Well hey, loyal CurveBall readers! My name is Tyler Maun, and, along with Mike, I’ll be bringing you Curve baseball all summer long on the radio and bothering you with mostly nonsensical ramblings here on the blog, Facebook, Twitter, and, let’s be honest, on the radio as well.
I moved to Curve, Pa. two weeks ago already (even though it feels like it was only about 15 minutes ago as I write this), and I have to say that I am loving my new surroundings. For the last three seasons, I was in the Carolina League with the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, and this year marks my first step up to Double-A. Slowly but surely, I’m learning my way around Altoona and the surrounding area, and Peoples Natural Gas Field is going to be an outstanding place to make a baseball home. I mean, a roller coaster behind the RF wall? It’s like something out of a dream I would have had as a kid. Minor League Baseball perfection.
Working in Myrtle Beach for the last three seasons, I’ve become well acquainted with central Pa. in a secondhand manner. Two of my best friends with the Pelicans are from or went to school in this area, and as I’m sure many of you know, the largest concentration of Pennsylvanians outside of Pennsylvania seems to be, for whatever reason, Myrtle Beach. As a Broncos fan, I never thought I’d live in a place with more Steelers bars. And welp…here I am. Through that, even though I had never been to Altoona until two weeks ago, I felt at least like I had been briefed on things here in a roundabout manner. Since I arrived, though, I’ve noticed even more awesome stuff about central Pa. than I anticipated. Let me share.
1.) Altoona weather appears to be Southern California weather: Ok, ok, ok, maybe this hasn’t been “seasonal” or “normal” recently, but seriously? 80s and perfect blue skies in mid-March? I can deal with that any day. The grass when I got to the ballpark two weeks ago looked like, you know, March grass anywhere north of the Mason-Dixon, but thanks to some sun, a little drizzle, and the work of new Curve head groundskeeper Ben Young and his staff, the playing surface is bordering on blindingly green today. If green can get to a shade of blinding, that is. Make St. Patrick envious green, let’s say. Popeye’s spinach green. That type of green. Dig it.
2.) Curve ticket staff members are symbiotic: Even though I think I’m the newest guy on staff here, there’s a few other faces that will be new to Curve fans once the 2012 season starts, too. Ticketing associates Cody Clifton and Steffan Langguth sit near me in the office and do their due diligence on a daily basis to try to have every seat filled at Peoples Natural Gas Field this year. Since I’ve been here, they’ve been booking picnics, group outings, birthday parties, season tickets, mini plans, flex books, and everything else imaginable. Also since I’ve been here, though, I’ve picked up on something else. Just this week alone, the Cody and Steffan wore matching outfits on two separate days. Now I’m not going to say they’ve been calling each other at night to plan the next day’s attire (although I guess we can’t rule it out). I’m just going to guess that the preseason ticket sales groove has gotten them on the same page, and we should all make sure to not mess it up. Like avoiding a pitcher in the dugout during a no-hitter. Don’t mess with the streak.
3.) Sheetz is everything I was told it was and didn’t believe: My Pa. friends at my last stop constantly raved about Sheetz to me. You’ve gotta try the sandwiches. You’ve gotta get the coffee. You should have your children there. You should see if you can rent a back room in one to live. All those sorts of things. In my own mind, I was thinking, “How good can the food at a convenience store be?” And then I tried it, and it was like being slapped across the face by a sandwich. I will never doubt again. I believe.
4.) Curve fans know their team: In the few times I’ve been able to go out around town and stop into a restaurant or a coffee shop and the topic comes up that I work for the Curve, I’ve been extraordinarily impressed by people’s reactions. This really is Altoona’s team. Fans have asked me about players who will be back this year and the state of the Pirates organization and what’s going to be new at the ballpark. It’s going to be a whole lot of fun getting to work with such an invested and passionate fanbase.
5.) I will spend way too much money at the Stockyard this year: Working in Minor League Baseball has turned an interest I had in baseball hats into a full-blown addiction. (Or “hobby.” But let’s call a spade a spade.) Thanks to former Curve intern (and my former MB coworker) Maggie Neil and Curve Director of Merchandise Claire Hoover, I arrived in Altoona already with one of our home rally caps as a birthday present last year. But then I got here. And realized that we had two more hats (road and alternate). And both of them are awesome. And I immediately purchased them.
And that’s before a lot of the new merchandise for this year got to the shop. Dang it.
On that same note, today our home rally cap got some love from The Score’s Getting Blanked blog north of the border. (That’s Canada for those in the know.) They heard about it through a new friend of the Curve, Craig Robinson (not the Oregon State basketball head coach…or the comedian/actor from The Office) who runs the phenomenal website Flip Flop Fly Ball and does amazing infographics like these to put our love of baseball in a visual form.
Two weeks until Opening Day, and today’s a big one for the front office. Bill Bettwy, our own resident artist and Flo Rida cover singer, is celebrating his birthday today. Reports from office sources pin his age somewhere between 25 and 39. Happy birthday, Bill!
So with that, thanks for letting me be a part of your summer and thanks for the warm welcome to Curve, Pa. We’ll be seeing a lot of each other for the next six months. Opening Day is just 13 days away. Can’t wait.