Friday, January 30, 2009

Rays Notes

Montgomery BiscuitsIf you are in the Montgomery (Biscuits) area, tickets to the inaugural MAX Capital City Classic baseball game featuring the Auburn Tigers and the Alabama Crimson Tide will go on sale Monday. Until now, tickets have only been available in groups of 20 or more or within season ticket packages.

The inaugural game, presented by MAX, Your Community Credit Union will take place on Tuesday, March 10, 2009 at 6:30 p.m. at Riverwalk Stadium in downtown Montgomery. The game marks the first time the schools will meet in a regular-season, non-conference game since they met in a seven-year series at Paterson Field. The teams played from 1990-1996 in front of crowds over 7,000 in the capital city.

“Fans have been inquiring about purchasing tickets since the announcement of the game in 2008 and we are excited that they will have their opportunity now,” said Biscuits President/GM Greg Rauch. “This is going to be a special game and we expect to be close to capacity. We only have a limited number of tickets and this is going to be an event that Tiger and Tide fans in Montgomery won’t want to miss.”

Individual tickets for the game start at $15 for lawn seating, $17 for Box seating, $19 for Super Box seating and $21 for Executive Club seating. A complete seating diagram is available when placing an order. The Box Office will be open at 10:00 a.m. Monday morning and will be open daily Monday-Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Fans can also call the Biscuits office at 334-323-2255 or visit to purchase tickets online.

A reminder, tryouts to sing the National Anthem during the Charlotte Stone Crabs inaugural season and Tampa Bay Rays 2009 spring training are tomorrow, Saturday, January 31st, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Registration does not start until 9 a.m., and the tryouts will take place on a first-come, first-served basis until 12 p.m. Participants can park in front of the stadium and follow the signs through the front gate and up the ramp to the registration table inside the seating bowl at Charlotte Sports Park. Individual vocalists, choirs, groups and instrumentalists of all ages are all allowed to participate. They must sing or play a live, acapella version of “The Star Spangled Banner” in its entirety inside the stadium to be eligible to perform. More information.

Another singing note, on Sunday, February 15th the Bowling Green Hot Rods will have auditions for National Anthem performers and a public address announcer. Auditions will be held at the Capitol Theater, located on Fountain Square in downtown Bowling Green, from 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM. More audition information. On the public address announcer: "All PA hopefuls must be at least 21 years old to audition and be available for 70 Hot Rods home games. Potential PA announcers will be asked to read a sponsored promotion, present a potential starting line-up, and introduce a Hot Rods’ player to home plate. Performers will be judged on voice strength, presence, and energy level. Selection of an announcer will also be based on availability for 70 Hot Rods games."

Benjamin Hill's article at MiLB about making the transition from professional baseball player to a Minor League front office includes a profile of Hudson Valley's Joe Ausanio: "One veteran of both worlds is Joe Ausanio, who is in his 11th season in the Hudson Valley Renegades front office after spending 10 as a player. Like Raggio, Ausanio also made it to the Majors, appearing in 41 games with the Yankees over the 1994 and '95 seasons. His last season was 1997, when he appeared in three games with Triple-A Colorado Springs.

"After I retired, I was contacted by a local TV station to do Renegades games as a color commentator," said Ausanio, a Hudson Valley native. "I did about a dozen games and I really liked the way the team operated. So one day, I gave them a call. ... I was looking to get back into baseball on the front office side. I wanted to learn that aspect because I already knew the playing side. They didn't have anything at the time, but one day they gave me a call and asked if I knew anything about food. I didn't but said I was willing to learn."

The Renegades hired Ausanio in 1999 as director of food services. He also serves as director of sales for the short-season club."

Bill Chastain at talks about the Rays growing payroll: "But Tampa Bay's estimated $60 million payroll for the coming season -- though paltry in comparison to what the estimated payrolls of the Boston Red Sox ($135 million) and New York Yankees ($205 million) will be in 2009 -- is a major step for the franchise and a testament to the organization's commitment to winning.

Consider that the Rays' 2009 payroll is nearly 2 1/2 times greater than the '07 Opening Day payroll ($24 million) and that becomes even more evident. Tampa Bay had its lowest payroll in 2003 at $19.63 million, and the team's high came in '00, when it was at $64,407,910."

One other interesting note from the article: "Tampa Bay certainly responded on the field when the fans came out to watch it play in 2008, posting a 21-2 mark when more than 30,000 showed."

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