October 2012

Schoop & Hoes Keeping Busy in Fall League Play

Although the Minor League Baseball season has been over for a few weeks now, some young players were selected by their big league squad to participate in the Arizona Fall League.

For those of you who have never heard of this, the Arizona Fall League is an off-season league owned and operated by Major League Baseball which operates during the fall in Arizona at five spring training venues. The season runs from early October until the middle of November. It consists of six teams, each of which has prospects from five MLB teams.  Each Major League team provides seven players who team up to fill the 35-man roster of each team. For example, the Mesa Solar Sox have young players that come from the Orioles system along with the Cubs, Astros, Dodgers and Tigers. The Phoenix Desert Dogs, Scottsdale Scorpions, Peoria Javelinas, Salt River Rafters and the Surprise Saguaros comprise the rest of the teams.

Yesterday, we looked at the pitcher’s representing the O’s, so today we look at the two hitters for the Solar Sox that both saw time in Frederick during the 2011 season.

Part of the 2011 Keys Championship team, O’s #3 prospect Jonathan Schoop, spent his entire 2012 season with the Double-A Bowie Baysox after helping Frederick raise the Mills Cup. His .290 average in 2011 between Delmarva and Frederick was enough to warrant a promotion to Bowie for the now 21-year old phenom. Schoop spent plenty of the season playing second base while his teammate Manny Machado was at shortstop. Schoop hit .245 in his first Double-A season, with 14 homers and 56 RBI. Although he saw most of his reps at 2B, once Machado got the call, he saw time at short as well, which could benefit him in the long run with Manny playing 3B for the O’s. In the Fall League, Schoop is second on the team in batting average at .333 with three doubles, a homer and four RBI. Schoop won the 2011 Brooks Robinson Award as the Baltimore Orioles’ Minor League Player of the Year and was signed as a non-drafted free agent in 2008.

Schoop may have been the 2011 recipient of the Brooks Robinson Minor League Player of the Year award, but the 2012 winner also finds himself in the Fall League. Called up to the Orioles after a great year in the minors, #12 O’s prospect LJ Hoes only saw one at-bat and after his promotion on September 11th. He saw minimal pinch-running opportunities as well, but that doesn’t take away from what he did in 2012. After spending 2011 split between Frederick and Bowie, Hoes began 2012 with the Baysox, where he posted a solid .265 average over 51 games. He was promoted to Norfolk, where he found more success. In 82 games with the Tides, LJ hit an even .300 with three homers and 38 RBI. He was riding a 20-game hitting streak with Norfolk at one point at well. Despite his great season in Triple-A, he is struggling to find his stroke in the Fall League. Hitting just .130 in 23 at-bats, Hoes has registered just three RBI over six games. It is a small sample size, so there is plenty of time for him to start hitting. Hoes is a local guy, selected by the Baltimore Orioles in the third round of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft out of St. John’s High School in Washington, D.C.

To follow the Orioles prospects on the Mesa Solar Sox throughout the Arizona Fall League, click here.

To see profiles on the Orioles pitching prospects in the AFL, click here.

Former Keys Pitchers Hard at Work in AFL

 

Although the Minor League Baseball season has been over for a few weeks now, some young players were selected by their big league squad to participate in the Arizona Fall League.

For those of you who have never heard of this, the Arizona Fall League is an off-season league owned and operated by Major League Baseball which operates during the fall in Arizona at five spring training venues. The season runs from early October until the middle of November. It consists of six teams, each of which has prospects from five MLB teams.  Each Major League team provides seven players who team up to fill the 35-man roster of each team. For example, the Mesa Solar Sox have young players that come from the Orioles system along with the Cubs, Astros, Dodgers and Tigers. The Phoenix Desert Dogs, Scottsdale Scorpions, Peoria Javelinas, Salt River Rafters and the Surprise Saguaros comprise the rest of the teams.

Today we take a look at the pitchers from the Orioles system that are playing in this year’s Fall League.

 

Currently with a record of 3-9, the Orioles AFL team (Mesa Solar Sox), is struggling to find it’s groove when it comes to starting pitching. Out of the five starting pitchers on the team, none have an ERA below 6.00. One of those pitchers is former Frederick Key, Mike Wright. Sporting an 0-2 record and an ERA of 9.00 through three games is not exactly where he would like to be. After an impressive stint to start the 2012 season in Frederick (5-2, 2.91 ERA in eight starts), Wright was called up to Double-A, where he started twelve games, but had an ERA just below five. In the Fall League, Wright gave up six earned runs in his first two starts, which spanned only four innings combined. His latest outing on October 22nd, was his best thus far, giving up one run over three innings while striking out three. Wright may be the only  former Keys starter on the team, but a pair of relievers also find themselves in action for the Solar Sox.

Clay Schrader spent time in 2012 with the Keys before getting called up to Bowie. He went 1-1 with a 1.29 ERA in Frederick over 35 innings before getting the call. He pitched 23 innings of relief for the Baysox, going 1-0 with a 2.74 ERA. He hasn’t found too much success so far in the AFL, giving up three earned runs in just 4 1/3 innings of work. Schrader has had a good reputation in the O’s system, holding his ERA to a combined 1.72 over the last two seasons.

The other reliever on the Solar Sox is Chris Petrini. He has appeared in five games thus far and has a 4.15 ERA. Since this ERA spans only 4 1/3 innings, Petrini has also pitched two scoreless frames in the AFL. Chris spent time in both Frederick and Bowie this season, where he combined for a 6-4 record and an impressive 2.49 ERA. At the age of 25, Petrini’s 2012 season could give him a spot in the Tides bullpen come 2013. His 1.88 ERA in Frederick and 2.62 ERA in Bowie warrant a promotion or a chance next season.

Tomorrow we look at the Orioles hitting prospects in the Arizona Fall League.

 

Keys Looking for Summer 2013 Interns

As a college student, you are just trying to figure out what fits you best as a career. When you move along to the junior and senior years of school, the studies focus more on specifics in your major and possible job avenues that are out there after graduation. Being a Sport Management, Marketing, Communications or Business major normally has an internship involved in the course requirements. That is where the Frederick Keys come into the picture.

The  Keys are seeking outgoing and driven college juniors and seniors that want to pursue a career in sports for our Marketing & Business Internship. Meant for students who are seeking an internship for credit, the Keys offer a great program to those looking to get their foot in the door in the industry. Along with experiencing the marketing side of the organization, you get to take place in community relations/appearances and more.

The complete job description is up on the Job Opportunites link under the Harry Grove Stadium tab on www.frederickkeys.com but to help you better understand some facets of the program, here are some highlights of the responsibilities you will have.

Promote the Keys and its various events and promotions in the community through the distribution of marketing materials & pocket schedules. This a very important aspect of sporting organizations. Whether it is going downtown to handout fliers for specific theme nights or delivering pocket schedules throughout Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia, the Keys are always on the prowl to get out there and market ourselves. In 2012, the interns helped distribute over 275,000 pocket schedules to different areas, which was a big reason for our increase in attendance. A new addition this year is being a part of the Keys Street Team. During game days in the early afternoon, interns will go out to parks, playgrounds and pools in the area to get kids and families and excited about Keys baseball.

Execute pre-game, in-game and post-game promotions. This is one of the unique parts of the job. As a part of the Krunch Bunch, you will have the opportunity to not only sign up fans for our on-field contests, but set them up on the field as well. Although a lot of the games seem easy and fun, this is one of the responsibilities that demands full attention. With just two minutes to get on and off the field during the half inning, you need to show hussle to get the promotional props in the right spots before the game begins as well as picking them up afterwards. It is a crucial part of the game presentation that needs to be sharp for it to be effective. Other parts of this include helping out with kids run the bases post-game, signing up contestants throughout the game and grabbing the props a half inning beforehand to get everything in place. The picture above is two of our 2011 Marketing & Business interns shaking their Keys. After the 7th inning stretch inning every game, all marketing staff gets up on the dugout and shakes their keys to the traditional song.

Develop theme nights and decorate the stadium and prepare for the various theme nights throughout the season. Wearing costumes during theme nights really adds a lot of atmosphere to the fan experience and that is why we are here. To make the experience the best we can every night for the fans. In the minors, it is all about the people that attend, not the team. Fans will still come to game even if they don’t like baseball for the atmosphere that we offer. It is imperative that you have no issues dressing in costume and being a little goofy because there are plenty of theme nights that involve costumes (Superhero Night, Disney Night, Christmas in July, etc). Helping make a theme night grow makes it more enjoyable for the fans and can be very rewarding for you. We take a lot of pride in our wacky theme nights. Shown above are costumes from our Six Months ’til the End of the World Night, which was up for a couple of promotional awards in 2012.

Assist in the advertising and execution of two sessions of the Keys Youth Baseball Camp. Another enjoyable opportunity of this program is Keys Baseball Camps. Twice during the season, we hold two youth camps for kids ages 5-10 that need to be staffed by the interns. Keys players are at different stations around the stadium, teaching kids the basics of hitting, baserunning and fielding. Helping assist the players at their stations along with making sure the kids get from station to station without losing someone is a big part of the job. Before the camps begin, you will go out to different little league games to hand out information on the camps.

Operate the Keys Group Services signing up fans for new Frank Key’s Army Program and help raise money for Keys charity – Frederick Keys Care at games via the Wheel of Fun and 50/50 raffle. On the days that you are not helping out with on-field promotions or signing up contestants, you will be working one of two stations. Our new Frank Key’s Army Program is named after our mascot Frank Key and Francis Scott Key. When signing up, fans will receive a Keys rally towel and other perks that come along with joining. Also, as seen  above, there is the Wheel of Fun. For a $1 donation to our charity, Frederick Keys Care, you can spin the wheel and win a prize anywhere from a baseball rubber ducky to a bobblehead doll. Getting people to spin the wheel by being outgoing and inviting is something that we look for rather than someone on their phone behind the table.

Lastly, this experience gives you the chance to meet some great people and work with friends you may keep in touch with for a long time. Networking is an integral part to the sports industry and you never know who you might meet. The 2012 intern class briefly touched on their experience.

Caitlin Fox (Virginia Tech) – “This internship opportunity with the Keys gave me a great chance to get my feet wet in the world of sports marketing. I gained invaluable experience, not only in marketing, but all aspects of running an operation such as the Keys. This internship made for a great summer, spending days watching and working in baseball with great people!”

Michael Anders (Northwestern) – “Working for the Keys was one of my favorite internships I’ve done so far. Everyone was very friendly and I learned a lot about sports marketing and business. When I requested to enhance my experience by shadowing the radio broadcasters, I was given the opportunity with no questions asked. It was a very worthwhile experience and I had fun every time I went to Harry Grove Stadium.”

Sean Weddell (University of South Carolina) – “My experience interning for the Frederick Keys this past summer was a wonderful one.  I was able to learn many aspects surrounding minor league baseball including promotions, marketing and community appearances.  I thoroughly enjoyed coming to work everyday for the Keys!”

Blake Maraoui (Virginia Tech) – “Interning with the Frederick Keys helped me develop the people skills to understand how to relate with fans and improve their game experience. A positive attitude and emphasis on treating fans with respect and courtesy is reciprocated, and that is a lesson that applies in all arenas of life.”

Dan Hollister (Towson University) – “The Frederick Keys Marketing Internship was one of the best experiences I’ve had. If you love sports, you will love Interning for this great organization. The entire staff does a great job and will help prepare you for a career in the sports world.”

Lauren Peck (Elizabethtown College) – “My summer internship experience with The Keys was truly a great one. As the summer progressed, I found myself getting comfortable in multiple aspects of minor league baseball, from delivering promotional material, to interacting with fans. Frederick is a special community and as the summer went on, I found myself developing relationships with our season ticket holders. It was great to meet the fans and see so many of them who dedicate their time to supporting the Keys. The staff at Harry Grove Stadium made me feel like I was part of the family from day one, and I never felt like I was “just another intern”. If I ever had questions about the jobs that needed to be completed or about what else minor league baseball had to offer, I always found other employees who were willing to help and share their knowledge. I found the job to be the perfect balance of professional work experience and fun. I loved going into work every day and as a result would like to further investigate the world of minor league baseball as a future career.”

Tara Smeak (Edinboro University of PA) – “While working this past summer as an intern with the Frederick Keys I had the opportunity to get my foot in the door in the sports world. I learned many different aspects of marketing and promotions, while having fun and enjoying the company of my fellow interns. This internship helped me realize what I wanted to do in my future and made me even more excited to get there.”

As you can see, this internship program can be a great opportunity for anyone looking to start a career in sports. If you have any questions, feel free to shoot me, Brandon Apter, an email at bapter@frederickkeys.com. For any perspective interns out there, I hope to hear from you soon!

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