Snow, snow, go away! (Crustacean Nation)

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.

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