April 2010

1/7 down (Crustacean Nation)

~Andrew Buchbinder

Tonight is game #20 of the 2010 season.  It’s tough to believe that somewhere in the whirlwind that the past three weeks have been, we’ve played 19 ballgames this season.  Seasons come along and seasons go so quickly, it is imperative to try to slow things down and breathe every once in a while.

For me, that’s been what this series in Savannah has been all about.  Opening road trip is done, the first homestand of the season is in the books, and now routine can settle in.  There’s no better city to foster a little relaxation than this one.

Savannah oozes history, my other love.  Just being in the ballpark, aptly named ‘Historic Grayson Stadium,’ is a special experience.  Historic Grayson juxtaposes the new and the old perfectly with a new playing surface that has been kept up very well situated within old, yet comfortable confines.

It is impossible to deny the ‘ol southern charm of the ballpark in Savannah.  With the old-fashioned, and probably just old, benches that make up the majority of the stands and the gigantic fans hanging from the grandstand cover that cool everyone off beneath them, it’s almost a ballpark out of one of those great baseball movies that document the game in the good old days.  (A side note, The Natural was on tv this morning… if you haven’t seen it, do so NOW… I’m in the double digits and it gives me goosebumps every time).

It almost feels as if everything moves slower, as if, with the benches and fans, and southern moss hanging from twisty old trees all around, we’ve been transplanted into a quieter, simpler environment.  It’s impossible not to relax.

Not to even mention a great night spent meandering up and down the cobblestone-laden River St., taking advantage of the incredible seafood and fun night life after our day game on Sunday.  With live music at every turn, the sweet, salty breeze blowing in off the water and street performers serenading strangers on the riverwalk, again, it is impossible not to relax.

Entering this trip, I (somewhat) jokingly said that I was happy to come to Savannah in April before it gets so hot down here that the simplest of movements feels like a chore.  Now, with one day remaining in our lone trip to this city, I have a different perspective. 

While I am still happy to not be in the midsummer humidity down here, I’m more thankful that we’re here right now because it provided me a moment to breathe, a moment to experience the unavoidable history of this city and this region, and a moment to slow things down and gain a rejuvenated perspective on this marathon that we’ve embarked on yet again and are already a seventh of the way through.  The beginning of every season is frantic and stressful but also a beautiful thing once you settle into it, and there’s no better way to settle into a campaign than with a trip to Savannah.  Talk to you in a couple hours on The Big Dawg 92.1 FM and Hickorycrawdads.com… 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

The REAL Most Wonderful Time of the Year (Media Relations Mutterings)

-Kevin Zeni, Media Relations Assistant

It’s finally that time of year… BASEBALL SEASON!!!!!!!!!!

Yes, Spring Training started over a month ago now, but now the games actually mean something. Now is the time where fans begin following every pitch and every swing in hope that this is the year the home team actually wins big.

I may be thousands of miles from my hometown Dodgers (who just finished a pretty miserable East coast road trip), but I still follow them closely along with my new hometown team, the Hickory Crawdads! While the Dodgers have been relying mostly on their strong offense, the ‘Dads have been exerting their dominance on the mound.

Hickory starter Robbie Ross is tied for the South Atlantic League lead in starters ERA at 0.00 and Wilmer Font leads the team pace in strikeouts with eight. It’s too bad the Dodgers can’t get pitching performances like that, if that were the case they may have won a few more games by now.

While I can’t look forward to attending a Dodger game until September, I am very much looking forward to our first home series at L.P. Frans Stadium with the Crawdads. Just in that first week we are having fireworks at our Home Opener on Friday, a Long Sleeve T-Shirt giveaway on Saturday, a Faith and Family Day service on Sunday, Kids Eat Free and Senior 2-for-1 tickets on Monday, Dollar Day on Tuesday with select tickets, merchandise and food sold for just $1, Thirsty Thursday with $1 beers and Pepsi products, and a Magnet Schedule giveaway the following Friday to close out the homestand.

Now that you are fully aware of our outstanding promotions and phenomenal pitching staff, there’s no reason why I shouldn’t see you out at the ballpark this season!

Kevin enters his first season as media relations assistant with the
Crawdads and second year in minor league baseball, after spending the
2009 campaign with the Inland Empire 66ers of the California League
(High-A).  The Los Angeles, California, native is a 2009 graduate of the University of La Verne.

The First Love Never Fades Away (Group Sales Gab)

Kathryn Bobel, Co-Director of Group Sales

Most people who know me know that I have a slightly less than healthy relationship with Rick Reilly’s writing.  Some may feel he is conceited, a hack, gets away with too much because he is Rick Reilly.  I think he’s a genius.  That being said, these next few paragraphs are my ode to Reilly’s Go Fish component, Too Short For a Column.

Right now it’s 10:36 on a Sunday evening, I’m laying alone on my second-hand couch 700 miles from my hometown and I just got done watching ESPN’s “30 on 30” film, Winning Time:  Reggie Miller vs. The New York Knicks.  There are a few things floating around in my head right now:  I completely forgot about Anthony Mason’s big ol’ ugly mug, Ewing’s flat top did a darn good job of covering up that weird shaped head of his, and John Starks really just said, “Did this dude just did this?”

I’m also thinking about being a wide-eyed seven-year-old sitting on my family room floor in Indianapolis.  It’s Friday night, I have a plate of home-made nachos resting beside me on a kitchen towel-draped footstool, the Pacers are on the WB (or channel 4 as I called it), and I’m about to spend the best 48 minutes of my week with my dad and my guys–Reggie Miller, Mark Jackson, Rik Smits, and the Davis boys.  I’ve told people before that my first love was the NBA, and the Pacers in the heart of the nineties were the objects of my affection.  I lived and died with Slick Leonard’s unmistakable “BOOM BABY!” and Miller’s unmistakable kick-out-my-right-leg-and-maybe-score-some-contact-on-my-jump-shot move.

Dan Klores’ film brought back memories that were blanketed by everything else that has happened in the past 16 years–boyfriends, graduations, weddings.  For a few minutes tonight though, I remembered what it was like to be a wide-eyed kid sitting in Market Square Arena with my dad, 10 rows from the top, mesmerized by the lights, the noise, the electric din. 

I’m 23 now and the lights, the noise, and the electric aura are still mesmerizing.  Every once and a while I’m reminded of why all of us work endless hours in an unforgiving field–because the lights, the noise, and the electric air take us to a place where anything is possible, a place where on any given night we are all equal, a place where for a few short hours nothing matters but you, me, and the game. 

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.