Longest Blog Post Ever…

Front Office Updates

Today is exactly one month until Opening Night. The RedHawks will host the Memphis Redbirds April 5 at 7:05 p.m. Houston Astros Spring Training games are underway down in Kissimmee, Fla., and the Astros are undefeated (2-0) at the time of this post.

If you say “March madness,” you probably think about the sport with the big orange ball and two peach baskets which is played on wood. That’s actually incorrect. “March madness” is terminology for Minor League Baseball front offices and their rush to get ready for Opening Night. March is normally the busiest month in the calendar, with all loose ends on the business, ticket and broadcast fronts all needing to be tied up before the team arrives from Florida.

On the business side, the biggest addition yet is the partnership with Professional Sports Catering and the complete renovation of the food and beverage infrastructure. More details about this will come out over the next few weeks. Also, standby for another major announcement involving the ballpark coming soon.

In tickets, nothing but success so far: Opening Night will be a sellout crowd. There are also a couple of other dates that are already close to a sellout. We are expecting to double the amount of sellout games from a year ago. The ticket folks have introduced a second Seven-Game Season Ticket package, as the first was overwhelmingly popular last season. The club section is sold out for the season for the second consecutive season (over 540 seats). The new Legends Lounge section is being modeled in time for Opening Night. RedHawks Field at Bricktown is again THE place to be in OKC in the spring and summer.

The sales floor is a busy place anytime, but especially in March. The RedHawks have 17 full-time employees in the ticket department, more people than most Minor League offices have in their entire operation. Quality employees = unsurpassed customer service.

On the broadcast front, we are working on “RedHawks Radio” imaging and commercial schedules as we speak. I am already interviewing folks for pre-game feature stories for the season. New equipment is being ordered. Our new broadcast and media relations assistant, someone you will become quite familiar with once we get going, has been hired and will start in a couple of weeks. (As most might already know, 2011 Broadcast and Media Relations assistant Darren Headrick is now the broadcaster for the East Carolina University baseball team, and will be the new “Voice of the Carolina Mudcats” as the team moves to the Carolina League in 2012. Good thing he likes Eastern North Carolina barbeque.)

We are getting out and speaking to businesses and groups in the community and around the state, and the response has been resoundingly positive. The momentum is building. The mystique is returning. As we like to say in the office, we are “taking flight.”

You need to be a part of this great scene at the ballpark before someone else takes your spot. Season, partial-season, seven-game and group tickets are available now through the RedHawks front office at (405) 218-1000 or by visiting www.okcredhawks.com.

Majestic Roofing High School Baseball Series

One of the early indications that baseball is near is the announcement of the Majestic Roofing High School Baseball Series schedule, which begins Friday, March 9. (To the best of my knowledge, Majestic Roofing’s support of this event does not include building a dome over RedHawks Field.) Please visit Majestic Roofing at www.majesticroofingoklahoma.com. Good people.

The release is scheduled for later Monday, but here is a sneak preview of the games:

  • Fri. March 9 – Shidler vs. Mulhall-Orlando – 4:00 p.m.
  • Fri. March 9 – Elgin vs. Wister – 7:00 p.m.
  • Sat. March 10 – Cashion vs. Crescent – 2:00 p.m.
  • Sat. March 10 – Destiny Christian vs.Calumet – 5:00 p.m.
  • Tues. March 13 – Geary vs. Hobart – 7:00 p.m.
  • Thurs. March 15 – Enid vs. Pauls Valley – 4:00 p.m.
  • Thurs. March 15 – Putnam City North vs.Yukon – 7:00 p.m.
  • Fri. March 16 – Anadarko vs.Clinton – 4:00 p.m.
  • Fri. March 16 – Timberlake vs. Pioneer – 7:00 p.m.
  • Sat. March 17 – Davenport vs. Stroud – 11:00 a.m.
  • Sat. March 17 – Tulsa Edison vs. Beggs – 2:00 p.m.
  • Sat. March 17 – Union City vs. Moss – 5:00 p.m.
  • Tues. March 20 – Catoosa vs. Lone Grove – 7:00 p.m.
  • Thurs. March 22 – Washington vs. Tushka – 7:00 p.m.
  • Sat. March 24 – El Reno vs. Midwest City – 5:00 p.m.
  • Tues. March 27 – Tuttle vs. Comanche – 4:00 p.m.
  • Thurs. March 29 – Chandler vs. Bethel – 7:00 p.m.
  • Fri. March 30 – Marlow vs. Davis – 7:00 p.m.
  • Sat. March 31 – Purcell vs. Lindsay – 5:00 p.m.

The RedHawks will also host the OSSAA Fall Ball State Championship on October 4. Look for the official press release online later today.

Anthem Auditions Booked

The Oklahoman/Oklahoma City RedHawks National Anthem auditions are booked solid for this Saturday. All 200 pre-registered slots have been filled, but a standby line will be available at Penn Square Mall on the morning of the auditions. The auditions are scheduled from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. For those in the standby line, it will be on a first-come, first-serve basis, and your audition is not guaranteed. GET THERE EARLY. If registered auditions go along quicker than anticipated, or someone fails to show up, the next in the standby line will be called upon to perform. In addition, judges from around the community have been booked for different shifts, including writers from The Oklahoman, representatives from Clear Channel OKC, the OKC City Council and representatives from local talent agencies. No pressure, but you’re being judged… 200+ auditions for only 72 home games!

Media Visit at RedHawks Field Monday Morning

In a preview of the events coming up this week, Fox 25 morning reporter Christal Bennett visited RedHawks Field at Bricktown this morning. This will be the first of many visits by the Fox Morning Crew, and the RedHawks certainly appreciate their coverage.

There’s something special about watching the sunrise at the ballpark, though I have not quite figured it out what that special thing is yet. When the rooster is late to the festivities, then you know it is early. The early hour was a small price to pay for some very good television today. Here’s the proof:

Christal Bennett and I discussing one month until Opening Night, Majestic Roofing High School Baseball Series and The Oklahoman/Oklahoma City RedHawks National Anthem Auditions.

Christal Bennett (L) and Madison Rund (R). Madison sang the National Anthem at a game last year, and belted it out on television again today. Really, really strong.

Christal calling the bullpen. If someone answers, then we're all in trouble.

Sunrise at RedHawks Field at Bricktown.

New RedHawks Team Store Online

Autographed jerseys from the 2011 RedHawks are available for purchase today, as the new RedHawks online team store launched earlier this morning. Visit http://redhawks.milbstore.com to get the latest apparel for the 2012 season.

Sad Anniversary

Enough baseball for a second. John Belushi died today in 1982. He was 33 years old. I was just over three months old. Life is precious. Enjoy your time with people, it could be taken away in an instant.

An original Saturday Night Live cast member, Belushi set a standard for the next generation of comedians with his timelessly hilarious characters and parodies. He is still a fixture in Minor League Baseball bus movie selections with Animal House and Blues Brothers.

John Belushi as "Bluto" in Animal House. "They took the bar!" Classic.

So Long, Don

One of the greats in Minor League Baseball passed away last night when Don Mincher died in Huntsville, Alabama after a lengthy illness. Mincher played parts of 13 Major League seasons (1960-72) as a first baseman with the Washington Senators, Minnesota Twins, California Angels, Seattle Pilots, Oakland Athletics and Texas Rangers and was a two-time American League All-Star (1967, 1969). In the big leagues, he was a career .249 hitter with 200 home runs and 643 RBI.

Mincher was a broadcaster, general manager and later owner of his hometown Huntsville Stars of the Double-A Southern League. Mincher was President and GM of the Stars from 1985 to 2001, and led the ownership group beginning in 1994. Mincher sold his share of the Stars and was named full-time President of the Southern League prior to the 2001 season, serving through October of 2011. He was then named President-Emeritus. Mincher was also named “King of Baseball” by Minor League Baseball in 2010.

Don Mincher, former Southern League President, died Sunday night after a lengthy illness.

Don Mincher is survived by his wife, three children and six grandchildren. Funeral arrangements are pending.

Don was a really pleasant man, sounded as country as a turnip green, and would do anything for anyone with ties to the Southern League. He never said no to an interview request, though his hearing was fading over his last few years. Whether the players in the Southern League knew it or not, he cared so much for their well-being and worked hard to ensure they were taken care of and treated the right way. Same to the people in each front office in the circuit.

Baseball lost a great ambassador and a great man in Don Mincher.

Have a great week,

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