Winter Meetings Wrapup

SD DT

Our final full day in San Diego wasn’t without a full list of things to do.  I myself headed into the MiLB Media Relations session to start my day while other members of the staff hit the trade show for one final day of ordering and the like for 2015. Just a few blocks down from our hotel was the USS Midway Museum and we would be remiss if we didn’t get a chance to go snap a few photos of the most visited naval ship museum in the world. It was the longest serving American aircraft carrier of the 20th century, serving from 1945 until 1992. It opened as a museum in 2004. We didn’t have a chance to get inside the museum, however, after getting there 10 minutes before they let their last visitors in.

USS Midway - Sunset

Our final day in California also had us try one of these things called a California burrito. Three things: They’re huge; they’re delicious; they have french fries in them. This one was from the Azteca Taco Shop located just behind Petco Park.

CA Burrito

After lunch, we hit the Eastern League Meetings back at our hotel before some of the staff brokeoff to attend a meeting for teams that were planning for their 2015 All-Star Games. One of the best things about the Winter Meetings is everyone in MiLB’s willingness to network and share ideas to grow our sport. This All-Star meeting was another example as we, along with the West Michigan Whitecaps, were brought into as sounding boards for questions/comments/concerns for other teams around the country who will be hosting All-Star Games.

From there we headed over to the Job Fair for a round of interviews with a group of possible marketing assistant faces in 2015. After a long day, it was time to rest up to go to where the pets go (and people in this case) in Petco Park…Gala Park

After three full days of staring at Petco Park, the home of the San Diego Padres, we finally got to go inside the facility for the Winter Meetings Gala on Wednesday night. Opened in 2004, Petco Park is located right in downtown San Diego in what is called the Gaslamp District. During the holiday season, the park is converted into a “Holiday Wonderland” with thinks like reindeer, a 40′ Christmas Tree, spectacular lighting displays and even rides on polar express trains. This event, which is usually open to the public, was only open to the folks attending the Winter Meeting’s during the Gala. Reindeer in San Diego just seem…so out of place?

Reindeer PetcoWhile most of the staff was over at the Gala event, some of them headed over to San Diego State University to watch the nationally-ranked SDSU Men’s Basketball team take on Long Beach State at Viejas Arena. For those fans who have watched college basketball over the past few years and have noticed many of the student sections with giant heads of celebrities, mascots, etc. behind the basket (or our big heads that hang out the press box windows at PNG Field), well that originated at SDSU. Full Story here from Sports Illustrated: http://www.si.com/college-basketball/2013/02/27/big-heads

A tightly contested contest, the Aztecs prevailed, 60-59 on Wednesday night.

SDSU Basketball Game An eventful and productive trip had to come to an end at some point and we boarded our plane back to Pittsburgh at 6:30 a.m. from San Diego on Thursday morning. Much to our surprise, Pirates skipper Clint Hurdle was on our flights back to The Steel City and just in time as we’ve got Pirate Fest this weekend! Our Carmen Sandiego like week will take us to PirateFest, which is now free, so if you’re in the area stop by and say hi!

I’ll leave you with this last sunset from a place near Tuna Harbor in San Diego (see what I did there. Tuna Harbor…Al Tuna…)

– Mike

Boats Sunset

 

 

Winter Meetings Diary: Day Two

Day two of the Baseball Winter Meetings was not as hectic as the first but still productive nonetheless with most of the staff devoting a good portion of their time today to the Trade Show, which is taking place at the neighboring Convention Center. Much has been written on this blog about what goes on at the trade show, which is the hub for activity for a majority of the teams in attendance. Need a company to make that Gerrit Cole Garden Gnome? Find one at the trade show. You want to do a custom Shark Tank Fish Tank Ornament? Yeah we can do that, come check out our booth at the trade show. What new Nike merch will there be in 2015? Check out the trade show. See a recurring theme?

Burger Dog

One thing that caught my eye while I was here was something known as Uncle John’s Burger Dog. I can honestly say I’ve never had a hamburger hot dog so obviously you need to try this foreign food item. Honestly, it kind of tasted like a regular hot dog but with the inner texture of a hamburger. Not really all too sure what to think about it actually. Watch the video here: http://instagram.com/p/wbu1UMDEDB/?modal=true for more of a breakdown from the gentlemen himself who was making the Burger Dogs.

Cake Balls

Another item that caught our fancy as more of a treat were these delicious cake balls. Take some cake batter…add a bunch of sprinkles…Boom instant delicious dessert.

A few of us also spent some time at the Trade Show doing a little final research to put the finishing touches on our promo calendar for 2015. You’ll see many giveaway items in 2015 as every Friday home game will be a giveaway night in Curve, Pa. We’ll have some bobbles (maybe even another gnome?) but there are definitely some new items that we’re gonna throw into the mix for 2015 that should strike your fancy.

I’ll wrap this post up with an entertaining story from the elevator here at the Hilton Bayfront. The elevators here are real quick going up, not so quick going down. I was in a hurry to get to a meeting with the folks at BAM (Baseball Advanced Media) about the new website improvements we’ll be seeing for the 2015 season. Thankfully, I walked out of my hotel room and someone had already pushed the down button to expedite the process.

In making a joke with the good sir about the elevator he asked what team I worked for and who we were affiliated with so I told him the Curve/Pirates. Upon hearing that info he said he used to play for the Pirates back in the early 90s and then we moved on to talk about the success of the current Buccos and the revival of baseball in Pittsburgh. At the end of the conversation, I caught his name. Bucco catcher Don Slaught. 16 year MLB vet with a career batting average of .283. I then proceeded to embarrass him with me recalling all of the old Don Slaught cards I used to have when I collected cards as a youth.

Until tomorrow,

– Mike

Winter Meetings Day One

Greetings from sunny Southern California! The annual Baseball Winter Meetings are in full swing over here on the west coast and they’ve returned to San Diego for the first time since 1985. Back then, Marty McFly was travelling back to 1955, the local sports teams (Padres and Chargers) were both playing at what was then known as Jack Murphy Stadium and the Curve weren’t even a franchise yet! So needless to say, it’s been awhile.

We arrived in what they call “America’s Finest City” Sunday afternoon and in the picture below you’ll see our hotel (which is on the right) is right across the street from Petco Park (the current home of the San Diego Padres). These meetings are a bit different than the ones last year down at the Swan & Dolphin resort at Disneyworld mainly because we are about a mile away from the MLB hotel, which is where most of the typical winter meetings coverage you see takes place. All of the ESPN, MLB Network and other stations studios are setup in the lower levels of their hotel so we aren’t as connected as last year (where we could just walk across the street to the MLB hotel at Disney). Still though, it’s a pleasant walk when the nighttime temps are in the 60s….

Panoramic Petco

We had lots of meetings yesterday that began at about 8:30 in the morning with the Bob Freitas seminar series. First out the gate for me was a look into what the MiLB Inside the Park App will look like in 2015 as we met with the folks from Brandiose (same company that did our logo rebrand in 2011). This offseason was big for them to get lots of input from teams that used it in 2014 after the app itself only launched days before the season began. With that input, they’ve added a few new features that should make it more interactive and easier for us to incorporate into our game entertainment coming up in 2015.

The rest of the morning was devoted to the Opening Session of the Winter Meetings with all the top brass from MiLB stepping to the podium to speak. A big part of the Opening Session is also the recognition of each of the League Executive of the Year awards, which our GM Rob Egan was the recipient of. Video on our IG page below…

Congratulations Rob! 2014 Eastern League Executive of the Year #wintermeetings

A video posted by Altoona Curve Baseball (@altoonacurve) on

Then the meeting was “interrupted” if you could call it that as the San Diego Chicken burst on to the scene to accept an award. He also decided to stay for the rest of the meeting and sat just a few rows in front of us. Very calmly, we might add…

Chicken Meeting

Lunch and then a few more meetings later led us to this beautiful sunset as we walked along the bayfront to the MLB hotel for our reception dinner with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Clint Hurdle was in attendance and looking sharp and we also got to catch up with our trainer from 2010 Bryan Housand, who has been the trainer for Triple-A Indy ever since 2011. This reception had FANTASTIC guacamole.

Sunset

A quick walk back towards our hotel led us to the Opening Night of the Trade Show, which we’ll have more on tomorrow. A little teaser…we tried a Hamburger Hot Dog…interesting to say the least.

That’s it for now and I’ll leave you with a photo of what is called the OB Christmas Tree. OB, or Ocean Beach, is an area located just beyond the airport and about 15 minutes from downtown. We missed the parade and tree lighting by a few days but this tree sits at the entrance to one of the many beaches here in San Diego. A little out of place in the warm weather but Christmas time nonetheless in Southern California. As always, follow along on facebook, twitter & instagram (@AltoonaCurve)

OB Xmas Tree

– Mike

 

All-Star Stop | The Fan Guide

Curve fans…All-Star Week is here! The Curve are wrapping up their series in Harrisburg today and then it’s on to the Eastern League All-Star Stop presented by UPMC Health Plan! We’ve got a ton of events coming up over the next two days so we thought we’d help break it down in this edition of the blog.

Tuesday-Events

Tuesday, July 15 | Gates Open: 5 p.m. 

We’ll kick off the events of the two-days with gates opening at 5 p.m. and that will be followed by Curve, Pa. Heroes Game presented by AMBUCS Altoona & The Altoona Mirror. The softball game between the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team and the Curve, Pa. Alumni will last approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes and be played like a traditional softball game.

Playing for the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team will be:
Leonard Anderson (US Air Force)
Saul Bosquez (US Army)
Tom Carlo (US Marines)
Justin Feagin (US Army)
Matias Ferreira (US Marines)
Mike Gallardo (US Army)
Lonnie Gaudet (US Army)
Chris Hutton (US Army)
Todd Reed (US Army)
Josh Wege (US Marines)
William Wilk (US Army)

Playing for the Curve, Pa. Alumni Team will be be:
LHP Mike Connolly
C Chris Snusz
IF Ray Navarrete
IF Jack Wilson
OF Kory DeHaan
OF Miles Durham
OF Adam Hyzdu
OF Tike Redman

POW/MIA Seat Dedication | Following Heroes Game
Between the Curve, Pa. Heroes Game and the Ghostman Games & Hitting Challenge, the Curve, in conjunction with the Altoona Mirror, will dedicate Seat 3 in Row 3 of Section 112 as a POW/MIA seat. That seat will remain vacant for every remaining Curve game as well as any non-game day event in honor of those who are unaccounted for. In addition to the seat, a plaque will be installed above section 112. This ceremony will be performed by the Rolling Thunder (American Legion Riders Post 12), who are based out of Somerville, N.J.

Ghostman Games & Hitting Challenge | Begins approximately 7:45 p.m.

Ghostman-Stuff

Since Peoples Natural Gas Field is larger than your normal ballpark, we’ve decided to have a little fun with our version of the Hitting Challenge. We will use the childhood “ghost runner” to act as a run multiplier during the Hitting Challenge portion of the Games.

For a complete listing of rules to the Ghostman Games & Hitting Challenge, click here

Part I
In the first part of the Ghostman Games, the Eastern and Western Divisions will participate in a series of five mini games to try to accumulate extra ghost runners for the second part of the competition. Three ghost runners will be available in each of the five competitions. The competitions will be winner take all (so one division will win three ghost runners, while the other will win none). The five mini games are:
- Bubble Gum Blowing (on the Rocky Gap Casino Resort Entertainment Deck): Members from each division will square off to see who can blow a bubble the fastest. Both teams will start at the same time and the next team member cannont begin to blow a bubble until their prior teammate has blown a bubble and stuck it on the table. First division to get through their players first wins.
Mascot Dodgeball (on the field behind home plate): Members of the East and West will get a chance to play some dodgeball and they’ll be trying to pick off Curve mascots. This will be a timed competition and the team that dispatches of all the mascots the quickest will win the ghost runners
- Disc Toss (centerfield): Think of this as a giant game of closest to the pin. We’ll have two members from each division throw three discs apiece from the second base bag. Whichever team’s discs are closest to the pin will take the ghost runners.
Accuracy Challenge (behind home plate in the Toyota Diamond Club): How accurate of an arm do the All-Stars have? We’ll see in this accuracy challenge. The team that throws the most bean bags through the target will win this competition.
Tennis Ball Shoot (on the field): This will involve six players from each division with three manning a slingshot and three set up in the outfield. The goal is to shoot a tennis ball using the slingshot to your teammates in the outfield. The team that catches the most balls on the fly will take the competition.

Part II
Once the mini games are complete, we’ll get to the home run hitters of the Eastern League. The Eastern and Western Division will each have three participants in the Hitting Challenge. The only types of hits allowed in the hitting challenge are doubles (anything to the warning track on the fly) and home runs. The East will hit first, followed by the West. The team with the most runs at the end of the competition will win $10 Chipotle Gift Cards for each member of the team. The player that drives in the most runs for his team (winning or losing team) will win the competition’s trophy.

Eastern Division Participants:
Peter O’Brien (Trenton) – 19 home runs
Gary Sanchez (Trenton) – 9 home runs
Kennys Vargas (New Britain) – 15 home runs

Western Division Participants:
Willy Garcia (Altoona ) – 12 home runs
Michael A. Taylor (Harrisburg) – 18 home runs
Christian Walker (Bowie) – 20 home runs

Ghostman Jersey Auction
The jerseys that will be worn during the Ghostman Games & Hitting Challenge will be auctioned off beginning when gates open on Tuesday. Every player and coach jersey is up for bid with all of the proceeds going to an Action Trackchair that will be gifted upon Jaime Heverly of Altoona. AMBUCS Altoona, in conjunction with the Altoona Curve, have selected Jaime to receive an Action Trackchair, which will give Jaime the chance to once again enjoy the outdoors with a chair equipped to handle all terrains.

Bidding for the jerseys will close in the middle of the first inning of the Ghostman Games. Fans that have a winning bid from the auction will be allowed to come down to the field to claim their jersey. This will happen after Jaime Heverly has been presented with her Action Trackchair, which will follow the Ghostman Games finale.

Wednesday-Events

Wednesday, July 16 | Gates at 4 p.m. 
All-Star Experience (Fanfest)

The All-Star Experience is your chance to meet the stars of the Eastern League All-Star Stop and you can do so in many different fashions and locations around the ballpark. While one division is taking batting practice, the other division will be rotating through the different stations throughout the ballpark.  The schedule will be as follows. For locations of specific players, please check the video-board in left-center field the day of the event.

4 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Eastern Division Batting Practice
Western Division FanFest
- Players from the Western Division will be spread out through the four stations and switch locations at 4:30 pm.

5:15 p.m. – 6:15 p.m.
Western Division Batting Practice
Eastern Division FanFest
- Players from the Eastern Division will be spread out through the four stations and switch locations at 5:45 p.m.

Player locations around the ballpark are as follows:

The Social Media Suite (4 players) | Location: Kids’ Zone Behind Ollie’s Cheap Seats
Get Social with the stars of the Eastern League All-Star Stop with our social media suite. Take photos with the All-Stars, tweet to your friends, post to Facebook. Do it all from the Social Media Suite

Rent-A-Center Gaming Lounge (2 players) | Location: Second Level Concourse behind home plate
Most of these guys will one day be in the show but today you can play a little MLB The Show with the Eastern League All-Stars! Hang out and play a few rounds of Home Run Derby on a pair of 50” TVs and PS4s

Mojo Pitching Cage (4 players) | Location: Above the US. Foods Picnic Pavilion
Test your arm strength and see how you compare to some of the best stars in the Eastern League at our Mojo Pitching Cage

Cornhole (2 players) | Location: Rocky Gap Casino Resort Entertainment Deck (Left Field)
Head out with a group of friends and play a game of cornhole or “bags” against the stars of the Eastern League All-Star Stop.

Autograph Zone (12 players) | Location: On-Field behind home plate
Get autographs from your favorite Eastern League All-Stars during the All-Star Experience

Those players who were in the autograph zone for the first 30 minutes of their fanfest block will disperse to the other four stations while the players that were at the other stations will all come to the autograph booth for the final 30 minutes of their fanfest block.

 All-Star Clash
7 p.m. 

The Eastern and Western Divisions will meet in the E.L. All-Star Clash presented by UPMC Health Plan. The game will be played to nine innings and will not end in a tie. If after nine innings the game is tied, we’ll go to a shootout, per say. Each division’s manager will pick three batters to compete in a impromptu Home Run Derby. It’ll work just like an NHL shootout in terms of scoring. The division with the most homers at the end of three batters will be declared the winner of the game. Should the game remained tied after the shootout, we’ll go to a sudden death version.

Postgame Fireworks 
Following All-Star Clash

 

The Rewind — Vol. 2 (May)

We’re nearly midway through June and the Curve are out on their longest trip of the year. While they’re gone, it gave us some time to dig back through all of the top plays from May and see which ones we liked most. We’ve got a pretty good collection here so watch the video below and vote for your Top Play from May (hey, that rhymed!). Was it Mel Rojas, Jr.’s walk-off single…Keon’s torrid month.. .or the Staff Sgt. who surprised his mom for her birthday by posing as our catcher.

The Rewind – Vol. 2 (May)

This Week in Tweets: May 26th – June 1st

This edition of Week in Tweets covers Memorial Day to the first day of June! This week we cover everything from honoring servicemen and women to Adam Hyzdu to stranded ships to a beautiful weekend of games here in Curve, PA.

We started with Memorial Day as we honored all of our veterans, service men, and women who sacrifice everything for our country.

We got a surprise update on one of our famous alumni… Adam Hyzdu. We are campaigning to get him to start Tweeting!

Another former Curve player has made it to the Show.

We then ran into trouble when we learned that our Marte Oven Mitt’s were stranded at sea. Luckily, a pot holder and voucher were given out as an “I.O.U.”

Diesel got in on the #SheetzTag.

You guys were killing it with the field pics this weekend.

We also got a treat on Saturday May 31st. Air Force Staff Sgt. George Frondek surprised his mom by dressing as the catcher as she threw out the first pitch for her 50th birthday! Welcome home Staff Sgt. Frondek!

We love our fans here in Curve, PA…

https://twitter.com/dwarnock23/status/473143519628902400

We agree with Holly.

And for our Tweet of the Week! It goes to Kayla who finally made it to Altoona for the entire weekend of games. We are glad she made it out and had a great time! Make sure to message us to claim your prize!

And as always, keep tweeting!

This Week in Tweets May 19-25

This Week in Tweets showcases a cheers to “Cheers,” school kids days, and ended with the team in Erie to take on the SeaWolves. As always make sure you read all the way to the end to see if your tweet is our weekly “Tweet of the Week” which would make you our winner!

We started the week celebrating the 21st anniversary of the last episode of “Cheers” with special beers, a double curve burger, mail carriers, and a couple of very special guests to have a beer with.

Then we had back to back School Kids days and one left with a nice souvenir!

We hope this guy got some Curve gear to go with his West Virginia and Bradenton gear.

AJ Morris continued his hot streak at home.

Willy Garcia iced the game for the Curve as they took the victory.

We announced a special ceremony that will happen between our Heroes Game and the Ghostman hitting challenge for day one the of the All-Star Stop. We will be dedicating one of our stadium chairs to all of the POW/MIA soldiers.

Shout out to our official photographers, Moments Photography, with this picture of Matt Curry.

We think this a great present.

Curry went deep in the top of the 9th to seal the first game against the SeaWolves.

And our weekly staple…

And for our “Tweet of the Week!” It goes to @blcartwright and his granddaughter Tamia! Please message us so that you can claim your prize!

And be sure to keep tweeting as your tweet may make you next week’s winner!

The Week in Tweets: May 12-18

It is that time of week again where we recap the previous week through your tweets.  This week including amazing plays, a garden gnome and an appearance of a clown.  Make sure to read all the way to the end to see if your tweet was this week’s “Tweet of the Week.”

We started the week on the 12th with an amazing play by our own Drew Maggi, which made MiLB’s Top Plays!

The Curve took game one against Binghamton thanks to three long balls from Ngoepe, Broxton, and of course a #StetsonBooooomb

Unfortunately, they dropped the next two games, only to return home to start a new series against the Flying Squirrels from Richmond.

There were some pretty good photogs in the seats this week…here’s one from when we were in Akron. Although, we’re not sure how to caption this. Thoughts?

We’re pretty sure that the Star Trekian teleporting is not available technology just yet but, hey, we tried to help her out.

We had a double birthday to celebrate and there was a debate on how they would celebrate…

People, not just baseball players, go wild for #chipotle. #truth

We teamed up with the Pirates at the Miracle League Field for a day of baseball camp.

FeDro rolled into town

And then we rolled out the Gerrit Cole Garden Gnome…

Capped the night off with another #StetsonBooooomb and some help from Alen Hanson to take the game 3-0

We just liked these fans.

It seems we had a few more friends for the Panera Bread Bagel Race on Sunday.

And for the tweet that everyone is hoping is theirs… The “Tweet of the Week” this week goes to Jay Fiore. We love his use of the Garden Gnome. Please message us on Twitter to claim your prize this week!

As always, keep tweeting!

Making the Cole Gnome

The first of many Pirates-themed giveaways in the Gerrit Cole Garden Gnome will be handed out to the first 1,500 fans today(Saturday) thanks to Peoples. We tried to honor some of recent and distant Curve players that have gone on to become stars with the Pittsburgh Pirates and Cole is the first in that series. We knew we wanted to do a Garden Gnome as a giveaway this season but weren’t sure which player we should do. So we thought, who on the Pirates has the best beard that played for us? It came down to Cole and we went from there.

Putting a giveaway together is not an easy process and we thought this year as we giveaway some of our items, we detail the behind-the-scenes process of how they come to be. So, here goes…

The Gerrit Cole Garden Gnome

Before you can begin on the giveaway you must give the folks something to work with. So, we started off with Gerrit’s headshot from when he was here with us back in 2012.

Cole-HS--Blog

That photo went over to the folks who sculpt up the first mock up, which came back, looking like this:

Cole-First-Mock-Blog

So off the bat we had some things to amend. Firstly, the 13 needed to be moved to the left abdomen, instead of the right. We also wanted his gnome beard to reflect his actual beard that he had at the end of last season (and now again this season) so we wanted them to move the beard up on to his face more. As you can see above, it hangs below in the first mock.

After relaying the changes, here’s what the second mock came back as

Cole-Secon-Mock-blog

All the changes were made, the logo was turned the right way on the cap and now it was on to painting this little guy…

Cole-First-Paint--FrontBLog

Cole-First-Paint-Back-Blog

As you can see from the first paint, the Curve on the black was a little tough to read…plus with our current uniform set we don’t have a black jersey so we elected to go with a white set of overalls.

Here was the gnome when it left the factory..

Cole-Factory

And here it is in Curve, Pa. waiting to be handed out to you today! The first 1,500 fans will get one tonight (Saturday, May 17) thanks to the folks at Peoples. We hope you enjoy the giveaway!

Cole-Here-Blog

This Week in Tweets: May 5- May 11

HELLO! It is that time again for another installment of This Week in Tweets. We have had quite an eventful week, so let’s recap it using some of your tweets! Make sure to read all the way to the end to see if your tweet was this week’s “Tweet of the Week”! Be sure to keep tweeting us (@AltoonaCurve)!

We start this week with our celebration of Cinco de Mayo, which featured some great deals!

AJ Morris was a force on the mound on Monday dropping his ERA to 1.11 in a Curve 6-1 victory over the Baysox.

Wandy Rodriguez made his second rehab start with Altoona on Tuesday, his first at People’s Natural Gas Field.

Although his start didn’t end the best, a good time was had by fans!

Wednesday brought our first Education Day!

It brought a lot of selfies along as well, here are some of our favorites.

The kids were in for a great game with a walk off base knock for Mel Rojas Jr.!

It seems we have a new prospect, Zack.

The Curve hit the road again and were headed right into Quackron where it seems we were to walk the plank.

Despite a brief power outage it didn’t stop the Curve’s bats, unfortunately, it didn’t stop the Ducks bats either.

With the team being on the road we still had some fun here in Curve, PA with Pints for Pets!

Sunday we finished with a Mother’s Day game in Akron.

Now for our beloved “Tweet of the Week!”

How could this not be our tweet of the week? Sixth inning selfie from across the world from Stetson’s brother. Thanks for your service.

We appreciate all of your tweets and we hope you keep it up!

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