Opening Day on the Horizon
by Brandon Apter
Heading into the weekend before Opening Day, there are plenty of things to look forward to this week for Keys fans everywhere. Not only will magnet schedules be distributed but there will also be “Save Your Keys” t-shirts given to all fans in attendance on Tuesday.
Opening Night is 5 days away and the theme this year is, Save Your Keys. With the team trying to work out a long-term lease agreement with the City of Frederick, the Keys are asking for your help to support our efforts. The public outcry on this issue has been great and Tuesday night looks to be another step. There will be plenty of pre-game ceremonies about Keys history along with a first pitch by Phil Key, descendent of Francis Scott.
Another exciting event is the unveiling of our new mascot, Frank Key. Frank Key will be in attendance along with new-look Keyote as the Keys kick off 2011. As mentioned in a previous post, Frank Key will have his own adult fan club, Frank Key’s Army, that you can register for at the game. You receive a Frank Key’s Army key chain along with a car sticker that can get you plenty of Keys prizes if a staff member sees your car.
With players arriving this past week, operations were in full swing on at Harry Grove. Monday night was the annual staff/player dinner where players and staff members get to eat and talk baseball with one another. Players sported their Keys jerseys for the first time in 2011 on Tuesday and took headshots, action shots and video board shots. Many media members from the area were present to interview returning manager, Orlando Gomez along with top pitching prospect, Dan Klein. Fan favorite LJ Hoes will return to the field for the Keys as well.
Being so close to Opening Day is exciting to those that are new here because of the excitement of being with a different team. Along with the five assistant staffers, three full-time staff members will be experiencing Opening Day at Harry Grove for the first time. It is always nice to have new blood in the office because it brings a lot to the table in terms of ideas, passion and work ethic. I have previously worked with two other organizations prior to my time here with the Keys and I am ecstatic to get things started to put on a show for the fans. We also will have 12 game day interns that will be working for college credit. Some of the students doing this are witnessing their first professional sports experience as an employee, which is also something to look forward to. Enthusiasm is always a characteristic these people bring to the table and make the game experience that much better for those in attendance.
There are plenty of great promotions to catch on-field this year, including the always popular Sheep Race along with the Flying Dog Hot Dog Toss that will feature a staff member in a hot dog costume launching ballpark franks into the stands. New on-field games will be on hand as well, including a remote control car race and a burger building contest.
I don’t want to give too much away but this year is looking to be another successful year of Keys baseball so make sure you come out to the show for some affordable, family fun!