Keys Monday Mailbox – May 13th


Fans were here early for the Manny Machado bobbleheads on May 11th.

Welcome to the first Keys Monday Mailbox. On Mondays throughout the season, we will be fielding fan questions about the team, front office and other various topics. Let’s get to it.

On game days, what time do players arrive at the stadium and do any have game day rituals they follow? – Lari Lee

Players normally arrive around 1pm for 7pm games, so approximately 5-6 hours before first pitch. Upon arrival, some players work on their hitting in the batting cage while others can be seen doing their various workout activities around the stadium. A few players are seen doing what is known as a  tour de stadewhich is when you run up and down all of the steps in the stadium. For you Lost fans out there, Jack Shepherd did this in the show during some of his flashbacks. Players and coaches head out for BP and infield practice around 4pm, with the visiting team following them at 5pm. After that, if the players need treatment from the training staff, they get that – if they don’t need that, the guys have a snack, break out a deck of cards and get ready for the game.

As for game day rituals, Keys pitcher Tyler Wilson is the one that comes to mind. Before each game, he has a peanut butter sandwich, sends the same text message to his mom and he also jumps over the foul line when he goes on and off of the field. Whether you consider it a ritual or not may be up to you, but many players change their walk-out songs a few times a year, if not more. Since joining the Keys last season, Wilson has stuck to the song “My Life Be Like (Ooh-Aah)” by the Grits. Take a listen if you’d like. We may have to research some more of these, because I am sure there are some good ones.

What show does pitcher Zach Fowler like more, Seinfeld or 7th Heaven? – Former Keys pitcher Matt Bischoff, who was promoted to Double-A Bowie in April

When asked this question, Fowler answered Seinfeld, hands down. Then he was asked by fellow reliever Jesse Beal if he liked Dawson’s Creek better than Seinfeld, to which Fowler responded “that show’s terrible”.

What do you think is the better show, fans? Give us your answer below.

When does the grounds crew show up on game days? – Tyler Jones

Our head groundskeeper and groundskeeping assistant report to the stadium with everyone else on gamedays at 9 or 10am. When it comes to the game day crew, which consists of two more members, they report an hour and a half before the game begins. After clocking in, they remove the nets and cage from the field from batting practice, drag and water the field, get the mounds in shape for the game and chalk the foul lines.


The intense winds from Friday’s storm caused the tarp to have a life of it’s own.

If the game happens to have a rain delay, then the entire front office staff becomes the groundscrew and helps out with the tarp. This past Friday, the wind got the best of the tarp for a few minutes, resulting in what we like to call the “tarp monster”. See above picture.

How does a person become Keyote? Is it tryouts or do you draw straws in the office to see who’s it? – Shawn Lantz

Kids, you may want to shut your eyes for this one. As you can probably tell, Keyote is worn by many different people. We have two game-day employees that perform as Keyote just for game days and occasional community appearances. When it comes to off-season appearances and the bulk of the in-season appearance, Keyote is usually a member of our Marketing & Business Internship program or a member of our marketing team. As for tryouts, being Keyote is just like interviewing for a regular job. We look for a person that preferably has some mascot experience along with an enthusiastic attitude brought to the table.

The closest thing done to what you say is “drawing the short straw” is during off-season appearances. Sometimes a game of rock, paper, scissors is played to see who dons the suit that specific day and then it is decided on a rotational basis afterwards.

Being Keyote involves a lot on game days, including jumping out of our Keys van and running down the foul line to the home plate area. Keyote has an entrance video that is played pretty much every game during pre-game ceremonies. Thanks to Hi-Lo Auto Sales for the sweet ride!

Want to submit a question for the next Keys Monday Mailbox? Send your question to

*Notes for tonight’s 7 p.m. game at Harry Grove Stadium – Keys vs. Blue Rocks

KEYS STARTER: RHP Zach Davies (2-2, 4.86)

  • Picked up a win in last start despite allowing 5 runs in 5.2 innings.
  • Has pitched very well with runners on base (.204 against) and runners in scoring position (.206 against).
  • Orioles scrapped his slider last year to develop his curveball. Best off-speed pitch is his change-up.
  • Rated by Baseball America as Orioles No. 20 prospect entering 2013; was drafted by Baltimore in 26th round of 2011 draft.






















BLUE ROCKS STARTER: LHP Sam Selman (1-2, 5.61)

  • Lost his second game of the season in last start, walking five and allowing three runs in 4.2 innings against Potomac. Leads the Carolina League in walks allowed (23 in 25.2 innings pitched).
  • Went 5-4 with 2.09 ERA, striking out 89 batters in rookie-level Idaho Falls after being drafted last summer.
  • His fastball sits in the mid-90s and peaks around 98 mph and his best off-speed pitch is his slider.
  • Control problems plagued him early in his career at Vanderbilt, but a strong finish to his junior season led to Kansas City selecting him in the second round of the 2012 draft. Teammate of Keys infielder Jason Esposito.


FREE-PASS POTENTIAL: Odds are there will be several walks issued this evening. Wilmington starter Sam Selman has walked 23 batters in 25.2 innings this season, the most in the Carolina League. The Keys have walked 163 times this season, 34 more times than second-place Winston-Salem, and catcher Zane Chavez’s 24 walks, 14 of which have come in May, is second in the league.

WELCOME AND WELCOME BACK: The Keys middle of the order saw a significant change Sunday afternoon. First baseman Christian Walker batted third and went 3-for-4 in his debut after being promoted from Class-A Delmarva Sunday morning and Nicky Delmonico returned from the disabled list to his fifth-spot in the batting order and celebrated his first game back with a solo homer. Sandwiched between them in the cleanup spot was catcher Zane Chavez, who’s hitting .324 in his last 10 games and is third in the league in on-base percentage (.432).

HARDWOOD CONNECTION: Two of the top scorers in Oklahoma High School history will be in baseball uniforms at Harry Grove Stadium tonight. Blue Rocks outfielder Lane Adam is No. 5 in the sooner state’s history and Keys manager Ryan Minor is 12th.

*And the starting lineup:


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: