Spring, Snow, Jobs and Anthem
I know you’re thinking to yourself, “Self, J.P.’s blog has been going out on Fridays, not on Monday. What is the deal?” Well, we’re all about unsurpassed customer service at the RedHawks, and that includes this blog. I have been updating this on Friday afternoon about 5:00 p.m., but not many are sitting at a computer at that time.
You will see updates on Mondays from now on, and certainly more often once Spring Training gets hot. Let me know what you would like to see or discuss by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter: @okcredhawksjp. I apologize in advance for the non-baseball tweets about the Grammys. Follow on Twitter at your own risk.
Pitchers and Catchers
The best four words in sports: “pitchers and catchers report.” I’m now told it is not “Alabama Football National Champions,” but that’s a close second. Either way, Houston Astros pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training in Kissimmee, Fla. on February 19, less than a week from today. The full squad reports on February 25, with the first Spring Training game on March 3 against the Washington Nationals in Kissimmee.
Two teams have already welcomed pitchers and catchers to Spring Training destinations in Arizona. Oakland and Seattle pitchers, catchers and injured players reported yesterday, February 12, with their full squads reporting for duty on February 17, this Friday. Why the early start? The Athletics and Mariners play a two-game series in Tokyo, Japan March 28 and 29.
Last year, the Astros played an exhibition game against the “RedHawks” in Oklahoma City before heading to Houston for preseason exhibition games. Many of the players on the “Astros” squad for that game ended up on the RedHawks opening day roster a week later. This season the schedule at the end of Spring Training is a few days shorter. This season the Astros will play that Minor League exhibition against the Double-A affiliate in Corpus Christi, Texas on Monday, April 2, with Minor League Opening Night on Thursday April 5. The Astros open the season on Friday, April 6.
By the end of the exhibition in Corpus Christi, we should have a good idea of the Opening Night roster for Oklahoma City. Last year, we had no idea after the exhibition because of the week between that game and Opening Night, and the Astros season started before Oklahoma City. As we move along in Spring Training, I will preview some of Houston’s position battles and how that might change Oklahoma City’s roster.
To that end, the biggest news from last week was that Brett Wallace, the 2011 Opening Day first baseman for Houston who spent August with OKC, will compete with Jimmy Paredes and Chris Johnson for third base time in Houston.
For more on Wallace at third base, read Brian McTaggart’s story from MLB.com: http://houston.astros.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20120208&content_id=26613584&vkey=news_hou&c_id=hou, or Zachary Levine’s report from the Houston Chronicle: http://blog.chron.com/ultimateastros/2012/02/08/astros-give-wallace-a-shot-at-third-base-his-original-position/.
Snowfall in OKC
The first significant snow event of the winter occured last night in Oklahoma City. The metro area saw anywhere between one and three inches of snow, while the western portion of the state received between three and six inches. In rural parts of the state, this is a major issue because of the lack of equipment to clear thoroughfares, many of which are dirt roads and way out in the country.
City roads, downtown at least, seem to be in good shape as the temperature is already just above freezing. With highs in the 40s today, the snow should melt in a hurry. Maybe I could get a lunchtime staff snow ball fight approved. I’m not telling who I’m throwing at first, but there are numerous candidates…
By the way, Oklahoma weather is quite extreme. We have blizzards, then 70-degree weather a week later. In the summer there are 109-degree temperatures at game time and drought conditions, then tornadoes and severe storms a day later. It is constantly windy, and not just a gentle breeze, 30-40 mph winds. I lean into the wind when I walk now, not just to look cool. Nevermind the earthquakes. Swarms of killer, blood-sucking locusts and fireballs from Jupiter could be next.
Okay, maybe I’m overselling it, but you get the point. There is a reason that Channel 9’s Gary England is a legend.
RedHawks Job Fair
The RedHawks annual seasonal job fair started this past Friday and Saturday, bringing in dozens of applicants for a number of customer service positions at RedHawks Field at Bricktown. There are a few positions still available, including: servers, cooks, cashiers, stand managers, part-time catering managers, in-seat vendors, ushers, ticket takers, suite attendants and parking attendants, as well as retail and ticket office positions.
The final two days of the 2012 RedHawks Job Fair is this Friday and Saturday, February 17 and 18, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. each day. Enter through the glass doors near the RedHawks Sport Shop on the Mickey Mantle Drive side of the ballpark.
National Anthem Audition Spots Remain
The RedHawks and The Oklahoman are hosting National Anthem auditions on Saturday, March 10 from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. at Penn Square Mall. As of today, 142 have pre-registered for an audition spot, leaving 58 openings. Register online at www.okcredhawks.com. There will be a standby line on a first-come, first-serve basis, but standbys are not guaranteed an audition. The grand prize winner will sing the National Anthem on Opening Night, April 5 at RedHawks Field at Bricktown in front of what will be a sellout crowd. The audition times will be booked well before March 10. Bottom line: register online NOW if you want to be guaranteed an audition.
Happy Monday! Have a great week…