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.