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.
Orioles Starter Makes Return to Where it All Started
Frederick, MD – Baltimore Orioles left-handed pitcher Brian Matusz will return to where his professional baseball career started when he starts for the Frederick Keys on Monday, May 16th at Harry Grove Stadium against the Potomac Nationals. First pitch is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.
The fourth pick of the 2008 draft, Matusz has missed time with a strained left intercostal muscle that he suffered when he was struck by a line drive in spring training. He has yet to pitch in 2011.
Matusz began his professional career as a Frederick Key. He was the Keys opening night starter in 2009. In eleven starts as a Key, Matusz went 4-2 with a 2.16 ERA. He did not allow a run in his final 23 innings in the Carolina League. Less than two months later Matusz was with the Orioles, making his major league debut in Detroit in an Orioles win.
Monday, May 16th will also be Bark in the Park Night presented by Crossroads Animal Referral and Emergency. It is the only day you can bring your pets to the ballpark. Fans will be able to run the bases with their animals after the game.
Tickets can be purchased at 1-877-8-GO-KEYS or online at frederickkeys.com.
Beach Balls Around Town Will Win you FREE Tickets to Saturday, May 7th’s Keys Game
Keys fans – Be on the lookout because Wednesday morning, May 4th beach balls will be placed in random locations around Frederick, MD. Grab one of them and bring them to the Keys Box Office and win four free tickets to Beach Night, Saturday May 7th at 6:00 p.m. One special beach ball will also have a FREE cruise presented by Funtime Vacations as its prize.
Beach Night will feature a pre-game Luau party in the Keys Courtyard beginning at 4:00 p.m. The Eagle’s Morning Brew hosts – Phil and Arriana will be on hand hosting the Luau, which will feature great music, fun games and a pig pickin’. Phil and Arriana will stay for the game as the Keys on-field MC’s for the night!
Fans may purchase by the plate or an All-You-Can-Eat ticket to the Luau. Food and drinks will be served until 7:00 p.m. in the Keys Courtyard. A game ticket will get you into the luau so come early!
Fireworks will follow the 6:00 p.m. game against the Wilmington Blue Rocks. For tickets to the game contact the Keys Box Offices at 1-877-8-GO-KEYS or purchase online at frederickkeys.com.
Keyote and Frank Key with Mayor Randy McClement, Frederick City alderman and Phil Key
It is one week into Keys season and it has been a long start for the staff here at Harry Grove. Mother Nature has not been to fair, resulting in two rainouts. To add to that, the Potomac Nationals three-game series that was supposed to be played on the road is being played here because of unplayable field conditions in Potomac. With another homestand starting April 21st, the Potomac series connected the two April homestands resulting in a 13-game stretch here to start the season.
Despite the long hours and numerous tarp pulls, the 2011 season is starting off very well for the Advanced A Orioles club. Opening Night was “Save Your Keys” Night. It featured the unveiling of our new mascot, Frank Key (pictured above), along with ceremonial first pitches by the Frederick City Alderman, Mayor Randy McClement, Francis Scott Key decendent Phil Key and Carolina League President, John Hopkins. It was a successful turnout for the hometown team even though rain fell throughout the game. Opening Night also featured “Save Your Keys” videos, filmed at Camden Yards. Former Keys players such as Brian Matusz and Matt Wieters took time to tell Keys fans to contact local officials in the efforts to keep the Keys in Frederick. Those videos can be found on the Keys official YouTube page, here.
Being a new staff member with the Keys takes some getting used to once the season starts. Getting adjusted to the on-field games and other in-between inning promotions. This part is one of the biggest fan involved aspects of the game. A few staff members scout out perspective contestants that look like they would be okay on a camera and quite possibly making a fool out of themselves. Whether it is a trivia contest for adults or bouncing on inflatable sheep for kids, fans love getting involved when they win prizes. Free tickets, hats, storage, Burger King coupons are just a few of the prizes you can get for participating.
One of the new promotions this year is the Flying Dog Hot Dog Launch. It is exactly what it sounds like. Someone dresses up in a hot dog costume and launch hot dogs into the crowd. It was originally supposed to be a slingshot game but too many hot dogs exploded in the air from the velocity. I have had the pleasure of getting to show those in attendance my hot dog throwing arm and it is a blast! Fans love the goofy stuff and a hot dog guy throwing out ballpark franks is sure to become a classic.
Another game, featured in the 8th inning, is sponsored by Burger King. “King of the Game” is awarded to a lucky fan selected by a staff member dressed in a Burger King costume. The King sprints around the lower concourse trying to find the fan worth of the cardboard crown. Once selected, the fan gets a free sandwich, fries and drink to the local Burger King. It normally ends up being an adult that doesn’t expect it so getting it all on camera is usually pretty funny to see.
The Sheep Race is another classic when you come to the Grove. Three kids mount onto inflatable sheep and attempt to bounce their way down the first base grass to precious victory. A picture for your viewing pleasure…
The weather has not cooperated too well this first week but the Keys staff are well into season mode by now. This homestand has featured a lot of the occurrences that you do not normally see this early in the year. Following Friday’s fireworks, Keys staff members spent about an hour picking up firework debris before pulling tarp in preparation for Saturday’s storm. A day that started at 9am finally ended around 11:40.
The Keys are in town until this Sunday. They host Potomac in a double-header tomorrow beginning at noon and then welcome the Lynchburg Hillcats for the first time this year Thursday through Sunday. Thursday and Friday will be 7pm start times while Saturday and Sunday will be 2pm contests. Fireworks will be on display following Friday’s game. Also, the Keys 1st Annual Easter Egg Hunt will be at 12pm on Sunday. All Jr. Keys Club members are welcome to hunt for Easter eggs throughout the stadium. You must have a ticket to enter.
Come out and enjoy some great, family fun here at Harry Grove this week!
-Brandon Apter, Promotions Manager
OF Jacob Julius’ hard work prior to Thursday night’s game paid off. Julius had three RBI including the game winning RBI in the sixth inning against Myrtle Beach. Want to read more about it? Check out Adam Vencill’s game recap in Friday’s Frederick News Post.
Want more on last night’s Keys win? Take a look at the recap of the 6-5 win on frederickkeys.com.
For those stat lovers out there CLICK HERE for the boxscore of yesterday’s game.
You want two field tickets to a Keys game for the price of one? Hurry….this offer ends on Sunday night!
The Keys (3-2) welcome the Salem Red Sox (4-1) to Harry Grove Stadium tonight for the start of a three-game series. As you enter tonight’s game, you will receive a “Save Your Keys” t-shirt, a 2011-12 Keys Calendar, and a 2011 Keys magnet schedule.
The first fireworks show of the year will follow tonight’s final pitch.
Frederick Keys Baseball – Shake Your Keys.
Greg Swatek from the Frederick News Post recaps Wednesday night’s Keys win and gives insight about Jacob Rasner and his lengthy career to date.
Despite the loss on opening night at Harry Grove Stadium, Swatek wrote about the new look of Keys C Brian Ward in Wednesday’s Frederick News Post.
Fans fought through the rain on Tuesday night as they came out to support their hometown team on “Save Your Keys” night. Stan Goldberg from Frederick News Post talked with several fans who came out to support the Keys on opening night at Harry Grove Stadium.
Following every Keys game head to frederickkeys.com to read about the game that just occurred. Check out last night’s recap of the Keys 2-0 win over Myrtle Beach.
The Keys (2-2) will finish up their series this evening against the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (3-2) at 7 p.m. at Harry Grove Stadium. Frederick will welcome the Salem Red Sox to town on Friday for a three-game series.
After the first series of the season, the Keys are 1-1 after splitting a doubleheader on Sunday afternoon in Salem.
The Red Sox and Keys were rained out on Friday and Saturday night but were finally able to get two games in on Sunday. Check out the doubleheader recap on frederickkeys.com.
In Saturday’s Frederick News Post, Stan Goldberg wrote about Keys 2B LJ Hoes and how he hopes 2011 will be another solid year of progression for the Bowie, MD native.
Opening Night at Harry Grove Stadium is tomorrow. It will be “Save Your Keys” Night at the park. Every fan that enters will receive a free “Save Your Keys” t-shirt. Fans will also receive a 2011 Magnet Schedules, courtesy of 123 Print. For tickets give our box office a call at 1-877-8-GO-KEYS or purchase online at frederickkeys.com.
Two of Orioles Top Five Prospects Begin Season in Frederick
Frederick, MD – The Frederick Keys, Advanced Class-A Affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles, has announced its opening day roster for the upcoming season. Two of the Orioles top five prospects deemed by Baseball America, INF LJ Hoes and RHP Dan Klein, will start the year in Frederick.
Hoes, 21, is a product of Bowie, MD who spent much of 2010 with the Keys. The Orioles third round pick in 2008, Hoes batted .278 n two stints with the Keys in 2010.
Klein, the Orioles second selection in the 2010 draft, was taken in the third round out of UCLA. The closer for the Bruins, Klein pitched in the college world series last season. After signing near the deadline last season, Klein pitched in five games with Short Season-A Aberdeen without allowing a run.
Keys fans will have a familiar feeling when looking out at the team as a whole though. All-in-all 16 players have played with Frederick prior, with 18 players having Advanced Class-A experience prior.
The Keys rotation will feature opening night starter Ryan O’Shea who went 7-8 with a 3.84 ERA in 28 starts last season with Frederick. RHP Oliver Drake and LHP Nate Moreau return to the rotation while RHP Jacob Rasner was acquired in the Double-A phase of the Rule V Draft after pitching in Winston-Salem at times in each of the last few seasons. RHP Bobby Bundy comes to the Keys, the Orioles 8th round pick in 2008.
Along with Klein in the bullpen, the Keys have a veteran core. RHP Josh Dowdy, LHP Cole McCurry, RHP Kenny Moreland and RHP Will Startup will return providing the foundation out of the pen. LHP Nick Haughian gets the call-up after working in Class-A Delmarva each of the last two years.
Frederick will have ample depth in the infield with Buck Britton, Bobby Stevens and power-hitting Tyler Townsend returning to the club. Tyler Kolodny, Garabez Rosa and Michael Rooney join the Keys for a first stint in the Carolina League. Dale Mollenhauer, who spent last season in Double-A Birmingham (Chicago-AL), is with Frederick in his first year in the Orioles system.
Leadoff hitter Kyle Hudson, Jacob Julius and Miguel Abreu will all return to the Keys to patrol the outfield. A familiar name to Orioles fans but newcomer to Frederick, Steve Bumbry will join the Keys outfield. His father Al was the Orioles starting centerfielder when Baltimore last won the World Series in 1983.
A fantastic defensive duo returns to the Keys behind home plate as Brian Ward and Luis Bernardo will each be in their second Carolina League season.
45 Bobby Bundy
25 Josh Dowdy
46 Oliver Drake
48 Nick Haughian
11 Dan Klein
37 Cole McCurry (L)
19 Nathan Moreau (L)
15 Kenny Moreland
27 Ryan O’Shea
44 Jacob Rasner
18 Will Startup (L)
1 Luis Bernardo
14 Brian Ward
3 Buck Britton (L)
28 LJ Hoes
13 Tyler Kolodny
16 Dale Mollenhauer (L)
9 Michael Rooney
6 Garabez Rosa
7 Bobby Stevens
17 Tyler Townsend
51 Miguel Abreu
2 Steve Bumbry (L)
21 Kyle Hudson (L)
34 Jacob Julius (L)
by Brandon Apter
Heading into the weekend before Opening Day, there are plenty of things to look forward to this week for Keys fans everywhere. Not only will magnet schedules be distributed but there will also be “Save Your Keys” t-shirts given to all fans in attendance on Tuesday.
Opening Night is 5 days away and the theme this year is, Save Your Keys. With the team trying to work out a long-term lease agreement with the City of Frederick, the Keys are asking for your help to support our efforts. The public outcry on this issue has been great and Tuesday night looks to be another step. There will be plenty of pre-game ceremonies about Keys history along with a first pitch by Phil Key, descendent of Francis Scott.
Another exciting event is the unveiling of our new mascot, Frank Key. Frank Key will be in attendance along with new-look Keyote as the Keys kick off 2011. As mentioned in a previous post, Frank Key will have his own adult fan club, Frank Key’s Army, that you can register for at the game. You receive a Frank Key’s Army key chain along with a car sticker that can get you plenty of Keys prizes if a staff member sees your car.
With players arriving this past week, operations were in full swing on at Harry Grove. Monday night was the annual staff/player dinner where players and staff members get to eat and talk baseball with one another. Players sported their Keys jerseys for the first time in 2011 on Tuesday and took headshots, action shots and video board shots. Many media members from the area were present to interview returning manager, Orlando Gomez along with top pitching prospect, Dan Klein. Fan favorite LJ Hoes will return to the field for the Keys as well.
Being so close to Opening Day is exciting to those that are new here because of the excitement of being with a different team. Along with the five assistant staffers, three full-time staff members will be experiencing Opening Day at Harry Grove for the first time. It is always nice to have new blood in the office because it brings a lot to the table in terms of ideas, passion and work ethic. I have previously worked with two other organizations prior to my time here with the Keys and I am ecstatic to get things started to put on a show for the fans. We also will have 12 game day interns that will be working for college credit. Some of the students doing this are witnessing their first professional sports experience as an employee, which is also something to look forward to. Enthusiasm is always a characteristic these people bring to the table and make the game experience that much better for those in attendance.
There are plenty of great promotions to catch on-field this year, including the always popular Sheep Race along with the Flying Dog Hot Dog Toss that will feature a staff member in a hot dog costume launching ballpark franks into the stands. New on-field games will be on hand as well, including a remote control car race and a burger building contest.
I don’t want to give too much away but this year is looking to be another successful year of Keys baseball so make sure you come out to the show for some affordable, family fun!
Benjamin Hill from Milb.com previews opening week promotions throughout the Minor Leagues and “Save Your Keys” Night is one of the 10 promotional nights he mentions.
Want a great deal on Keys tickets? How about 2 field seats for the price of 1? Act on this DEAL fast because it ends tomorrow night!
The Frederick News Post’s Stan Goldberg gives an in-depth look about what to expect this season at Harry Grove Stadium. The article was published in the 72 Hours section in Thursday’s Frederick News Post.
Make Sure to become a fan of the Frederick Keys on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @FrederickKeys.