May 2010

One Shell of a Job (Media Relations Mutterings)

-Kevin Zeni, Media Relations Assistant

I love my job! While I may not get paid very much, the hours are longer than Willie Nelson’s hair (pre-haircut), and I live thousands of miles away from my loving fiancé Amanda, the actual work has just been phenomenal.

Not too many people get to work with and write about a winning, first-place team like I do. This 2010 season has started off greater than any Crawdads fan could have ever hoped for. The team is 30-18 (as of this post on Friday, May 28) and has held sole-possession of first place in the Northern Division of the South Atlantic League since May 12.

The reason for the ‘Dads success largely falls upon their pitching. This young staff is just a joy to watch. LHP Robbie Ross is tied for the league-lead in wins with six, RHP Matt Thompson is tied for the most strikeouts in the SAL with 58, and LHP Robbie Erlin has allowed just one earned run in 30.1 innings on the mound. The staff has even stayed steady after the promotions of starter RHP Wilmer Font and closer RHP Josh Lueke.

Meanwhile, CF Miguel Velazquez leads the charge on the offensive side of the ball, leading the team in most offensive categories. SS Leury Garcia has also displayed why manager Bill Richardson hits him in the ‘Dads leadoff spot most nights, swiping a league-leading 26 bags on the season and only getting caught twice. Once Garcia gets on base it’s not a matter of if he will steal, but how many.

Like I said before, working with this team and following all the exciting action on the season thus far has been a great experience and I can only hope that things continue the way that they are.

So fans, don’t forget to get your Crawdads tickets and come down to L.P. Frans Stadium to watch your first-place team play and partake in all the fun games and promotions we’ll be holding throughout the remainder of 2010. Go ‘Dads!

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.

Homeward Bound (Ticket Talk)

-Douglas Locascio, Tickets Manager

It has been a few weeks since my last post and things have been cranking here at L.P. Frans with the season well underway now. This Thursday starts our third home stand of the season and the stadium has been full of entertainment both on and off the field so far and will continue throughout the entire season.

With summer time approaching, parents are looking for affordable family fun activities and what better place to do it then here with us. What better way than the catch a baseball game and we have deal for you. New this season is our Family 4 Pack. The package includes 4 box seats and 4 meal vouchers (hotdog, drink, fries/chips) for only $29.99 in advance or $45 day of.

This next home stand features many great promotions with Tiger Woods night starting off the stand, followed by our Team Set giveaway, Salute to Veterans and firework show the following evening. On Saturday its Little League Night with anyone wearing their Little League uniform receiving a free grandstand ticket. Sunday is another Faith and Family Day at the ballpark with a service starting at 3:30 p.m. and first pitch set for 5 p.m. Monday is Country Night at the park as well as seniors buy one ticket get one free deal, and kids eat free with paid admission. Tuesday, the ‘Dads are proud to team up with Hickory and Lenoir in their effort to Woo Google in Gotta Get a GigaHIT campain. Print off your coupon and receive a free Grandstand Ticket to the game and it is Dollar Day at the park with 10 different items available for only $1. Wednesday we crown the winner of our month-long Mustache MAYhem with all the proceeds going to the winners’ charity of choice. On Thursday, our home stand wraps up with our ever-favorite Thirsty Thursday were you can get $1 beverages all night long and it is also Casino night at the park..  Come out to the Crawdads game tonight and press your luck at winning big with our Blackjack Tournament. The grand prize winner will win a trip for two to Atlantic City; 2nd-5th place will win a bus trip to Harrah’s Cherokee Casino.

As you see there are plenty of fun things going on here with the Crawdads. Come support your 1st place ‘Dads and enjoy a night of family affordable fun. When at the game, don’t forget to vote for your Crawdad staff member who you think has the best mustache (close race any donation will be appreciated in my bucket) and remember all proceeds for the event goes to a good cause with the winners charity of choice.

Now its time that I get back to work and print some more tickets that you folks are ordering. Remember beat the lines and purchase your tickets now for any game online were you can print the tickets right from the convenience of your own home. Any questions about any of our upcoming promotions or ticket needs feel free to call us here at the office (828)322-3000.

Douglas enters his first season as interim tickets manager with the
Crawdads and second year in baseball, after spending the 2009 campaign
with the Wilmington Sharks of the Coastal Plain League.  The Tampa,
Florida, native is a 2009 graduate of Campbell University.

What a trip (Crustacean Nation)

Wow.  What a road trip the 1st-place Crawdads just had… especially after what was an ominous beginning to say the least. 

The team really got it’s first taste of the effects South Atlantic League travel can have on you at the beginning of the trip.  We played a tough one in Hickory two Fridays ago, and then had a nice 5:30am wake up for the 7am bus to Savannah… with a game that night.

To make matter less convenient, after the four and a half bus ride down to Savannah, we had to kill some time due to the rooms not being ready yet.  Ok, not too big of a problem.  Well, we killed some time, and a handful of rooms still weren’t ready, which significantly eats into nap time (nice for a radio guy, important for a ballplayer after an early morning wake up and ride).

So, needless to say, the series didnt start off quite as we wouldve hoped, dropping that night’s game then committing six errors, somehow coming back for a lead in the top of the ninth and blowing the lead in the bottom of the frame on Sunday to start the trip 0-2.

I’m not sure what changed, what clicked with a Sunday evening spent decompressing in Savannah, but whatever it was that sparked this team did so in a big way.

The ‘Dads came back and won the final two against the 1st place Sand Gnats (in the South) before cruising to a series sweep in Charleston, concluding the road trip with six straight wins. 

A fitting exclamation mark occurred in the bottom of the ninth of the Crawdads 1-0 shutout win against the RiverDogs on Saturday night.  With no one on and one out, closer Josh Lueke got C Kyle Higashioka to pop one into foul territory, mid way down the right field line, just past the Charleston dug out.  1B Mike Ortiz chased after it, got to the wall and was in the process of reaching out into the crowd for the pop fly when some blur flashed in front of him. 

That blur, as it turned out, was 2B Joe Bonadonna.  Bonadonna came flying over from the infield, dove for the pop fly, caught the ball in mid air above the first row of fans and crashed into the stands.  It was remarkable… easily one of the best plays, if not the best play, I’ve ever seen in person.  While trying to figure out how to describe what I had just witnessed, I compared it to the famous catch that Derek Jeter made against Boston, when he crashed into the stands in foul ground at Yankee Stadium.

Reflecting on the two plays, however, one crucial difference has become clear.  Jeter caught the ball on the run and his momentum carried him over the wall and into the stands.  Bonadonna dove, caught the ball in mid air over the wall and crashed into the stands.  Now that this realization has donned on me, it’s become clear that I didnt do Bonadonna justice for equating his catch to Jeter’s — Bonadonna’s was more impressive.

Just one of many highlights from a great road trip, full of exciting action and a current six game winning streak on the field, as well as some quality off the field time taking in the sights and sounds of two great Southern cities – Savannah and Charleston (just about my all-time favorite).

Now, with the trip behind us, there’s only one thing left to do… keep the streak going on Monday night when the ‘Dads kick off an 8-game homestand, starting with four against the Asheville Tourists.  It’ll be 2-for-1 Senior Night, courtesy of ResCare and 63 Big Ways 630AM, and kids get to eat for free on Monday with a ticket purchase.  Plenty of reasons to come on down for the 7 p.m. first pitch, not the least of which being… who knows what this team will do next?  I personally don’t have a clue, but I look forward to finding out with everyone else!

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