August 2011

Brown for the Count – Volume 6

Keys shortstop Manny Machado and second basemen Jonathan Schoop pose for the camera

As the calendar changes from August to September in a few days, the Keys gear up for their last seven games of the season on the road. This comes after the last regular season home stand of the year. It was another seven game span at home for the Keys but this time we played seven games in six days. While the action on the field was super hot, the odd plethora of weather during the week was all over the place. Despite the weather, the home stand was successful with Boys and Girls Club Night, a special Sunday double header and much more.

The Keys are having an amazing season and the last home stand had its share of big moments, major accomplishments and unexpected weather phenomena. Monday night the Keys welcomed the Kinston Indians to town for the first of a four game weekday series. It was the last kids eat free night of the year, so kids 12 and under got to enjoy a hot dog, chips, and a drink free for the last Monday game until next season. On the field, the Keys started strong and got the victory to start the week. This win was particularly special because our manager, Orlando Gomez, became the winningest manager in Keys history. After the game,Orlandowas interviewed briefly on the field and the crowd cheered for him on this special night.

It would be tough to top this milestone that was reached Monday night, but Tuesday was another night and another chance for the fans to see great action at the Grove. Before we could get to the game that night, the east coast was stunned and shook up by an earth quake. The earthquake, which measured in at 5.9, hit the east coast and hit Frederick a little before two in the afternoon. For the staff here at the Keys, no one knew what was going on for that brief time when things were shaking and rumbling. Things calmed down after that and the game that night when on as planned. Tuesday night was Boys and Girls Club Night and they had a lot of people come to the Grove for the occasion. Despite the Keys offense going quiet and the losing the game, everyone that came out still had a good time.

The day after the earthquake the Keys organization decided to knock the price down on a general admission ticket to $5.90 in honor of the quake. Then all fans that made it out to the game were given a certificate that stated they survived the Earthquake of August 2011. We were happy that so many of our fans survived the Earthquake and were able to come out to the Grove that night. It was believed that the vigorous shaking of keys from our fans during the season triggered the quake, but this was never proven. Thursday night marked the end of the series with Kinston and the Keys won the series with a win to send Kinston home in despair. It was another solid night at the Grove and we were gaining steam approaching the weekend.

Now it was time for the weekend and Friday night was looking like a gorgeous evening and the Grove was the place to be. The Potomac Nationals were coming in and they are chasing us for first place in the second half. Friday night was Art in the Park Night and we were giving away Manny Machado posters. As part of art in the park, the Keys wore special yellow and black jerseys and for one night they were the bumble keys. There were several areas in the park where artists were set up with easels. Also we had a special music performance in the fun zone before the game with a local artist. Then during the game we had a table set up where fans could bid on the bumble keys jerseys. The jerseys were a big hit and most jerseys received several bids, the biggest was that of O’s #1 prospect, Manny Machado. It was a tight contest between the Nationals and Keys and it took extra innings to find a winner. Unfortunately the Keys suffered the loss but a majority of the huge crowd stayed for the whole game and extra innings. This was the second largest crowd of the season and all of our wonderful fans that stayed for all thirteen innings were treated to fireworks. When the last of the big crowd has left the stadium it was in the eleven o’ clock hour and it was time for another fun night of fireworks cleanup. Despite our staff being drained and tired, we worked feverishly to pick up the debris and we were done shortly after midnight.

Next for the Keys was Saturday night and it was supposed to be NFL night. As the staff arrived at the stadium that morning, it was gloomy and windy since Hurricane Irene was on her way. I was out on two appearances that day, one at the Frederick Town Mall and one at the fairgrounds. The second one was cut short because of the rain that was pounding Frederick. Another employee and I headed back to the Grove to find out that due to constant rain and winds that were going to be in the area all day, the game was going to be postponed. It was to be made up as a doubleheader Sunday starting at 1:00. It was a shame to have to cancel a game on a Saturday. That meant no fireworks for Keys fans, but the rain is unpredictable and cannot be controlled. Our front office staff did our best to reach out to all our fans to let them know that we were going to have two games Sunday and we would accommodate them the best we could. With no game that night, the Keys staff was free to go home and wait out the hurricane before we had to come back to work Sunday ready for the twinbill.

Finally, just as quickly as the season had started, it was Sunday August 28th, the last regular season game at home. It would seem fitting after a turbulent first month in April that we end it with a doubleheader. The sun came out and a good crowd showed up to see two games for the price of one. These were seven inning contests and there would be a 30 minute break between them for the field to get worked on by our grounds crew. There were a lot of birthday parties at the grove that day and many children out to enjoy the last Dick’s Sporting Goods Sunday Funday of the year. The Keys fell in game one but bounced back and won game two to salvage a split in the doubleheader. Despite the split, Potomac ended up winning the series two to one. Washington Nationals catcher Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez was rehabbing with Potomac and he caught five innings in the second game. The win for the Keys was win number 79; this ties the mark for most wins by a Keys team. The Keys look to win that illustrious 80th game as they go toKinston and Wilmington over the next week.

This 2011 Keys regular season was a great one for me as an assistant getting my first taste of a full year in minor league baseball. I am excited as is everyone that the Keys are in the playoffs and hope that we can win the Mills Cup this year. I would like to thank our wonderful fans for a great season and look forward to seeing them at the Grove on Wednesday Sept 7th and Thursday September 8th. As we all get ready for the playoff run have a good week and Shake Your Keys!!

Final Homestand Promo Preview: Bumble Keys, NFL Night and Unbirthdays

 

The first 2,000 fans on Friday night will receive a poster of Manny Machado, courtesy of Bayrunner Shuttle

It has been a long road so far this year. Now, there are only seven home games remaining in the regular season before the Keys hit the road for seven games to finish off the season. They will then host playoff games, for sure, on September 7th and 8th. The likely playoff opponent looks to be last year’s Carolina League champs, the Potomac Nationals. If the Keys win the second half (they are four games ahead of 2nd place currently), they will host game five of the first round if it needs to be played.

Heading into the final homestand, the Keys will welcome the Kinston Indians and Potomac Nationals to town over the next week. Monday will feature the last Kids Eat Free night of the season. All kids 12 and under will receive a voucher for a free hot dog, chips and drink. Tuesday at 7pm, we will hold a Boys and Girls Club Fundraiser throughout the game. It is also Guaranteed Win Night. If the Keys win, we all go home happy. If they lose, tickets for the game will be redeemable for any remaining Wednesday or Thursday’s game. Thursday is the finale of the series against Kinston at 7pm.

Friday night, the 26th, brings Art in the Park to Harry Grove Stadium. Benefitting the Frederick Arts Council, the Keys have this promotion annually to showcase the art of local youth. This season for Art in the Park, the Keys will ditch their white and orange and strap up in yellow and black to become….the Bumble Keys. The jerseys worn during the game will be auctioned off throughout the night with proceeds going to the Frederick Arts Council. In addition to the Keys looking like bees, Bayrunner Shuttle will be sponsoring a poster giveaway to the first 2,000 fans. They will also be co-sponsoring the fireworks show that will take place after the game between the Keys and the P-Nats. Our favorite face painter, Vicki, will also be in attendance for the kids and we will have a clown and caricaturist in the picnic area as well.

There may be baseball going on Saturday night, but it is NFL Night at the Grove. Redskins Hall of Famer and current radio host on 106.7 The Fan, Brian Mitchell will be in attendance for a pregame picnic. He will also be signing autographs on the concourse during the game. Our pregame picnic will feature Mitchell speaking about his career and includes an all-you-can-eat buffet that is $18 for adults and $15 for youth. Mini hot dogs, hamburger sliders, bratwurst and pulled pork are some of the menu items you will find at the picnic. In addition to Mitchell’s appearance, fans that wear their NFL jersey when they purchase tickets at the box office will receive a voucher for a FREE hot dog. Brian Mitchell + free ball park frank + fireworks = fun times at Harry Grove. 106.9 The Eagle, the four states #1 for classic hits, will also be at the game on Saturday with Phil and Arianna hosting our in-game promotions. Fireworks will light up the Frederick skies following the game, courtesy of Life & Discovery and Musket Ridge.

The final regular season home game will be on Sunday at 2pm. We will be celebrating birthdays for all the kids who were born in the offseason with a party in the courtyard. For just $13 you get a ticket to the game along with a hot dog, chips and a drink. Like usual, it is also Sunday Funday presented by Dick’s Sporting Goods, so fans will be able to have a catch on the field from 1-1:30pm and get autographs from two Keys players on the first base concourse. Lastly, we will be having some fan appreciation raffle giveaways throughout to game to thank you, the fans, for all of your support throughout the 2011 season.

That wraps up the preview for this week’s promotions. Hope to see you out at the Grove for the final regular season home games for 2011!

Brown for the Count – Volume 5

It’s time for another edition of Brown for the Count. It’s been a few weeks since I’ve checked in so let’s review the latest events from the Grove. Your Frederick Keys have been playing solid baseball and are on pace to have the best season in franchise history. Since the last major home stand in July, the Keys have had two more road trips, a small three game home set and a huge seven game home stand. The huge home stand was the 2nd to last one of the regular season and it ran from Thursday the 11th to Wednesday the 17th. This home stand was highlighted by 80’s Night, Jerry the King Lawler, Cancer Awareness, Keyote’s Birthday, Moustache Mania, and saying goodbye to our college game day interns. Despite some rain and hot temperatures, it was still another fabulous week for the Frederick Keys.

We had just had a six game road trip and the 2nd consecutive weekend with no games at the Grove. That meant two weekends free for the staff here with the Keys but we all knew that the toughest stretch of games was on the horizon. Thursday August 11th marked the first game of 14 home games in an 18 day period. A daunting task nonetheless, we were ready to start strong. Wednesday night was 80’s night and the staff at the Keys was dressed in varying 80’s attire like band t-shirts and layers. Despite the fact that much of our staff and our fans were born in the late 80’s or after, people still appreciate the 80’s and respect that decade and do their best to wear the styles.

Game two on the home stand was Friday night and it was a memorable evening for everyone, especially for me. It was the usual firework night and it was salute to the blue collar worker, but we also had a very special guest in attendance. We had WWE Commentator, Wrestler, and Hall of Famer Jerry “The King” Lawler at our stadium for the whole entire night. Let me first say how excited I was personally to have him at the Grove because the truth is I am a huge wrestling fan and still watch it today. He got to our stadium before the game and he greeted and mingled with our staff and players. Then he signed autographs and took photos with fans before the game, then he threw out the first pitch, then went right back to signing for the 1st six innings of the game. While this was going on I had the pleasure of working Jerry’s table and greeting fans and helping out the process in any way I could. He was very friendly and welcoming with all fans and signed for every fan for almost three straight hours.

After the signing was over, we took Jerry into our press box and he was able to watch a few innings of what ended up being a Keys win. Then at the end of the eighth inning was one of the biggest moments at the Grove of the year. Like every home game, The Burger King crowns one fan the king of the game and gives them a crown and a coupon for a free meal. Tonight we had the Burger King being accompanied by Jerry Lawler. Then while the Burger King was looking for the lucky fan, a fan in a Winston Salem hat stole the crown and started gloating and acting like a fool. The crowd was stunned and no one knew what to do. Jerry Lawler saw a metal folding chair near by; he picked it up and hit the fan in the back from behind. The crowd cheered as the fan came crashing to the ground and the King picked up the Burger King crown and gave it to a deserving Keys fan. Jerry and the Burger King left to a solid stream of cheers and a few people shocked at what had just occurred. The Winston Salem fan was able to get up to his feet and walk away on his own terms.

Witnesses to the event said it was a sound steady shot to the guys back and said it came out of no where. It was an awesome evening inFrederick and was the highest Friday attendance of the season. The night was capped off with a huge victory for the Keys and a fireworks show. For me it was one of the most fun nights we had this season and it was great having a huge WWE celebrity with us for the night.

It would be tough to top Fridays spectacular events, but Saturday night was another big night and it was for a special cause, Cancer Awareness night. Every year the Keys do their part in spreading cancer awareness in having a bat auction and a pre and post game ceremony. With the severity of Cancer and the impact it has on everyone, it’s good that sports organizations can help in the efforts. Saturday night for me was another night of doing the PA announcing, and it was time to step up and deliver on a major weekend night. I felt like it went pretty solid with an occasional slip up, but for it only being my third time and it being a Saturday night with a bigger crowd and more going on, it went pretty well. After the game we had kids run, a cancer awareness ceremony and fireworks. It was a busy night and once the last guest had left, we were far from being done. The winds blew in all night long and we felt the effects for fireworks clean up. Firework debris was everywhere on the infield, outfield, and warning track. With a huge effort from the staff and interns, we were able to get the debris cleaned up and everyone was able to get out and enjoy the rest of their Saturday night at a decent hour.

Sunday was a day game for the Keys and it was another huge day, it was Keyote’s birthday. It was time to celebrate Keyote and we did it with a star wars theme, several star wars characters and other local mascots all at the ball park to celebrate with us. The mascots that attended were Poe from the Ravens, Doc from Towson, Red from Red Robin, Iggy from Loyola, Dash from Hood College, and our very own Frank Key. Then for the Star Wars theme we had ten to fifteen characters that were in full attire and carrying light sabers. The day was fun for all fans and mascots and we had several on field star ways battles that climaxed at the end with a special battle sequence with the birthday boy. Keyote enjoyed the party and would like to thank all guests for attending and making it a special day.

After a wild and crazy weekend, the Keys welcomed in the Wilmington Blue Rocks for a three game set. The Keys flexed their first place muscles and swept the series. Wednesday night of the series was moustache mania and we gave out moustaches to fans that did not have one or could not grow one. Many of the staff wore fake moustaches in support of the evening. Then we had a name that celebrity moustache during the game. It was a fun little evening and a nice way to end a very busy home stand.

This home stand was the last one for most of our college game day interns. For those that do not know minor league teams bring in college students each summer and have them work during games in various capacities. The college students get hands on experience in minor league baseball and credit toward their degree at what ever school they attend. This summer the Keys have 13 interns from different universities in area helping us out. I was a college intern in minor league baseball last summer so I was able to relate to them throughout their journey with the Keys. These interns helped out with the groups table, signing up fans for on field games, helping run the on field games, passing out items for pre and post game, and helping out as the mascot for appearances and during games. We would like to thank all the interns for a great summer and wish them luck on all their future endeavors.

Looking into the future the Keys travel to Lynchburg for a four game set throughout the weekend. Then the Keys return home on Monday August 22nd for another seven game home stand. This will be the last regular season home game and the last chance to catch the Keys before the playoffs. The Keys are on pace to have the best season in franchise history, so make sure to come check them out before it’s over. For now this is Kevin Brown telling you to have a nice weekend and Shake Your Keys!!

Promo Preview: Royalty, Star Wars & Mustaches Invade Harry Grove

It is a time that you should be happy to live in Frederick, Keys fans. This upcoming homestand not only has the usual family, friendly atmosphere that we offer, but also brings a WWE Hall of Famer to the Grove, a Star Wars celebration for Keyote’s birthday and a tribute to one of the greatest pieces of facial hair, the mustache. The Keys return home on Thursday for a seven game homestand with match-ups against the Southern Division leading, Winston-Salem Dash, and the Wilmington Blue Rocks. The Keys lost two out of three to the Dash this past weekend but have had a lot of success against the Rocks.

When the Keys return on Thursday, it will be 80’s Night at Harry Grove Stadium. Player headshots on the videoboard will be themed for the 1980s along with music throughout the game. Staff will be dressed up in 80’s clothing whether it is crazy neon stuff or something else. I was born in 1987 so I didn’t get to experience too much of the 80’s but the music is good and so are the cartoons…the Super Mario Bros. Super Show being one of my favorites…

 

Friday night at 7pm is Salute to the Blue Collar Worker and more importantly an appearance by WWE Hall of Famer, Jerry “The King” Lawler. The King is not only well-known for his wrestling and announcing, but also coming to minor league parks to spend time with fans to take pictures and sign autographs. This past weekend, Lawler was in Atlanta for a wrestling convention and wrestling journalist, Bill Apter (my dad), talked to Jerry about his upcoming visit to the Keys game. Should be a fun time, so bring your wrestling memorabilia, disposable/real cameras and babies to get signed as the King makes his way to Frederick! Ok, you don’t have to get your baby signed.

Fast forwarding to Sunday at 2PM, the Keys will celebrate Keyote’s birthday in a way that has never been done before. Keyote will have the force with him come Sunday afternoon as his birthday is set to be a Star Wars theme. Members from the Defenders of the Force and the Rebel Legion will be in attendance and will feature over 10 Star Wars characters and performances on the field in between innings. The guy in charge of the Defenders of the Force, Chris Harper, gives an explanation of what his group does…

The Defenders of the Force is an organization comprised of individuals with a passion for giving back to the community and a love of the Star Wars Universe as created by Lucasfilm Ltd.  The members of the Defenders of the Force have banded together to recreate the lightsaber battles seen in the films and television series and to create their own stories, characters, and lightsaber battles based in the Star Wars Universe. These lightsaber battles are performed at events with the sole purpose of assisting charitable organizations and supporting the community.

Fans can get into the game early, 12:30PM to be exact, for just $13! That $13 includes a general admission ticket along with a hot dog, chips and a drink for a pre-game picnic with all of the Star Wars characters and Keyote’s mascot friends.

The last day I choose to highlight is Wednesday, August 17th. Here with the Keys this month, it is Mustache August. Game time is at 7PM and it is Tribute to the Mustache Night. What better?! Not only will fans that have mustaches receive a ticket discount (no goatees allowed!) BUT the first 500 fans that may be too young or too cool for a real mustache will receive a stick-on mustache as they enter the gates. There is nothing better than a Wednesday night of hot Carolina League action while taking the time to tribute the mustache. We will be having Name that Mustache Trivia along with other exciting events taking place. Not to mention, some Keys staff members have decided to grow mustaches of their own…

Anyways, I hope to see you all out at the Grove sometime in the next seven games. Make sure to stop by the box office or give us a buzz at 877.8.GO.KEYS to get tickets for any of these games OR for our playoff games on September 7th & 8th…..PLAYOFFS?! YES! PLAYOFFS!

That being said, Shake Your Keys!

-Brandon Apter

Player Rituals, Scripts, Camps and more…

 Me as the Green Arrow on Superhero Night with Optimus Prime & Bumble Bee

It has been a while, Keys fans. I am Brandon Apter, Promotions Manager for the Keys. I hope you all have enjoyed posts by our seasonal staff member, Kevin Brown. He has gone into some great depth about what goes on here at Harry Grove Stadium on game days. I just wanted to share a post with everyone about some of the cool and not so cool things that happen while working in baseball. Being a young professional in baseball is enjoyable…it is fun, you get to spend the summer outside and get to enjoy America’s pastime, the game of baseball. It is always nice seeing young prospects show their stuff as they move through the system trying to get to the bigs. Us here in the minors don’t really get to pay much, if any, attention to the game. All of us are focused on the operations of the game when fans are in the seats.

Pre-game Ritual…

To start things off, I want you all to see something unique that happens here each game prior to taking the field. Keys reliever, Will Startup, has a pre-game “ritual” of grooving/dancing to our open video which features the song “Burn it to the Ground” by Nickelback. Here is Will’s dance for your viewing pleasure…

In a post of mine way back, I posted a bunch of videos you may see if you come to a Keys game during the pre-game/in-game part of things so I am glad that one showed up on youtube.

Molding the Game…

Pregame starts for myself earlier in the day as I prepare the game scripts. I have just taken over this responsibility recently and am enjoying it. For pre-game, every minute from a half an hour prior to the game until the first pitch is covered on a timeline. The timeline inculdes any pre-game presentations, announcing of lineups along with sponsor reads and first pitches. After that, every inning is blocked with an in-game promotion (trivia game in the stands or on-field promotion), video, sponsor read or an inning sponsorship. Everything is placed in a specific spot to keep the fans attention between the game. I make sure never to put two trivia games in a row just to mix things up. All of the in-games, for the most part, are sponsored for a full season (70 games) or half season (35 games). So, we have a quota to meet when it comes to these and every time I make a script, I tally which games we do. The game script is used by myself, the emcees, marketing department along with the game day interns. The whole game relies on the script so it is super cool to be able to create what is going on in games.

Baseball Camps Add to the Craziness…

If you thought that working in baseball was tiring to this point, baseball camps add to the exhaustion throughout the year. Here with the Keys, we have two sessions of baseball camps for ages 5-10 while we also have a pitching camp for kids ages 11-17. Throughout the regular baseball camps, players instruct kids on the basics of baseball whether it is fielding ground balls, taking a lead at any base or even cleaning your cleats. We have some players that are great with kids and make the experience awesome for them. Camps run from 9am-12pm, which means I am here around 8:15 getting things ready for sign-in and such. We have game day interns help out as well to make things run smoothly. There are different stations kids go to as well. One is baserunning and others are grounders, pitching techniques, outfield fly balls, tee hitting, batting cages and the clubhouse. Kids stay at each station for 15-20 minutes and rotate, practicing different drills each day to sharpen and improve their skills. The camps are always a fun thing to be involved with. I work in baseball because I love the sport and these kids come to the camps to learn how to play from players who love the game.

Fireworks Are Pretty, Yet Messy…

Those of you who come out to the Keys game on any weekend night game are treated to a night of fireworks that light up the Frederick sky. Fireworks are minor league baseball’s trademark because they always draw fans. I mean, come on…who doesn’t like fireworks? The show goes on for about 10 minutes then fans filter out of the stadium. Meanwhile, on the field, the front office staff begins the sometimes strenuous task of firework debris pickup. Little shards of cardboard blown into the stadium thanks to wind makes some weekend nights 30-45 mins longer than normal. Depending on which way the wind blows, pickup of the blast debris can be in just one area or scattered all over the outfield. On hot days, it is a task that makes you sweat a lot more than you would normally like to. Sure, music is playing and an occasional Keys staff member will start breaking out in song. Luckily, none of the fireworks pieces have been still active this season thus far. Picking them up is a pain but the other issue is the black ash stain it leaves on your hands. Spending time scrubbing your hands clean of ash finishes off a night of firework pickup.

Well, that about wraps up some of the extra stuff us baseball professionals encounter throughout the season. Until next time, Shake Your Keys!

-Brandon Apter

Brown for the Count – Volume 4

*Green, Heroes, Hats, Christmas and Stink Bugs*

Front office staff members and game day interns strut their superhero stuff

Hello again fans; Brown is here once again covering the odds and ends of Keys baseball. The Keys completed another large home stand that ran from Fri July 22nd to Thurs July 28th. This time it was the Winston Salem Dash and the Salem Red Sox that invaded Harry Grove. The home stand enticed Keys fans with several promotions and fun events. From Going Green to Super Heroes, Christmas Eve in July, Stink Bugs, and camp day, it was a rocking July week at the Grove. Also in this edition I am doing a special piece about Public Address announcing. One game on the home stand I shadowed the everyday PA announcer and the next night it was my time to shine. Yours truly was the stand in PA announcer and I am going to go into detail about my experience. It added to the greatness of the home stand for me and hopefully everyone that came out during the week feels the same.

This time around the home stand started on a Friday and the Keys had been on the road eight games in a row and an off day Thursday. This meant no late nights for the staff and a weekend free. Yes it was a nice stretch but we were ready for this next seven game home stand. Leading off was going green and the first night of three nights of fireworks. Going green night was our promotion geared at showing our fans the importance of recycling and taking care of our planet. Part of this initiative was our give away was a reusable Keys Bag that could be used for something like carrying groceries. It serves as an alternative to both paper and plastic bags. Also as part of going green we had an on field game between innings that focused on recycling. All the fans that came out on going green night were treated to a fantastic pitching performance and the Keys won. Then the fireworks lit up the sky and the home stand was well under way.

Saturday night was one of the most anticipated events of the Keys promotional year. Saturday night was Super Hero night and many of the most celebrated and colorful Heroes were in attendance. Some of the Heroes we had were Superman, Spiderman, Wolverine, Quail Man, Captain America, Batman, Robin, Transformers and Wonder Woman. They all have busy schedules fighting villains and keeping the world safe but tonight they spent some down time at the ball park. The kids in attendance had a great time meeting there favorites and getting photos and autographs. On top of this we also had a tremendous give away, Trucker Hats. This unique Keys Trucker Hat went out to the first 1,000 fans that entered the ball park. On top of Super Heroes and the Hat give away, the Keys has there second quickest game in Franchise History. The fans had to wait around a little while but it was worth it when we put on another fantastic fireworks display. It was a Saturday night to remember inFrederick. Sunday was different then most of the others because we opened the gates early for a little league home run derby. Youngsters took there hacks on the field and several of them launched some serious home run shots. It was a fun time for these young athletes and they can look back and recall the time they competed on our field. Then to round out the day, it was time for Christmas Eve in July. Despite scorching weather completely opposite of the weather we get in December, it was time to celebrate Christmas Eve in July. The ball park was decorated with various Christmas items and the staff wore festive hats and Santa was at the Grove. It was nice to at least try to imagine and celebrate Christmas in 90 degree weather. At the end of the night it was time for the last Sunday night fireworks show of the year. The fans got a great show but when it was said and done the Keys were looking at a huge clean up of debris. The night had almost no wind most of the night and the thing with our fireworks if the wind does not blow out of the ball park, and then we are stuck with firework remnants in the outfield and on the warning track. The staff all grabbed trash bags and headed onto the field to clean up fireworks that spanned all across the field. It was a team effort from all full time staff and college interns and we worked diligently to clean the field. It was not how most of us would want to end the weekend but it has to be done. Now it was time to move on to Monday and we had four more on the horizon.

Monday night was an interesting promotion, salute to stink bugs night. Yes stink bugs, those lovely creatures that sometimes annoy you and have an appalling odor. We were saluting them and in doing that giving away fly swatters with a close pin on each one. Also during the game, we had an on field game with a giant cockroach that one lucky individual got to swat at. It was a Monday night and what better way to start your week then by celebrating bugs. It was four in the books; three to go and the next two nights were going to give me a different look at thing.

 The view from the PA

On Tuesday morning Paul, our Creative Production Manager, was looking for someone who could fill in as our PA announcer for Wednesday’s game. PA is the public address announcer; he is the voice you hear that announces everything throughout the game. Our usual PA announcer was going on vacation and our back up was leaving in August. Thus that prompted someone new to learn the position. I volunteered to sit in with our guy Tuesday and then to do it on Wednesday. I figured it to be a great experience and something I may enjoy. Tuesday night I sat and watched as Andy, our PA guy, did all the announcements, player introductions, and everything else during the game. The majority of what is read is in a binder and you follow it one page at a time through out pre game, during, and post game. Andy is very good at it and he is able to control the music from a computer and do the announcing at the same time. From watching him I could see what I needed to attempt to do and not make any mistakes.

Wednesday came and took my time leading up to the game studying the binder and getting the main ideas of what I was reading. Then pre game came and it was time for my moment. I read all the pre game announcements that included welcoming fans and all of the sponsorship reads. I had a co-worker, Tyler, doing the music because it was my first time and I was focusing on just announcing and following along the binder. I was able to do the line ups with out any major blunders and then I announced the National Anthem and then it was time for the game to start. The pre game announcement part was the hardest part because it is constant. Also several player names are challenging to pronounce. During the game I announced each player for both teams and also several add in sponsors that need to be announced for a Keys strike out of the opposing team, a walk, or a home run. Then between innings I would make sponsorship announcements when ever we did not have an on field game or a video playing. The whole process of doing the PA announcing was fun once I got comfortable and was in rhythm. Most reactions I got from fellow staff members were positive so I felt like I did well enough and not completely fail. I would do it again and I look forward to doing another game or two before the season is over.

Finishing the Home stand

After my exciting two night adventure with PA announcing, there was still one game left. It was a day game and it was hot, but that did not stop us from having a great time for Camp Day. Kids came in buses and other forms of transportation to the grove, most sporting colorful camp shirts. With the temperatures in the 90’s and rising, some staff and interns filled up water guns and sprayed kids as they came in and during the game. I had a water gun of course and I had a good time keeping kids cool and spraying some co workers along the way. The kids seemed to enjoy themselves at the game and were treated to another Keys win.

After the game the Keys staff worked the rest of the day till five at the office, then a full day Friday with no game, then finally time for the weekend. The Keys playing at Potomac means time away from the stadium for staff. We all take time to refresh, catch our breath and get ready because next week is a three game set Tuesday thru Thursday and also baseball camp Tuesday through Thursday. It will be another hot week in Frederick but the Keys staff is ready to provide the campers a great time and a memorable three nights at the Grove for the games. Make sure you come on out to the stadium Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday night, August 2nd, 3rd, and 4th. All three games at are 7 PM and Thursday night is 50 cent hot dog night. As the Keys approach the play offs in September, they need a strong second half finish and need your presence as the grove. I hope to see you out here this week, until then this is Kevin Brown, have a good week.

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