By Ben Gellman, Broadcast Assistant
Hey Crawdads fans! My name is Ben Gellman, and I’m the new Broadcast Assistant with Hickory! I just wanted to give you all a chance to get to know me as I begin blogging about the Crawdads for the 2011 season.
I grew up a fan of minor league baseball in Columbus, Ohio, as I attended my first Columbus Clippers game at three weeks old. I’ve been a fan of the game ever since, and I’m very excited for my first full season in professional baseball. I broadcasted basketball and baseball at Division III Brandeis University as an undergraduate student from 2004 through 2008. I was also fortunate enough to be a web intern with the sports department of the Boston Globe while I was there. I pursued my master’s degree in broadcast journalism at Syracuse University, and interned with the Syracuse Crunch of the American Hockey League.
I moved down to North Carolina in 2009 to be near my girlfriend (now fiancee), and worked for a year as a news/sports anchor-reporter at 1360 WCHL in Chapel Hill. I did my first-ever football broadcasts in Chapel Hill, and reported on UNC athletics. I can’t wait to spend the 2011 Crawdads season with you!
By Douglas Locascio, Director of Ticket Operations & Merchandising
Where o where has the time gone? The year 2010 passed by in the blink of an eye. With January here it is another step closer to opening day 2011 on April 7th. Lots of exciting things are happening here at L.P. Frans Stadium even when baseball is not going on.
The Crawdads are proud to be hosting the 2011 Hot Stove Banquet scheduled for Thursday, January 27th at Rock Barn Golf and Spa. Don’t miss this year’s keynote speaker, Rangers First Baseman Mitch Moreland, talk about Texas’ journey to the World Series and much, much more! Moreland will highlight the fun-filled evening that will begin with a social gathering at 6:15 p.m. before a delicious dinner at 7 p.m. with the program starting shortly after.
College Baseball is coming to L.P. Frans this offseason when the Appalachian State Mountaineers take on the Wake Forest Demon Deacons in a regional showdown on Tuesday, March 29! First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m., gates open at 6:05 p.m., and tickets are on sale now.
In between those great events are two fun Saturday events that will give the kids something to do. On February 12th, 2011 @ 11:00 AM the 2011 Crawdads Valentines Day party will take place here at the stadium. Then on March 12th, 2011 @ 11:00 AM the 2011 Crawdads St. Patrick’s Day party will be happening.
Get yourself prepared for the 2011 Season TODAY by stopping by the office or giving us a call to purchase your ticket books, book a party, or just to get more great information on what is in store this season. All the latest and greatest up-to date information can be found on our website.
Douglas enters his second season with the ‘Dads and first as director of ticket operations & merchandising after serving as interim tickets manager in 2010. Prior to joining the Crawdads, Douglas spent the 2009 campaign with the Wilmington Sharks of the Coastal Plain League. The Tampa, Florida, native is a 2009 graduate of Campbell University.
What is it about inclement weather that always seems to prompt me to blog? It seems a little funny to, in the midst of a winter storm, proclaim that the start of the 2011 season is right around the corner, but, believe it or not, it is!
The official count is less than 90 days until Opening Day on April 7… that’s about as precise as I get with figures beyond my finger counting capabilities. Check back in in late March for an exact countdown!
Just in case you don’t trust my counting — I wouldn’t blame you — here are a couple signs that the season is approaching…
1) The interns are coming, the interns are coming! That’s right, the first of a brand-new crop are starting this Tuesday — Group Sales Assistant Megan Meade and Promotions Assistant Jared Weymier.
More will follow, but Megan and Jared are the first of our seasonal interns to arrive in Hickory, and we couldn’t be more excited to get them started and continue to welcome in the very promising members of our 2011 intern group as the season draws nearer. Ask anyone in any minor league sports organization and they will tell you all about the importance of bringing in quality folks as seasonal interns.
Beyond simply providing extra manpower during the season and the preceding months, one of the greatest values our interns bring with them is their diversity. They all come from different backgrounds with different past work and educational experiences, and they can be invaluable in providing differing perspectives when it comes to brainstorming everything we brainstorm around here, from promotions to ticket plans and everything else!
We’re excited to bring them all in, and we’re also excited that they are signal #1 that Opening Day is near!
2) We’re heating things up with the annual Hot Stove Banquet on Thursday, January 27! The Hot Stove is always a great time and a great way to start getting our fans (and sometimes front office members!) back in the mood for baseball!
Last year, our keynote speaker, Texas Rangers GM Jon Daniels, really put a great cap on a fun-filled night, and we’re expecting another great event in a couple of weeks. Our highlighted speaker this year will be Rangers 1B Mitch Moreland.
Of all the guys on the big league squad, Mitch actually had the best overall postseason and really contributed down the stretch with some timely hitting in the World Series. Oh yeah, did we mention that his MLB debut came only about two months before the playoffs? He fit in in The Show right away, and I can not wait to hear what he has to say about his first major league campaign and World Series run.
Another reason why I am particularly excited that we’ve got Mitch coming is that he was in the minors as recent as last year. Furthermore, Moreland was in Low-A (our level) with the Rangers former affiliate, the Clinton LumberKings, as recent as 2008! In two years he made the ascent to the big leagues, and it is going to be a blast to hear about his speedy journey.
Of course, we are also going to have some great season previews from area college and high school coaches, a silent auction, delicious dinner and a social that will get everything going at 6:15 p.m. on Jan. 27. The Hot Stove will be back at Rock Barn Golf and Spa, and tickets are on sale now for just $35. Seating is limited, so order your tickets early and be sure to not miss out on listening to a guy we were all just watching on Fox’s World Series coverage in Oct.
Well, it is still snowing, but at least my fingers got a little work out! Be sure to check this blog forum for more and more entries as we continue to progress through the winter months to Opening Day on April 7!
Andrew Buchbinder enters his third 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 former High-A affiliate in the California League.