Minor League staffing changes don’t necessarily make for the most compelling content, but in recent weeks there have been some notable proclamations which are deserving of wider dissemination.
In Lakewood, it was recently announced that the BlueClaws will be losing the only general manager they’ve ever known. Geoff Brown had served in that role since November of 1999 (17 months before the team played their first game), but he’ll soon be taking a new position within the Rutgers University athletic department.
For those who like their news in simplified visual form:
Per the team:
“This is a bittersweet day for me,” said Brown. “For 13 years, this has been my home and my second family. Leaving Lakewood and the BlueClaws was certainly a difficult decision, but the opportunity to work for Tim Pernetti [Rutgers Director of Intercollegiate Athletics] in this new position as they join the Big Ten was something that I could not pass up.”
Under Brown’s stewardship, the BlueClaws have led the South Atlantic League in attendance in all 12 years of their existence. He has won the league’s General Manager of the Year Award on four occasions and the BlueClaws have received the league’s Club Merit Award for excellence in overall operations three times.
And — bam! — right before this post went to “press” the news broke that the BlueClaws have named Brown’s replacement: former assistant GM Brandon Marano. A relative BlueClaws newbie — he was hired “only” seven months before the team played its first game — Marano is a graduate of Rutgers. See how everything comes full circle?
Welcome to the GM clique, Mr. Marano. You will be receiving a key to the executive washroom shortly.
And speaking of the BlueClaws, you may recall that I featured their “Restore the Shore” initiative in a recent post. Well, now that initiative has a notable new component in the form of “Sandy Ovations.”
The BlueClaws, at all 70 home games in 2013, will honor one company, individual, or charitable organization that contributed to Hurricane Sandy relief efforts, the team announced, unveiling a new 70 Sandy Ovations program.
Organizations will be randomly selected among those that apply or are nominated by others.
“There are so many people that deserve an ovation for their efforts in the aftermath of Sandy, and recognizing them will make for an ovation-worthy moment at every one of our games this year,” said Brown.
Each honoree will receive tickets to that night’s BlueClaws game, a ceremonial first pitch for one representative, recognition on the field between innings, a table on the concourse, a photo with a BlueClaws player, and an interview on the BlueClaws radio broadcast.
But getting back to the topic at hand — Geoff isn’t the only GM with the last name of Brown to be vacating his or her position. Three hours before the BlueClaws made their announcement, the Quad Cities River Bandits let loose with the unfortunate news that Stefanie Brown would be stepping down from her position due to “urgent family responsibilities.”
2012 marked Brown’s fifth year with the River Bandits and first as GM, and ownership made it clear that she will have a role with the team as long as she desires one:
“Stefanie Brown is an incredibly valuable part of the River Bandits and the Quad Cities community, and one of my favorite people,” said team owner Dave Heller. “She is immensely talented and will have as much of a role with the River Bandits organization as she wants, for as long as she wants.”
Meanwhile, the River Bandits are in the midst of searching for Brown’s replacement.
Finally, the Hagerstown Suns have made a unique hire in the form of ex-city mayor Robert Bruchey. The politician, who had been in support of building a new downtown stadium for the team while he was in office, will serve as the Suns’ director of sales, marketing and community affairs. You can read more in this Herald-Mail article, which also includes this file photo of hizzoner.
It goes without saying that Bruchey is an anomalous hire in the world of Minor League Baseball. Given his municipal connections and prior team support, it seems like he might be a beneficial guy to have in the front office…
And on that needlessly elliptical note, I’ll sign off for today. But since this was a pretty sober-minded, let me try to briefly rectify that by posting this awesome action shot that the Trenton Thunder shared on Facebook last month (along with the caption of “Yeah, this kid nailed it!”)
Karate Kid is officially the second-coolest youngster to ever attend a Thunder game. For those who may have forgotten, the number one spot is forever held down by the Confident Kid:
It’s early Friday afternoon here at Ben’s Biz Blog HQ — time to finish the work week off strong and head into the weekend with verve, moxie, pep, and, above all, swagger.
Those who need a boost in any of the above categories will soon get it, as I am proud to announce the triumphant return of one of 2010’s most inspiring characters: The Confident Kid of Trenton, NJ!
The above photo, featuring the Confident Kid and a trio of Philadelphia Eagles cheerleaders, was taken during the Trenton Thunder’s “NFL Kickoff Night” promotion. I thought it was the only such photo that existed, but I was wrong.
This week a proactive reader alerted me to the fact that additional photos of the Confident Kid do in fact exist, taken by Suzette Lucas of mercerspace.com.
(the above three photos: Suzette Lucas, mercermag.com)
In other news, the offseason continues unabated. A new Minoring in Business column went up today, an in-depth look at how teams operate while no baseball is being played. It includes the perspective of GMs, stadium ops, food and beverage, broadcasters, and more. It also answers the question of what I do in the offseason, which is ask other people what they are doing in theirs.
And, of course, Halloween’s rapid encroachment upon the national consciousness is being reflected in the Minor Leagues. In a bit of distressing news, the Connecticut Tigers announced yesterday that three Tigers scarecrows had been stolen from the front yard of the nearby Leffingwell House Museum.
From the press release:
The Tigers are asking that the scarecrows (and more importantly the jerseys and pants) be returned with no questions asked. They can be dropped off at Dodd Stadium or at the Leffingwell House Museum. “This really is a shame, talent wise these were some of the best scarecrows we have seen in years,” said GM Andrew Weber. “They could also really fill-out a uniform.”
In further New York-Penn League Halloween News (second only to “chilean miners” as a Google search term), the Williamsport Crosscutters are offering fans the chance to go trick-or-treating with the inimitable Boomer! (apparently, the exclamation mark is now part of Boomer!’s name, making him the mascot equivalent of the Roots’ ?uestlove).
[Boomer!’s] costume won’t be a mystery as he stated, “I really wanted to dress up as Lady Gaga, but I’ve been told I won’t really need a costume so I guess I’m just going as BOOMER!.”
Jeez…In addition to the exclamation mark, it looks like Boomer!’s name needs to be written in bold-face as well. Now that’s confidence.