needed sleep, by which I mean sleeping in until 9:30am.  While they’re staying in shape I try to stay caught up with work by firing up the ‘ol lap top and updating game notes, going through emails, writing blogs…

The timing works out well, because I am normally relatively caught up noon, which is about the time that they all get back from the gym.  After that, I meet up with the coaches and grab some lunch.  By the time we make it back from lunch, there is generally about an hour to kill before the bus to the ballpark, which normally leaves around 2:45 – 3 p.m. 

When we get to the ballpark, the coaches settle in to their office, the players begin to get ready for pre-game stretching, bp, infield… and I head up to the press box to find my designated perch and start setting up.  You never quite know what type of radio booth will be waiting for you. 

I’ve called games from some of the least comfortable (an outside, dicrepit, open wooden box with a canopy for “cover” in the blazing hot central California summer in Visalia) to some of the most hospitable (your own spacious booth in one of the most beautiful ballparks I’ve been to in Stockton, CA, which is lined with palm trees along the outfield wall at the side of the river, not to mention the incredible press box food they bring in), and overall SAL radio booths have ranked somewhere in between.

To be honest, I kind of had a good time calling games in Visalia.  My favorite time of the day is at about 6:30pm, staring out at the filling ballpark, taking a deep breath and knowing that I have the best job in the world, and it would be extra nice to do so in Visalia, where the cool summer breeze would blow through your outdoor perch and have an added relaxing effect.  You also got a great view of the sunset by simply turning around and looking out of the ballpark.

Anyway, back to the road.  I tend to get all my prep done right away so I can head down to watch BP from behind the cage.  Whether at home or on the road, this is the single best time to talk to the players, while theyre waiting for their cuts in the cage, as well as the coaches.  It also sets me up down there to grab someone for a pre-game interview after BP and infield.

The players then retreat back to the clubhouse for their final pre-game routines, while I dart back up to the booth with a pre-game interview to upload.  Once that is complete, I inhale what ever press food there is, drink my necessary pre-game coffee, and gaze out at the park in between jotting down some final notes for the broadcast.

That’s about it for pre-game, and after the game I either meet up with the coaches for some post-game, er, Pepsi products, or just go back to the hotel to shut it down and get ready to do it all over the next day.  Before you know it, we’re back home for another homestand and before you know it, it’s September and the season’s over.  Just more reason to enjoy every day, even if it’s spent in Ohio!

‘Til next time, Go ‘Dads!

Andrew