April 2012

Bloggin’ about bloggin’ (and hot dogs)

By Jeff Dickson, Director of Food and Beverage

Time: 10:22 P.M, April 29, 2012.

Location: Hickory Crawdads Front Office

Status: Attempting to write a blog

Problem: In just 8 short hours I will be back at L.P. Frans Stadium, helping to make over 12,000 hot dogs for our second day game of this homestand. At 10:00 tomorrow fans will enter the gates, and those with senior and education groups will be receiving a lunch which includes chips, a hot dog and a drink. They probably would like those hot dogs to be cooked. That’s where we come in.

In order to good that many hot dogs and still have the stadium game ready by 10, we have to get here soooo early (before the sun is even out!) to cook, bun, wrap…cook, bun, wrap…cook, bun, wrap…etc. Ok, I may be making this out to be worse than it is. And, honestly, I really like ending a homestand with a day game because the earlier the game starts, the earlier the game ends (and a nap can begin).  But still. No matter how many day games I’ll work in the future, cooking over a thousand hot dogs before most of you are even awake will never be something I’m used to. Now, if we are talking about a thousand strips of bacon then it’s a different conversation completely. Probably one with my mouth full. I digress. Hot dogs. 1,200 of them. 6:30 A.M. It’s now 10:35 P.M. The clock is ticking.

Jeff is entering his second season with the ‘Dads and first as the Director of Food & Beverage.  The Oneonta, NY native joined the Crawdads in 2011 as a concessions assistant, and has previously worked with the Oneonta Outlaws as a sports marketing intern.  Jeff is a die-hard fan of the Philadelphia Phillies and North Carolina Tar Heels.

Dear President Ryan,

By: Luke Addison, Concessions Assistant

To: ryanexpress34@hotmail.com

From: laddison@hickorycrawdads.net

Subject:  Hidden gem

Dear President Ryan,

            My name is Luke Addison.  I am in my first season as Concessions Assistant at your single-A affiliate, the Hickory Crawdads.  Since I am a loyal member of the Rangers organization, I am emailing you today to let you know that I have found the missing piece in our organizations quest for the Commissioner’s Trophy. 

I know I don’t have to remind you, of all people, how close the Rangers have been to winning the whole kit and caboodle, but one can’t help reminiscing.  2010 was a banner year with the first World Series appearance in franchise history.  Despite the quick defeat, the team came back better than ever and was just a pitch away from hoisting the trophy.  If Nelson Cruz could have just come up with that fly ball in the bottom of the 9th in Game 6… ahh still too soon, I know.  This year’s Rangers returned with mostly the same roster intact.  Adding young phenom Yu Darvish was a savvy move to replace C.J. Wilson in the rotation, and the team is off to a sizzling start to this season.

Now, for no charge at all, I am about to give you the final ingredient to the Rangers championship cake.  As you know, the first year player draft is coming up June 4th where teams will be drafting their stars of tomorrow.  We have the 29th pick, and I am writing to suggest we go an unconventional route this year.  There is a pitcher in Division III that I think will put us over the top.  He plays at Muskingum University, in the same league that produced longtime major leaguer Terry Mulholland.  His name is Logan Addison.  Oh, and he is my brother.

Logan is a 6’2”, 195 pound right hander that possesses an arsenal consisting of a low 80’s   fastball, a slick slider, and a change-up that keeps hitters guessing.  He may not have the “Ryan Express” at his disposal but there are major leaguers right now who throw in the same range.   In 16 appearances (2 starts), the junior has commanded an impressive 2.92 ERA with an equally remarkable 8 to 1 strikeout to walk ratio. (According to the Muskingum Athletics twitter feed, Logan ranks 6th in all of Division III in fewest walks allowed per 9 innings.)   

Logan also possesses the necessary confidence that you look for when you hand the ball to someone.  “I like to be the man with the ball and be able to control the game. I want to go out and throw well to give my team a chance to win,” he says.  This coming from a guy who says his most memorable baseball moment was “the first time I stepped on the mound for the Muskies was against the #5 team in the nation. I thought I was a hot shot that was going to show everyone how sweet I was. The first pitch I threw was a double in the gap.”  I think that he’s recovered nicely.

Teammates and fans rave about Logan, who could also provide a major boost in attendance.  “He’s a man, a mighty mighty good man” says fellow pitcher Todd Spadaro.  Adds Matt Free “He is a prodigy, with a glimmering chain.” Because, as we all know, every great athlete has to rock some bling.  “He makes us so proud, and he’s just so stinking cute out there” says his #1 fan Trish.  (Ok that last quote might have been from our mom, but you get the picture.)  If that doesn’t convince you, feel free to check him out in action tonight when Muskingum takes on Case Western at the Jake in Cleveland.  (It will always be Jacobs Field to me.) 

Just imagine this scenario, Mr. Ryan.  Game 7.  Top of the 9th.   Rangers clinging to a one run lead.  1 out.  Runners at the corners.  Feliz has pitched a beauty but he’s gassed.  Ron Washington strolls to the mound and points his right index finger toward the pen.  Suddenly “No Diggity” by Blackstreet blares from the speakers.  The crowd works itself into a frenzy as the L-train emerges from the ‘pen.  People are dancing on the dugout tops like it’s the end of Major League as Logan takes his warm up pitches.  After things finally settle down, Logan unleashes a 82 mph heater on the next hitter.  He sends a weak roller to short.  Andrus flips it to Kinsler for one.  On to first…  Go crazy Texas.  Go crazy.

Yours Truly,

Luke E. Addison

P.S.  I know I said my tip was for free, but my internship is finished at the end of August…

Luke is beginning his first year with the Hickory Crawdads as a concessions assistant.  Previously, Luke has worked in baseball with the Akron Aeros, the Cleveland Indians Double A – Affiliate.  He was born and raised in Uhrichsville, OH and attended Kent State University where he earned a degree in Sports Administration and a minor in Business.  Luke has simple tastes, enjoying warm weather, funny jokes, and dancing.

Opening Day

By: Alex Neitzel, Group Sales Assistant

The Crawdads home opener is just over 24 hours away and the atmosphere at LP Frans stadium shows it.  The front office staff is eager to see the Crawdads on the field and fans in the stadium.  For me, opening day is exciting because it brings the feeling of summertime to the ballpark.  Fans will have their first opportunity of the year to grab a hot dog and a beer, and enjoy Crawdads baseball at LP Frans.  To make things better, the Crawdads have started the season at 4-2 and have a very legitimate shot at another first half title in the Northern division.  Aside from great baseball on the field, the front office staff has a thorough schedule of events before, during, and after games this season.  After all, LP Frans Stadium is where fun happens.  Opening weekend will feature Sneak Peek Night, our Red Carpet Grand Opening, Friday Night Fireworks, and Eric Church bobbleheads. 

This is my first season in Hickory and the anticipation I have seen throughout western North Carolina for the Crawdads season has made me realize what a great sports town Hickory is.  Fans are not only excited, but very knowledgeable.  I have had as many educated conversations about the Texas Rangers and their organization in western North Carolina as I did in Texas.  It’s nice to see that Crawdads fans are also Texas Rangers’ fans, and that they support the entire organization.  There are numerous minor league baseball teams in the US and I am extremely grateful to be part of the Hickory Crawdads and to be living in western Carolina.  Only 29 hours until LP Frans opens….

Alex joins the Crawdads as a group sales assistant in his first year with Hickory.  He is a native of Austin, TX and graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in Legal Studies.  Alex is no stranger to the Rangers organization, as he worked various game day duties with the Triple A affiliate, Round Rock Express.  He enjoys staying active outdoors playing sports.

Today is a great day.

By: Jeff Dunlap, Media Relations and Community Outreach Assistant

Today is a great day.  It’s Friday (Good Friday to be exact), about 70 some degrees and sunny, and its opening day for my hometown Brewers as well as my NEW hometown team, the Crawdads (thanks to a rainout last night).  It is possibly the greatest day of the year.  People are skipping work and class back in America’s Dairyland to watch a game that is uniquely American.  It is a beautiful day.

There are many great things about baseball.  The tailgating, hours before the game, the look and smell of the ball field mixed with the brats, hot dogs, and beer, and of course, the game itself.  Even if you don’t know baseball, even if you don’t LIKE baseball, it’s still fun to go to the ball park.  What makes baseball enjoyable is the easiness of it.  It’s relaxing and exciting at the same time.  You can be locked in on the game if you want, but if you have no interest you can enjoy the food, adult beverages, or little games and gimmicks that all ball parks provide. 

So, whether you’re a fan of the game or not, I encourage you to get out to a ball park.  Go out and enjoy the little things.  There is something for everyone at any ball field, from sandlots to MLB stadiums.  Remember, most of us will be working for the majority of our lives, we deserve a break sometimes.  And that’s what opening day provides.  It’s break time.  Get to a ballpark.  If you cant, turn on the radio and listen to your local play by play guy (92.1 The Big Dawg for Andrew “The Voice” Buchbinder for all 140 Crawdads games). 

It’s a great day, enjoy the game.

Jeff enters his first season as media relations assistant with the Crawdads.  Born and raised in Waukesha, WI, Jeff graduated from Northeastern University with a degree in Communications while also playing baseball for the Huskies during his time there.  He has previously worked with 1250 Sports Radio in Milwaukee, WI as well as Comcast Cable at their Cambridge studio.  He is an avid Wisconsin sports fan who stays busy playing sports, watching movies, and enjoying various outdoor activities. 

The Whirling Darvish

By:  Kyle Volp, Community Relations Assistant 

In a few days my unquenchable thirst for baseball and its traditions will be satiated once more.  I’m talking about tailgating.  I’m talking about the gleefully endless archives of player and team statistics.  I’m talking about sharing a six pack of Millers with my college buddy on opening day, a tradition never missed in five years going so far as to conduct 2010’s meeting via Skype while he was studying in Spain.  And, not unlike everyone else who shares my obsession with The Show, I’m excited to see how offseason moves will change the fortunes of certain organizations and this year is chock full of them.  Pujols to the Angels.  Fielder to the Tigers.  The new look Miami Marlins.  And perhaps the biggest headliner of them all, Yu Darvish, the 25 year old hurler considered to be Japan’s best pitcher boasting an eight pitch arsenal whom the Rangers paid $51.7 million just to talk to about signing a contract.  The amount of money Texas is throwing at this guy is enough to turn a lot of heads his direction but will he pan out the way everybody hopes he will? 

In three Spring Training starts this year Darvish’s numbers have been decently decent.  He has pitched a total of nine innings and posted an ERA of 3.00, a WHIP of 1.44, with 10 K’s, 7 walks and one hit batsmen.  He has only given up six hits and three earned runs, one of which to fellow countryman and current Milwaukee Brewer Norichika Aoki.  (That last note was completely unimportant and irrelevant I just like plugging my team whenever I get the chance and I’m glad a Japanese player has joined the Boys in Brew).  Darvish’s numbers right now don’t scream “dangerous” as they rarely will for any player in Spring Training because, hey it’s Spring Training but his potential for success is what’s really scary due to the eight pitches he isn’t afraid to use at any moment.  Sure, most pitchers can throw a variety of pitches but usually narrow it down to three or four they can say are their bread and butter.  But eight?  That’s at least a half a loaf of bread and a whole stick of butter for Darvish.  He’s got a decent fastball at around 94 mph, a mean swing and miss splitter, a slider in the high 80’s complemented by a slower slurve pitch with a higher break point, and isn’t afraid to throw curveballs, changeups, and a ground out cutter in there either.  For those keeping track at home I’ve only listed seven pitches.  Perhaps his eighth is the elusive gyroball.  Who cares, seven is still nuts.

I’ve looked forward to a pitcher’s first start several times in the past.  I can’t say I ever watched an entire Nationals game (if they weren’t playing the Brewers) before Stephen Strasburg’s EPIC debut and of course the first time CC pitched for Milwaukee.  But I’ve developed a recent fascination with Japanese players in the MLB that makes me really look forward to the Darvish debut.  Baseball just seems so different over there.  It’s as though the game I love dearly evolved into distinct species who share a common ancestor that emerged somewhere around 1860 AD and I love to see these close relatives meet face to face.  I hope it isn’t so different that Yu doesn’t experience the same success he did in Japan, but if that’s the case, maybe they’ll send him all the way down to the Rangers Class A affiliate and my new place of work, the Hickory Crawdads.  It’s quite the pipe dream and most definitely won’t happen, but man would I love to see this guy in action. 

Kyle starts his first year with the Hickory Crawdads as a community relations assistant after recently graduating from the University of Wisconsin with a double major in Radio, TV, and Film and Psychology.  He is a proud born and raised small town Wisconsinite, diehard fan of the Packers, Badgers, and Brewers, and is also an avid film aficionado.  In Kyle’s free time, he enjoys cheering on his teams with friends, meeting new people, playing sports, watching movies, growing facial hair, and dominating eating challenges.