November 2009

Thanksgiving Eve (Crustacean Nation)

~Andrew Buchbinder, Director of Broadcasting & Media Relations

First off, let me begin by saying Happy Thanksgiving Eve!  With Turkey Day right around the corner, it’s tough to focus on anything but the delicious feast on the horizon.  Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, mushroom cream soup… and PIES!!  As is evident by my use of CAPS lock, the final member of my list is my favorite — I’m a sucker for a good Thanksgiving pie.

When it comes to pie, or desert in general, I really don’t see the need to mess around with fruit.  This being the case, I tend to stay away from the fruit pies.  Instead, I focus all of my remaining stomach capacity on the pies that really stick to your ribs.  Pecan pie and pumpkin pie are far and away my favorites.

And don’t forget the ice cream!  There’s nothing like a scoop (or two) of vanilla ice cream to compliment a delicious slice of fresh pecan or pumpkin pie.  Man, I can’t wait for Thanksgiving.

It’s interesting, during the past couple of years, Thanksgiving has made a significant climb up my list of favorite holidays.  I’d say Christmas still has it beat (not to mention Square Root Day), but Thanksgiving is getting up there. 

Easter used to rank second for me, but this was largely contingent upon the image of the Easter Bunny.  When the bunny’s true identity came to light (namely my dad begrudgingly walking around the yard at 5 a.m. planting plastic eggs), Easter took a bit of a step back (on a purely superficial note by the way).  I do like peeps though, which helps Easter’s ranking.

If one thing has become clear throughout this stream-of-concsiousness rambling of a blog, it is that I cherish holidays.  Not just for the good food, but also the opportunity to reconnect with family. 

During the past three years or so, including a two-year stint to the left coast and my current residence in North Carolina, I haven’t had the opportunity to spend as much time with my family as I had previously been fortunate enough to.  Spending quality time with them is the real reason I am looking forward to this holiday season, kicking off with Thanksgiving tomorrow.  So, with all that said, enjoy your family (and pies) during the holidays, and have a safe and happy Thanksgiving!

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. 

AFL Update – Hogan Heating Up (Crustacean Nation)

~Andrew Buchbinder, Director of Broadcasting & Media Relations

Hard to believe, but the Arizona Fall League is already coming to a conclusion.  It’s a little scary, but I have the sneaking suspicion that April will be here before any of us know it.  Not to suggest that the anticipation of another season of Crawdads baseball hasn’t already begun to rise, we just have a ton to do before Opening Day 2010 rolls around!

Anyway, back to the AFL.  The big news that is relevant to the Crawdads is the increasingly hot bat of former ‘Dads C Doug Hogan.  Hogan started off a little slow at the plate for the Surprise Rafters (14-16), but has begun to get that signature power back. 

After going homerless in his first seven games as a Rafter, Hogan has belted a bomb in four of his last seven contests, and is now tied for 7th in the top prospect-filled league with four homers overall.  In fact, 40% of Hogan’s hits in the AFL have left the ballpark, which is not too far of a cry from his percentage as a Crawdad – 27% in a much larger sample size.  More than a quarter of the slugger’s hits as a Crawdad were home runs – not too shabby, eh?

The only downside of all of Hogan’s success is that, barring some unexpected turn of events, the Clemson grad will most likely never don Crawdads Red again.  Of course, this is only a downside for some (namely us), not for all (namely Hogan and the teams he plays for in the future).  And, since we try not to be selfish here, we’ll bite the bullet and be happy for his success in the prestigious Arizona Fall League.

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On a totally unrelated note, I just returned to Hickory after a week-long vacation in California, visiting some good friends of mine in Bakersfield.  Actually, since Bakersfield isn’t exactly the garden spot of the scenic state, I only spent a couple days there, mixed in with some sightseeing and time on the beach.

In my two years as a California resident, I had never made it up to see San Francisco.  Determined not to fall to a similar fate during my visit, I strategically booked my flight into San Fran, making it impossible for me to miss it again.  I ended up having a great time wandering the city and being a tourist. 

I explored the Fisherman’s Wharf area, taking in all the sights (and interesting smells) that it has to offer.  In particular, I greatly enjoyed the street performances.  There was an English trio (two brothers and a sister) that were all gymnasts, and were literally standing on each other’s heads on the sidewalk.  Apparently, they go to circus school in San Francisco.  Their humorous banter coupled with the contortionistic (quite possibly not a word) poses made the 20-minute performance incredibly enjoyable – easily one of the highlights of the trip.

Another great aspect was the ferry ride around the bay.  Literally cruising underneath the Golden Gate Bridge before taking a tour around Alcatraz was a great time.  Not to mention the view of San Francisco from the bay.  Speaking of views, if you ever go, check out the World’s Curviest Street.  First walk up it (approx. 235 steps along the side of the street) then turn around and look down the hill.  While your legs throb, you’ll get one of the best views in the city.

After meeting up with my buddies in Bakersfield, we quickly hit the road south for Hermosa Beach.  That was our destination whenever we had some rare time off from the hockey schedule when I worked there, and it was a bit of a surreal feeling to return to our getaway spot now that I no longer work and live with those guys. 

Regardless, it was as close to paradise as I remembered it to be.  And I met Blake Griffin (the Clippers #1 pick out of Oklahoma) at a watering hole.  He’s tall.  And actually not too bad of a guy.

Though it was a great trip to scenic locations (possibly excluding Bakersfield) with some of the best friends I’ve ever had, it is nice to be back in Hickory, despite the rude welcome from the rainy conditions (a drastic difference from the beaches of Southern California).  Besides, anyone who’s been down to L.P. Frans Stadium and has seen the sun take its decline down behind the mountainous backdrop knows that North Carolina knows a thing or two about nice views as well – not a bad place to spend my days!

And of course, some pictures to enjoy:

 

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View from the bottom of the World’s Curviest Street

 

 

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View from the top.

‘Til next time, Go ‘Dads!

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. 

Working in Baseball and not knowing a thing about it (Group Sales Gab)

~Kim Scercy

I never watched baseball growing up or played tee ball as a kid, but somehow I have landed a job in the one sport I didn’t know a thing about, but have learned to appreciate the sport and I’ve even learned a little about it.

Why am I working in baseball if I don’t know a thing about it? Well I have 2 reasons…  #1- I needed an internship to complete my degree and everyone always told me that if you want to learn a little bit about everything, minor league baseball is the way to go. Reason # 2- On of my teammates came across the internship position for the Hickory Crawdads, and we both needed to complete an internship in the summer of ’08 and  so we both applied hoping would both get the internship so we could work and live together for the summer.

Well our plan worked and we completed our internship together in minor league baseball. We only needed 400 hours for our internship; little did I know we would complete them in as little as 2 months. During my interview I was asked if I would be willing to work long hours, wear our mascot, and do anything from selling tickets to cleaning up the stadium.

I learned really quickly that long hours are not what you would expect (10 hours a day instead of 8) but 16 hours a day, seven days straight. I guess that didn’t affect me too much because I returned in ’09 for a second internship and after the season landed my first “real” job in minor league baseball. The mascot… appearances always gives you a chance to get out of the office, but it’s not always the best time. There’s always that one kid that thinks its fun to pull your tail or punch your stomach and of course the after smell of wearing a big red suit in 90 degree weather. Selling tickets can be stressful too!

It’s not easy working in baseball and not knowing a lot about it or the phenomenal athletes that have played the sport.  I always get asked about former players and teams, and have to pull the answer out of thin air, but I have survived two seasons and hopefully a third to come. …

Kim is entering her third season with the Crawdads and first as Co-Director of Group Sales.  She spent the previous two as a Sales Assistant while completing her education at Gardner-Webb University.