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!!
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!
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.
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!
*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.
The recent home stand has just ended, so it’s time for the newest edition of Brown for the Count. Once again this is Kevin Brown, the special assistant with the Keys and I got you covered during the 2011 Keys season.
The July weather is scorching and the action at the Grove is even hotter. The home stand was a solid six game set against Potomac and Kinston, and it ran from Wednesday to Monday. This home stand saw presented fans with peanut free night,Fort Detrick night, bobbleheads, Salute to the Orioles, Faith night, and a special four o’clock game to wrap it all up. This was another big home stand and the Keys faithful continued to pack the Grove each night.
With it being the forth of July weekend and no home games for a week, the Keys staff got some much needed rest. Many of us went home for the holiday and others went on vacation. Now with a rested staff it was time to hit hard for the home stand. Wednesday night brought Potomac to town and it was peanut free night. The staff did our very best to clear the stadium of any peanut products or shells. It was our one night of the year where those fans who suffer from peanut allergies can come out to the stadium and there will be no threat to them and their allergy. We had several booths set up for groups that worked with allergies like the peanut one. It was a nice night and for one time this year all could come check out great baseball action with no fear of nuts.
Batting second on the home stand was FortDetrick night. This was a night where the people fromFort Detrick take over the Grove and get to partake in a pre game parade. Also the players wear special patriotic hats during the game. Then these hats are raffled off with the proceeds going to the charity Welcome Back Veterans. During the game we had several individuals selling raffle tickets both at a table on the concourse and through the seating bowl. We were able to sell a lot of tickets and during the game we called out ticket numbers and a select few were lucky enough to take home a signed hat after the game. The visitors fromFort Detrick got to see exciting Keys action and several people took home hats, and we raised money for veterans, a triple play combo that made for a riveting night.
After these two big week nights, it was time for the weekend and it was go big or go home. The Keys presented Jayson Werth bobblehead give away night. The 1st 1,000 fans would take home this one of a kind keepsake. The problem was that during the day it poured in Frederick and the grove was a big puddle. Then late in the afternoon the sun came out and chased the rain away and it was time to give out some bobbleheads. Despite the rain being around most of the day, we had a huge crowd Friday night and people were very happy when they received their bobbleheads. With this big crowd, the Keys did not disappoint. Oliver Drake threw a gem, Manny Machado went deep, and Sean Gleason tied a Keys record with his 24th save of the year. Then the perfect end to the night was a spectacular fireworks show. What started as a dreary day full of rain ended with a bang and the fans went home happy.
Saturday night brought a new team in to town in the form of the Kinston Indians. It was a special night in Frederick because it was Salute to the Orioles, the major league team that all Keys players hope to get to one day. The night contained former Oriole players, the Oriole Bird, and several videos that highlight great moments in Orioles history. The night started off big because former Orioles Al Bumbry and Garrett Stephenson threw out ceremonial first pitches, as did the Oriole Bird. Then for about an hour the two former players signed autographs and mingled with fans on the concourse. During the night the Oriole Bird was at the grove, doing his thing both on the dug out and in the stands. Also encompassed in the night was Phil and Arianna from 106.9 the Eagle, the special emcees for the night. Then Rentals Unlimited sponsored another wonderful fireworks display that capped off another loaded night for the Keys.
After four nights of thrills and amazing moments, we kept rolling with faith night on Sunday. We opened the gates at 3:30 for a special pre game concert. People were flooding the grove as we opened the gates to enjoy the fine music and have a good time amongst friends and family. After the concert, the performers and Keys staff broke down the stage quickly and got the field ready for the game. Then crowd that was already there for the concert plus people that came later for just the game got a treat because again we had fireworks and we gave out free chips as people left for the night. Sunday’s are always family fun days but this one had families, faith, music, and chips, what a night!
Finally we hit game six of the home stand and although it is Monday, the traditional start of a work week, it was the end of the home stand for us with four office days on the horizon. We welcomed fans out for a special four o’clock start time. The Keys got out to a fast start in the game and cruised to victory. The fans that endured the strong heat of the day game were delighted by a strong showing by the Keys. That wrapped up another crazy set of games here at the Grove.
Looking into my crystal ball, I see that the Keys are not home again till Friday July 22nd. The next home stand has more great promotions and events at the Grove. These include three nights of fireworks, going green, super heroes, Christmas Eve in July, Salute to the Stink Bug and Camp Day. It is sure to be a good time at the Grove, but until then check out the Keys on the radio each night and online on our web site, and Shake Your Keys. You can also listen to the Keys by going to www.wthu.org and clicking “Listen Live” in the upper right hand corner of the site.
Another awesome home stand ended on Tuesday night for us here at the Keys, and this home stand had big crowds and the Keys did not disappoint. To start off, it was officially released the day before our home stand started that Orioles top prospect Manny Machado would be promoted to Frederick and start the 2nd half of the season here with the Keys. The buzz caused by Machado has been very large and people are excited that he is making his way through Frederick on his road to the Orioles. Thursday night we opened the home stand and Machado was in our line up batting in the # 3 spot. The debut for a player is a crowning achievement and a player always wants to do well in that first game when everyone is watching. I was down in the seating bowl waiting for the inning to end and do a promotion on the dug out. I look out and Machado crushes a pitch to left field over the wall for his 1st Carolina League hit and homerun. Manny was not the only thing going on at the grove. We had the Principal Financial Dreams Tour at the stadium. They had a large set up on the concourse, and former Orioles Chris Hoiles was at the game as their special guest. As a kid growing up inBaltimore, Chris was one of the guys I admired and knew would come through in the clutch and it was nice to see him involved and at the Keys game. The large crowd that had came out for Machado’s debut was electric and even in a keys defeat the crowd went home excited over the future we have with Manny on our team and the fun time they had at the game.
Friday night brought in another large crowd and this time it was Fredneck night. Given that I am not from around here, this Fredneck idea was new to me but I had no problems dressing up for it and getting into the spirit of the night. The staff put on their best plaid shirts, t-shirts, and boots and welcomed in the crowd. We did a special on field promotion for Fredneck night with toilet seats being used as horseshoes. Then, the two lucky individuals competed against each other. It was a fun game and the crowd seemed interested in from start to finish. Friday nights are always big in Frederick, but this one was even bigger. A nice summer night with a post game fireworks show means a lot of families and a lot of children here at the Grove. Knowing we had this large crowd and we needed a rally in the 9th, several of the staff went to the dugouts and tried to pump the crowd with our rally video and music playing. I took it upon myself to take the Keys sign of the three lets go keys signs and work the crowd with my dance moves. The fans get into it and clap as I dance and make a fool out of myself. None of that matters though because it’s all in good fun. It’s all about getting the fans pumped for what may happen in the 9th that matters the most. I left the dugout to a large applause and many high fives. The crowd was excited and a majority stuck around for the fireworks show and again it was a great night at the Grove.
After two big nights, things kept going up. Saturday I was in the community at the Urbana Music Festival. A nice crowd of people, sunshine, and music made for a good afternoon. Then it happened, we had the largest crowd at the stadium since 2006. It was a beautiful June night and it was scout night. We had people everywhere in the stadium; it was to the point of standing room only. We had the boy scouts, the girl scouts, the scout leaders, the family of the scouts, and a lot of other people that came to spend their Saturday night with the Keys. The Keys staff did their best to give each person in attendance and a great experience. This included the many scouts who got to watch the game and then stay over night for a sleep over. All during the night I was at the table getting the parents to fill out waivers and as the night went on I could tell we were going to have a large group spending the night. It took a group effort to get the stadium emptied then set up for the sleep over, then get the scouts back in. Everyone was placed in an orderly fashion on the field, and then we aired Toy Story 3. At the end of the movie we turned the lights out and the scouts slept soundly on our field. It was not over for the staff as we needed people at the stadium all through the night. I worked my 2 to 3 am shift and then went home for some much needed sleep. The night ran smooth and the scouts had the time of their lives.
After the big three nights we just had, we still had three to go. Sunday night brought out the Heartly house and the stadium was purple for the night. Our players wore purple hats that were auctioned off during the game. The Heartly house was able to raise a lot of money and awareness and the crowd was treated to another night of fireworks. To wrap up the home stand we had back to back weeknight home games. On Monday night Oliver Drake thrilled the crowd with a complete game shut out, and all kids got to eat free as part of our Monday promotion. Finally Tuesday night was the end of a rocking home stand. To really send it off we had The King, Keyote, Frank Key, and the Hot Dog treat the crowd to a dug out dance party late in the game.
This home stand presented the Keys with some of the largest crowds of the year and we were able to deliver solid promotions and fun every night. The Keys hit the road over the next week and that means some office days for everyone here and then a much anticipated 4th of July weekend. Be sure to check back on Unlocking the Keys for more Brown for the Count and other interesting Keys articles and postings. For now I hope everyone enjoys the holiday and continue to Shake Your Keys.
In his Carolina League Debut, the Orioles’ #1 prospect, SS Manny Machado, went 1-for-4. His lone hit was a towering blast to left field in the 3rd inning. The Machado homer was the lone scored by the Keys on Thursday night as they fell to the Winston-Salem Dash, 2-1. The story of the night, however, was the impressive debut of the 18-year-old shortstop.
Check out the links below on Machado’s debut:
Did you Know? Manny Machado (3rd overall in 2010) became the highest drafted position to play for the Keys in franchise history. The highest drafted player ever to play for the Keys was RHP Ben McDonald (1st overall in 1989). McDonald pitched for Frederick in 1989.
Machado went 2-for-4 with a run scored in Tuesday’s South Atlantic League All-Star Game
The Baltimore Orioles’ 2010 First Round pick, SS Manny Machado, has been promoted to Frederick from Class-A Delmarva. In 38 games with the Shorebirds, Machado hit .276 with eight doubles, two triples, six home runs, and 24 RBIs.
Machado was named the Orioles’ Organizational Player of the Month for April after he hit .338 in 21 games with six doubles, two triples, four home runs, and 18 RBIs. The Miami, FLnative dislocated his knee cap on May 5th in Asheville, NC and returned to the Shorebirds’ lineup on June 5th. Despite missing 29 games due to injury, Machado was selected as the starting shortstop in the South Atlantic League All-Star game on June 21st.
Entering the 2011 season, Machado was named the top prospect in the Orioles organization by Baseball America. He was also rated as the best hitter for average as well as top defensive infielder in the Baltimore Orioles farm system.
Selected as the third-overall pick in last year’s First Year Player Draft, Machado becomes the highest drafted position player in Frederick Keys’ history. The only Keys player picked higher than Machado was right-handed pitcher, Ben McDonald. McDonald was the first-overall selection in the 1989 draft.
For those of you who haven’t seen what Paul Denillo (Creative Production Manager) has creatively managed for Keys fans in 2011, here is a look…
Haven’t heard of our new mascot, Frank Key? Well we introduced him to Downtown Frederick to get his name out there…
Find yourself getting to your seat closer to first pitch? Check out the 2011 Welcome To Harry Grove Stadium video, aired on the video board a half hour before the game
Which Adam Sandler movie do you prefer? Billy Madison or Happy Gilmore? See what the players think…
What about Kobe vs. LeBron?
Make sure to check back to see more great videos or feel free to check out our YouTube page by clicking here.
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.