October 2009

Call me Reilly. Rick Reilly. (Group Sales Gab)

~Kathryn Bobel, Co-Director of Group Sales


In my high school years I had always believed that writing was the path for me.  Not just free-lancing or beat reporting, but sports writing.  I thought, what is better than becoming the first female Rick Reilly?  I would get paid to entertain hundreds of thousands of people with my opinions concerning everything from the sheer pointlessness of a 0-0 tie in soccer to the ever eccentric Ocho Cinco (the NFL calls him that, I guess I have to too) and his on and off the field antics.  Once a week my column would enter homes and be the first article that hungry readers eagerly flip to.  “Who is this amusing, witty writer?” they would ask.  But, somewhere along the line I fell out of love with the written word; perhaps it was the innumerable hours spent composing papers pertaining to the rise of railroad, the Franco Prussian War, or the archetypal references in A Tale of Two Cities–or maybe I realized I wasn’t ever going to provide 1/20th of the entertainment Reilly consistently does.  Instead, I chose to work 16 hour days at a minor league ballpark 700 miles from home, where for a while, my only benefits included leftover suite food and free Pepsi products. 


This summer was my first in the “real world,” that looming, post-graduate place where early twenty-somethings like myself are attempting to establish roots and make a name for ourselves.  Unfortunately, a good number of us moved back in with Mom and Dad, seeing as the job market is tighter than Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh’s bikinis.  However, I was lucky enough to enter the sport and entertainment industry, where the fast-paced, unforgiving environment isn’t necessarily for everyone. There are others, though, who embrace it whole-heartedly; I consider myself to be the latter.  I moved to a place I had never been before and shared an apartment with someone I had never met before, all to work for a team that I knew only through its website (www.hickorycrawds.com to any of you wondering–check it out for the latest Crawdad happenings).  As terrifying as that seemed, any fear was canceled out because I was so excited to do what I had prepared myself for. 


After getting a tad bit of distance from the collegiate scene, I’ve learned that your most rewarding experiences won’t necessarily come during a lecture, that my professors were telling the truth when they said get ready to work long hours for little pay, and that despite my early trepidations about leaving the familiarity of the classroom, the real world is actually a pretty cool place.  So to all you kiddies out there, just know that it’s after you don your cap and gown that the real fun begins. What I learned this past summer, who I have come to know, and who I have become will stay with me for a lifetime.


Henry David Thoreau once said, “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you’ve imagined.”  After ten months of going confidently in the direction of my dreams, I can honestly say I wouldn’t rather be anywhere else than right here, working 16 hour days at a minor league ballpark 700 miles from home.  However, my benefits are now considerably (and thankfully) better than leftover nachos.


Kathryn Bobel is entering her second season with the Crawdads and first as Co-Director of Group Sales.  She served as Sales Assistant with the ‘Dads throughout the 2009 campaign, after stints with the Indianapolis Indians (AAA) and US Track and Field.

On MLB Playoffs

There have been a ton of blunders throughout the 2009 MLB Playoffs, most of which have been committed not by the players, but by the supporting cast.  And, there’s been even more attention paid to these blunders than the typical scrutiny that comes with October baseball.  I’d be remiss, I think, to not mention the fact that the umpiring in general and certain broadcasting have been brutal.  However, this horse is dead, metaphorically speaking, and I don’t feel like beating it further.  So, instead, I’m going to focus on a major bright spot that has shone even clearer during these playoffs — Joe Buck.

A lot has been made about the job Buck has done during this postseason — how he has, on numerous occasions, guided the oft side-tracked, albeit really quite good, Tim McCarver and typically inarticulate, though informative, Ken Rosenthal back to relevance.  He has tactfully fulfilled his responsibility to note when the umpires err, which has been a lot, without crossing the line of ragging on them in my opinion. 

He has brought story lines of varying public attention, not only within the game but also within the past couple of years, back to light.  A great example of this is when, with Alex Rodriguez at the plate in the 5th inning, Buck noted that, although it can be dangerous to read body language, A-Rod is clearly confident in his game right now. 

He brought up the antics that Rodriguez employed in past postseasons to try to mask the fact that he was desperately trying to figure out how in the world to get on base, and astutely commented that those painful antics are no longer on display.  While he was discussing the difference in Rodriguez’s body language, A-Rod stepped back into the batter’s box with no wasted nervous movement, intensely peered out to the mound with lips pursed in concentration, and promptly hit the ball 400 sum-odd feet into the left field stands. 

As a broadcaster, that is a moment we pray for.  When you bring up a story line, make an observation or profer a possible scenario, strategic or otherwise, and in the blink of an eye, or in this case the swing of a bat, the situation or story line you referenced (or guessed at) actually occurs, as if on cue. 

It’s funny, SI.com writer Tom Verducci advised that everyone realize that they’re watching one of the game’s best in A-Rod at the very top of his game and to appreciate that, but in that moment when A-Rod hit that home run in the 5th inning on Tuesday, it became evident that we’re also listening to one of the game’s best (if not the best) at the top of his game in Joe Buck, something we should also realize and appreciate greatly.

Andrew Buchbinder is entering his second season as director of broadcasting/media relations with the Crawdads.  He previously served in similar capacities with the Bakersfield Condors (ECHL) and the Bakersfield Blaze, the ‘Dads High-A affiliate in the California League.

Rafters handle Javelinas, Look out for Conrad!

Well, it’s rainy… and cold… and dreary… and far from baseball weather here in Hickory, NC.  However, such is not the case in Arizona — the wild west, the land of cacti, cowboys and Arizona Fall League baseball.

As previously mentioned, the Crawdads have an alumn suiting up in the prestigious fall league, reserved for baseball’s top prospects.  Doug Hogan, the ‘Dads starting catcher for the majority of the 2009 season, is one of five Rangers prospects on the Surprise Rafters.

The Rafters commenced their season an evening ago with a match-up against the Peoria Javelinas.  To say that the Rafters got off to a good start may very well be the understatement of all understatements, as the team cruised to a 17-4 victory.  Hogan had one at-bat in the game and was retired, but, as all ‘Dads fans know, despite his excellent power at the plate, it is what Hogan does behind the plate that makes him so valuable.

The Rafters and Javelinas are in the midst of a rematch this afternoon, with Peoria up, 4-1, in the bottom of the second currently.  Hogan, along with the rest of the Rangers prospects on the team, have the day off to begin the game.

Next on the docket for the Rafters are the Mesa Solar Sox, who are 1-0 after a 10-6 victory over the Phoenix Desert Dogs last night.  Solar Sox vs. Desert Dogs round 2 is tonight.  One of my favorite parts about the AFL are the teamnames, with Desert Dogs and Solar Sox ranking as my personal favorites.

In other news, the ‘Dads have been well-represented in the community of late, with appearances at Oktoberfest all weekend long and at the Business Expo all day today.  Conrad the Crawdad and the Speed Pitch have entertained a lot of fans throughout the past couple of days, and we certainly appreciate everyone having us out.

In fact, look for Conrad out and about a lot this offseason, as the Crawdads are starting up a Community Care program.  Details will be released next week, so definitely check Hickorycrawdads.com for those.

And now, a couple completely random photos to fulfill my picture-in-blog requirement.  Enjoy…


One that makes you think (it’s a globe):



And one that doesn’t:



Andrew Buchbinder is entering his second season as director of broadcasting/media relations with the Crawdads.  He previously served in similar capacities with the Bakersfield Condors (ECHL) and the Bakersfield Blaze, the ‘Dads High-A affiliate in the California League.



Goodbye 2009, Hello 2010 (Blogs from the Boss)

On behalf of the entire Crawdads staff, let me be the first to wish you a Happy New Year!  We are not going crazy at L.P. Frans Stadium — we do realize there are still 3 fun-filled months left in 2009.  After all, we still have Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas to look forward to.  However, in the baseball the world, we have closed the books on 2009 and are starting to plan for 2010.  


Thanks to everyone that made the Crawdads 2009 season a great one.  Fans, sponsors, players, coaches, game day staff and front office staff all play a vital role in bringing excitement and energy to the ballpark every night.   While the record on the field was not what we all hoped for, we were able to see a number of talented players that we can now watch work their way through the Rangers farm system on their way to Arlington.  The 2009 season ushered in a number of changes — a new affiliate, new uniforms and a new infield, just to name a few.  There were a number of fun events throughout the year, such as fireworks, the Sonic Flood concert, Bark at the Park, giveaways, etc., but as we said before, it is now time to say goodbye to 2009.  


Hello 2010.  April 16th is only 190 days away and will be here before we know it.  (I know the clock moves at the same pace it always has, but it sure seems like time moves faster these days.)  We are in the process of planning for an exciting 2010 season.  We will have many of your favorite promotions like the ones listed above, but we will also implement a number of new promotions this year.  We are still in the planning stages so it’s too early to say what all will be in store for this year, but we promise it will be a year filled with excitement both on and off the field. 


Happy New Year!


Mark Seaman

General Manager


P.S.  We want to know what you would like to see next year.  Whether it’s a promotional idea or something else, email us at crawdad@hickorycrawdads.com with your thoughts and suggestions.  We may not be able to implement all of your ideas, but we promise to discuss them all!