If you find yourself strolling the concourse at LewisGale Field this season, you will undoubtedly cross paths with Todd Stephenson. Aside from masterminding tuxedo jerseys and tuxedo-jersey wearing gorillas, Stephenson serves as the Vice President and General Manager of the Salem Sox, a role he moved to in the fall of 2009, 10 and a half years after his career with the Red Sox organization began in Sarasota, Florida.
When he arrived in Salem, he told The Roanoke Times that his plan was to “see what works, see what doesn’t work, and do more of what works.” Splendidly simple, yet purposefully effective.
After wrapping up his duties as Master of Ceremonies at the Salem Red Sox Hot Stove Banquet on February 10, Todd joined me for a brief chat to recap the night and look ahead to the upcoming season. The audio link is above. Give a listen, and I bet you’ll laugh at least once or twice.
Odds are if you run into Todd on the concourse just after the seventh inning stretch, he’ll make you laugh then too.
Hard is it may be to believe as I sit in North Carolina on a rainy, chilly Thursday, the 2011 season begins six weeks from tomorrow. If you’re feeling limber, feel free to begin your anti-rain dance ritual now in the hope of 75-degree sunshine on April 8.
With spring training well underway, I hope to bring some of the Fort Myers flavor to this space in the next few weeks. I’ve got some players in mind that I’ll be talking to in the next few weeks to try to capture some of the spring training lifestyle. If there’s anyone in particular you would like to hear from, please send all e-mail requests to firstname.lastname@example.org.
See you at Salem Memorial Ballpark in 43 days,
When the Red Sox arrived in Salem in 2009, Boston dispatched Eppy. In 2010, with Eppy promoted to Minor League Catching Coordinator, our new manager was Bolesy. In the upcoming season, Salem will be steered by Crabby, the latest in the line of talented baseball staffers whose names conveniently form casual two-syllable monikers.
Just like Chad Epperson and Kevin Boles before him, Bruce Crabbe is thrilled for the opportunity to enter the Carolina League. His six-letter last name is simply pronounced “Crab,” just like the tasty shellfish. But around the batting cage, his misleading nickname–I’ve never seen Crabby crabby–is what you are most likely to hear.
Originally from Virginia, Crabbe begins his seventh year as a Red Sox minor league instructor, a tenure that has included roles as hitting coach, infield coordinator, and manager of the Lowell Spinners in 2006 and 2010.
Last week, Crabbe journeyed from his Orlando home to the Roanoke Valley for the Salem Red Sox Hot Stove Banquet, a great event that–along with Pitchers and Catchers reporting on Monday–kicked off the countdown to April 8, when the Carolina League season officially begins.
Before enjoying a delicious dinner and speaking to many dedicated fans, Crabbe indulged my interview request and shared some stories about his time in the Red Sox organization, what he aspires to do this season, and how he’ll spend the next month and a half leading up to April 8.
You can listen to my chat with “Crabby” right here: http://mlblogssalemsox.files.wordpress.com/2011/02/bruce20crabbe20pic1.jpgBruce%20Crabbe%20-%20HSB%202-10-11.mp3
That interview was recorded last Thursday night, when we were 57 days away from Opening Day. A week later, we are just 50 sunsets away from beginning the baseball marathon at Lewis-Gale Field.
Please feel free to shoot an e-mail my way with any comments, questions, musings, or philosophical theories leading up to the season. You can reach me at email@example.com
All the best from your trusty radio voice,
Can you find yourself?
(This picture is a poor quality blackberry shot, but that gallery is full of high class photography.)
With just eight weeks between now and the start of the 2011 season, expect this blog to begin booming with content over the next 56 days, leading up to Opening Day at Lewis-Gale Field on April 8!
Last night at the Salem Civic Center, a couple relay-throws away from the ballpark, fans gathered to eat, chat, donate, and win. Live and silent auctions raised money for a wonderful cause (The West End Center). And everyone in attendance got the opportunity to see and hear from the man who hit more homers than any other American Leaguer in the 1980s.
Dwight Evans, who spent the 1971 season with the Winston-Salem Red Sox in the Carolina League, spoke eloquently about his prolific career and many of the experiences that have shaped his 43 years in baseball. Today, Evans serves as a Player Development Consultant, helping to mentor the next generation of up-and-comers.
Before Evans stepped in front of everyone at the Civic Center, he generously obliged my request for a brief chat. Here’s a link to the interview: http://mlblogssalemsox.files.wordpress.com/2011/02/dwight20evans.jpgDwight%20Evans%20-%20HSB%202-10-11.mp3
At the end of the night, Evans could not have been kinder, hanging around to sign autographs and share stories with appreciative fans.