Another awesome home stand ended on Tuesday night for us here at the Keys, and this home stand had big crowds and the Keys did not disappoint. To start off, it was officially released the day before our home stand started that Orioles top prospect Manny Machado would be promoted to Frederick and start the 2nd half of the season here with the Keys. The buzz caused by Machado has been very large and people are excited that he is making his way through Frederick on his road to the Orioles. Thursday night we opened the home stand and Machado was in our line up batting in the # 3 spot. The debut for a player is a crowning achievement and a player always wants to do well in that first game when everyone is watching. I was down in the seating bowl waiting for the inning to end and do a promotion on the dug out. I look out and Machado crushes a pitch to left field over the wall for his 1st Carolina League hit and homerun. Manny was not the only thing going on at the grove. We had the Principal Financial Dreams Tour at the stadium. They had a large set up on the concourse, and former Orioles Chris Hoiles was at the game as their special guest. As a kid growing up inBaltimore, Chris was one of the guys I admired and knew would come through in the clutch and it was nice to see him involved and at the Keys game. The large crowd that had came out for Machado’s debut was electric and even in a keys defeat the crowd went home excited over the future we have with Manny on our team and the fun time they had at the game.
Friday night brought in another large crowd and this time it was Fredneck night. Given that I am not from around here, this Fredneck idea was new to me but I had no problems dressing up for it and getting into the spirit of the night. The staff put on their best plaid shirts, t-shirts, and boots and welcomed in the crowd. We did a special on field promotion for Fredneck night with toilet seats being used as horseshoes. Then, the two lucky individuals competed against each other. It was a fun game and the crowd seemed interested in from start to finish. Friday nights are always big in Frederick, but this one was even bigger. A nice summer night with a post game fireworks show means a lot of families and a lot of children here at the Grove. Knowing we had this large crowd and we needed a rally in the 9th, several of the staff went to the dugouts and tried to pump the crowd with our rally video and music playing. I took it upon myself to take the Keys sign of the three lets go keys signs and work the crowd with my dance moves. The fans get into it and clap as I dance and make a fool out of myself. None of that matters though because it’s all in good fun. It’s all about getting the fans pumped for what may happen in the 9th that matters the most. I left the dugout to a large applause and many high fives. The crowd was excited and a majority stuck around for the fireworks show and again it was a great night at the Grove.
After two big nights, things kept going up. Saturday I was in the community at the Urbana Music Festival. A nice crowd of people, sunshine, and music made for a good afternoon. Then it happened, we had the largest crowd at the stadium since 2006. It was a beautiful June night and it was scout night. We had people everywhere in the stadium; it was to the point of standing room only. We had the boy scouts, the girl scouts, the scout leaders, the family of the scouts, and a lot of other people that came to spend their Saturday night with the Keys. The Keys staff did their best to give each person in attendance and a great experience. This included the many scouts who got to watch the game and then stay over night for a sleep over. All during the night I was at the table getting the parents to fill out waivers and as the night went on I could tell we were going to have a large group spending the night. It took a group effort to get the stadium emptied then set up for the sleep over, then get the scouts back in. Everyone was placed in an orderly fashion on the field, and then we aired Toy Story 3. At the end of the movie we turned the lights out and the scouts slept soundly on our field. It was not over for the staff as we needed people at the stadium all through the night. I worked my 2 to 3 am shift and then went home for some much needed sleep. The night ran smooth and the scouts had the time of their lives.
After the big three nights we just had, we still had three to go. Sunday night brought out the Heartly house and the stadium was purple for the night. Our players wore purple hats that were auctioned off during the game. The Heartly house was able to raise a lot of money and awareness and the crowd was treated to another night of fireworks. To wrap up the home stand we had back to back weeknight home games. On Monday night Oliver Drake thrilled the crowd with a complete game shut out, and all kids got to eat free as part of our Monday promotion. Finally Tuesday night was the end of a rocking home stand. To really send it off we had The King, Keyote, Frank Key, and the Hot Dog treat the crowd to a dug out dance party late in the game.
This home stand presented the Keys with some of the largest crowds of the year and we were able to deliver solid promotions and fun every night. The Keys hit the road over the next week and that means some office days for everyone here and then a much anticipated 4th of July weekend. Be sure to check back on Unlocking the Keys for more Brown for the Count and other interesting Keys articles and postings. For now I hope everyone enjoys the holiday and continue to Shake Your Keys.
In his Carolina League Debut, the Orioles’ #1 prospect, SS Manny Machado, went 1-for-4. His lone hit was a towering blast to left field in the 3rd inning. The Machado homer was the lone scored by the Keys on Thursday night as they fell to the Winston-Salem Dash, 2-1. The story of the night, however, was the impressive debut of the 18-year-old shortstop.
Check out the links below on Machado’s debut:
Did you Know? Manny Machado (3rd overall in 2010) became the highest drafted position to play for the Keys in franchise history. The highest drafted player ever to play for the Keys was RHP Ben McDonald (1st overall in 1989). McDonald pitched for Frederick in 1989.
Machado went 2-for-4 with a run scored in Tuesday’s South Atlantic League All-Star Game
The Baltimore Orioles’ 2010 First Round pick, SS Manny Machado, has been promoted to Frederick from Class-A Delmarva. In 38 games with the Shorebirds, Machado hit .276 with eight doubles, two triples, six home runs, and 24 RBIs.
Machado was named the Orioles’ Organizational Player of the Month for April after he hit .338 in 21 games with six doubles, two triples, four home runs, and 18 RBIs. The Miami, FLnative dislocated his knee cap on May 5th in Asheville, NC and returned to the Shorebirds’ lineup on June 5th. Despite missing 29 games due to injury, Machado was selected as the starting shortstop in the South Atlantic League All-Star game on June 21st.
Entering the 2011 season, Machado was named the top prospect in the Orioles organization by Baseball America. He was also rated as the best hitter for average as well as top defensive infielder in the Baltimore Orioles farm system.
Selected as the third-overall pick in last year’s First Year Player Draft, Machado becomes the highest drafted position player in Frederick Keys’ history. The only Keys player picked higher than Machado was right-handed pitcher, Ben McDonald. McDonald was the first-overall selection in the 1989 draft.
For those of you who haven’t seen what Paul Denillo (Creative Production Manager) has creatively managed for Keys fans in 2011, here is a look…
Haven’t heard of our new mascot, Frank Key? Well we introduced him to Downtown Frederick to get his name out there…
Find yourself getting to your seat closer to first pitch? Check out the 2011 Welcome To Harry Grove Stadium video, aired on the video board a half hour before the game
Which Adam Sandler movie do you prefer? Billy Madison or Happy Gilmore? See what the players think…
What about Kobe vs. LeBron?
Make sure to check back to see more great videos or feel free to check out our YouTube page by clicking here.
Asst. Groundskeeper Brandon Dougan (left) and Kevin Brown (right) at Frederick’s Alive at Five
This is a new segment for this blog, and it’s called Brown for the count. This is Kevin Brown Jr. and I am one of the assistants here with the Keys. It’s one thing for people that have been around the block in this industry to blog and tell you things. For me this is my first taste of a full year in minor league baseball and I feel like people would like to hear things from every direction.
It’s been awhile since us here with the Keys have blogged so let’s look back. Brian Matusz was here on a rehab start on Monday May 16th and a big crowd showed up cheering him on. It also worked out that it was Bark in the Park night so not only was the Baltimore Media here but also a good portion of the canines. For me it was exciting to see the Media come toFrederick and come for the rehab start here inFrederick. In my experience leading Matusz around and taking him to his Autograph location, he was very humble and appreciative to throw back here atFrederick where everything started for him a few years ago.
The home stand continued to be a good one for the Keys as they played well and had the college fair and a lot of young people at the park for our history day. Then we had two thrilling fireworks shows and a day game on Sunday to end the home stand. It’s a lot of long days when we have these seven day home stands. For me it is a learn as you go and adapt to the long hours and now as we are mid way into June I am quite comfortable with the hours.
There was no time to rest for the Keys staff as we had to prepare over the next week for spring fest. I was out in the community giving out flyers and working each day to prepare the stadium for our big event. During the week I was able to get my fork lift certified, something I thought I would never have done in my life. It’s something that I’m glad I got to learn. Then the weekend came and Friday night the staff spent eight hours putting down flooring for Spring Fest. It was a lot of work but in the end everyone worked together and we were ready for Saturday. Saturday May 28th was thebig Spring Fest event. We had a lot of Brewers out and a lot of people at the stadium ready to enjoy the beer and the live music. It was an all day event and took contributions from everyone to make the event go smooth. I was in the box office for most of the day but when I came out late in the day I saw how everything was working and clicking. From the Ice and Kegs being moved around to all the people at the front gate getting people in quickly and efficiently, it was a good day at Harry Grove Stadium. We then used the next few hours to remove the flooring and although everyone was tired and ready to quit, no one did and we got it pulled up and put back on trucks as quick as possible. I look back now and I am glad that I got to see the before, during, and after for Spring Fest and glad that everything worked out well.
Next up was Memorial Day and for many it was time to cook out and spend time with family. For the Keys it was time for another home stand, and time to provide a good time for all the Keys Faithful as we push toward a potential play off birth. The Keys were out in the community as Keyote and other Keys staff went toRockvillefor the Memorial Day parade, it was nice to see so many people gathering for the parade and the loud response the Keys go as they went through the parade route. The Keys then celebrated Memorial Day with a day game so that our fans could also enjoy other plans either before or after our game. The rest of the week was very fun for me and my staff as we had half way to Halloween Night and Disney Night. There were a lot of costumes from our staff members and I heard there was a good looking fisherman. Then on Disney Night I saw Aladdin and Jasmine, Tinker bell, Mr. Incredible and a plethora of others all at the stadium in support of the Keys. It’s fun to wear something different and just be goofy for a night or two. I personally like to show my spirit and try to get in to bounce off to others. The weekend was also big for the Keys, it was starting to be warmer and the action on the field was heating up too. Friday night we had Girls Night Out and several lucky ladies got to dig on the field and try to find one of four diamonds hidden under the infield. I was not on the field for this but I heard that it was crazy down there and these ladies gave it their best to try and find the hidden jewels. After the dust had cleared we shot off Fireworks and let the kids run the bases and everyone went home happy. As a former little league it’s nice to see that we give kids the chance to run the bases every night and let them feel like they are a Keys superstar trying to score that winning run. Like the last home stand we ended this one with a game day and then the staff player picnic. These are ball players but they are also individuals and the relationship between the players, the full time staff and the game day staff tightened with this event and it was a delicious way to wrap it all up.
Now with the Keys and the weather really heating up, we had a four day stretch with out a home game. Everyone here at the Keys is still busy doing their everyday duties with sales, sponsorships, marketing, etc. We had three more games this weekend and knew we had to be working feverishly in the office and in the community generating interest with the Keys. I personally have been on numerous appearances and people are always interested in how we are doing and when are we home next. The minor league teams rely on the community and I can see that the Keys and the outlining communities have a strong relationship. Finally we reach the weekend and the Keys put on three nights of exciting baseball action, on field promotions, and we light up the sky with our fireworks show. We are almost at the all star break now and things are really rolling for the Keys.
I can see through being on the dug out during the game getting people to shake their keys, that people support us and love what we do here. We bring fun every night and I am glad that I am here for the ride. I will be blogging on here more often now about my experiences with the Keys and I hope it gives everyone a new perspective. For now you can catch me on the dugout, I’m the crazy one dancing like there’s no tomorrow.