Today was an exciting day at the ballpark. They had a press conference to welcome the new Hoppers manager, Andy Haines. The picture on the left is him granting an interview after the press conference was over.
I don’t think I’ve ever been to a press conference before, so I was pretty excited to see how it would work. It was open to the public, so I decided to head over to the ballpark and check it out. I tweeted about it real-time over on @HoppersFan. The conference was scheduled for 10:00 and I showed up a few minutes before then. When I walked into the gift shop, where the conference was being held, I noticed that not many people had arrived. They had set up a small podium on a table, with a Greensboro Grasshoppers backdrop behind it. Sadly, the pictures I took of that were too blurry to include here. They had several rows of chairs set up for the audience. In the back of the room, they even had a little food table set up. I grabbed a danish, some fruit, and tasty cup of coffee.
Over the next few minutes, some more people wandered in and the room was pretty comfortably filled by the time they started the press conference. I don’t know the name of man who spoke first, but he welcomed everyone and gave Andy a short introduction. The Hoppers website has a nice story about Andy and other members of the field staff that has some good background information. When Andy stepped behind the podium, he appeared very relaxed and confident.
Andy made a brief statement, saying that he was excited and flattered to be part of the Grasshoppers organization. He immediately addressed the question on everyone’s mind: who’s going to be in the lineup? His answer is that the lineup is not set yet, but there are a lot of good prospects for Greensboro. He promised that the team will be an exciting team to watch.
After making his statement, Andy took questions from the floor. He talked about the relationships he already has with other members of his managing and coaching staff. He speculated about what players might return, noting that “it will be a dogfight in Spring Training” to secure spots throughout the Marlins organization. Someone asked what would be considered a success for the Grasshoppers vs. Marlins game, which elicited some chuckling from everyone in the room. Andy’s response was that we’re playing to win and that in baseball, anything can happen. He noted that one of his primary jobs as manager is to properly pace the players – to make sure they have appropriate amount of time off, etc. Someone asked him about the possibility of having two catchers and his response was that he’d love to have three, but doesn’t think the Marlins would let him. He said with three catchers, he’d be able to DH one of them.
At that point, the questions seemed to dwindle and they wrapped up the press conference. A couple of the reporters queued up to conduct some one-on-one interviews with Andy and I wondered around taking a few (blurry) pictures. My season ticket rep, Kate, came over and said hi. She pointed out that most of the people at the press conference that weren’t with the media were part of the Boosters organization. On my way out, Allison Moore (Director of Special Events & Hoppin’ Fun) introduced herself to me. She said that she had checked out this blog and that it was nice to have a fan’s perspective out there. Well, that’s what I’m doing – just putting one fan’s perspective out there.
The press conference was a lot of fun, but it made me even more excited for baseball season to start! Opening Day for the Hoppers is 40 days away.