In addition to spotting Jim Leyland almost every time walk through the lobby, the Curve contingent have covered a lot of ground in the first two full days of the Baseball Winter Meetings. Below are a few of the highlights from late Monday and a majority of Tuesday:
As mentioned yesterday, we had the chance to talk with Larry Broadway, the Pirates’ new farm director at the major league club’s Monday night reception for its minor league affiliates. The former Harrisburg Senators’ first baseman (2003-05) has not been back to Blair County Ballpark since his playing days but was reminiscing fondly about his experiences in Altoona playing against the Curve. He mentioned how he enjoyed the facility, the town, and the tremendous fan support we’ve been fortunate to have over the years. Broadway also discussed playing against the Brad Eldred-led Curve in 2004-05 when the legendary Altoona slugger socked 30 home runs in 60 games and collected 50 RBI in one month (August 2004). While the damage “Big Country” inflicted upon Broadway’s Harrisburg teams were not pleasant memories, it was clear the latter had great respect for Eldred’s prolific power display. Broadway is looking forward to his regular visits to Altoona in the years ahead in his new role.
I bumped into new Cubs’ manager and former Curve skipper Dale Sveum in the lobby late Monday and chatted him up for a few minutes. He’s really looking forward to the challenge of guiding the Northside Nine and was eager to put the finishing touches on his coaching staff – which he expected to do as soon as Tuesday. One of the men the Cubs interviewed for a position on his staff was his former pitching coach in Altoona, Jeff Andrews. “Andy”, who handled those duties last season for the Rangers’ Double-A affiliate in Corpus Christi, was a finalist for the position which instead went to former Brewers’ pitcher and Sveum’s one-time fellow coach in Milwaukee, Chris Bosio. Despite not getting the job, Andrews impressed Cubs officials to the point where a future position in their organization would not be surprising. Another positive note for Sveum landing the Cubs’ gig instead of going to the Red Sox is that he’ll be able to commute from his home to Chicago’s spring training facility in suburban Phoenix.
The Curve contingent hit the Baseball Trade Show in full force on Tuesday. Assistant General Manager Matt Hoover was eyeing up some new giveaway concepts and talking with the national entertainment acts that will help fill our promotional schedule in 2012. Chief Operating Officer David Lozinak was busy placing merchandise orders and checking out some other opportunities to improve concessions and operations at the ballpark. Meanwhile, owners Bob Lozinak and Sal Baglieri were checking out a fascinating new system that will change the way people enjoy their favorite brew at BCB.
Other than Leyland, the Curve crew did spot several more baseball celebrities on Monday night and Tuesday including: former Yankees’ manager and current MLB adviser Joe Torre, Reds’ manager Dusty Baker, new Marlins’ skipper Ozzie Guillen, former Pirates’ GM and current Reds’ assistant GM Cam Bonifay, Rays’ manager Joe Maddon, and former Curve pitching coach and current Tigers’ scout Bruce Tanner. Speaking of Tanner he was standing nearly back-to-back with Pete Vuckovich. “Vuck”, the Johnstown native and 1982 American League Cy Young winner, is now in baseball operations with the Seattle Mariners. We’ll see both Tanner and Vuckovich scouting at Curve games again in the upcoming season.