Atlantic League celebrates final honors from 2017 season
(Denver, CO, Oct. 18, 2017) – The Atlantic League of Professional Baseball today announced its 2017 Post-Season Club Awards winners, including special recognitions for team accomplishments both on and off the field. Winners were selected through voting from league club managers, executives and media.
Sugar Land Skeeters President Jay Miller has been named the Joe Klein Executive of the Year. Miller, who was hired as the team’s president in December, 2015, oversaw a season in which the Skeeters welcome over 317,000 fans through the gates of Constellation Field. In addition, he and the organization made several outstanding contributions to the league and the community of Sugar Land, Texas. In the wake of Hurricane Harvey and it’s overwhelming impact on the Houston region, Jay display decisive leadership, re-scheduling Skeeters’ games, managing player and team family efforts and raising funds for Harvey victims. On the field, seven members of the defending Atlantic League champion Skeeters had their contracts purchased by outside organizations, including three by Major League clubs. The honor takes on a special meaning following the recent passing of Klein, who had served as the Atlantic League’s Executive Director since its inception in 1998. Klein and Miller previously worked together with the Texas Rangers in 1983.
The Skeeters have also garnered the Outstanding Club Community Service Award. The team served as a centerpiece of their county in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, which devastated the Houston area, including several parts of Sugar Land. The Skeeters opened the ballpark to residents that needed to evacuate the greater Houston area prior to being relocated to shelters, with approximately 300 residents staying there. In addition, the Skeeters Baseball Foundation, spearheaded by owners Bob and Marcie Zlotnik, matched fan donations during a four-game series in the wake of Hurricane Harvey for a total of $20,000 that was donated disaster relief. Dozens of volunteers were able to help work concession stands after many employees were displaced, and the Skeeters offered first responders and evacuees free tickets while collecting school supplies to help local schools affected by the storm. A blood drive was also hosted at Constellation Field to assist the Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center in the wake of the hurricane.
The Somerset Patriots were the recipients of both the Ken Shepard Award for Promotional Excellence and the Promotion of the Year Award. Among the many outstanding events, theme nights and giveaways held by the Patriots in 2017, the team also served as the hosts of the Atlantic League’s 20th Annual All-Star Game on July 12. A crowd of 8,175 fans were welcomed through the gates of TD Bank Ballpark to watch the Freedom Division defeat the Liberty Division 10-3. In addition, the team welcomed the largest crowd in Atlantic League postseason history when 8,131 fans attended Game Three of the Liberty Division Championship Series between the Patriots and Long Island Ducks. The team's use of their various Social Media platforms, video production, and highly successful mobile app helped the Patriots keep their fans engaged all year long.
The Long Island Ducks also received two accolades, including the Ray Cipperly Award for Groundskeeping Excellence and Mascot of the Year Award. Head Groundskeeper Cam Richardson was recognized for his outstanding job maintaining the field at Bethpage Ballpark in Central Islip, N.Y., which saw its sod completely replaced during the previous offseason. The playing surface remained excellent through a schedule that included 74 Ducks home games and outside events such as softball tournaments, high school baseball games, several amateur showcases, youth baseball camps and a 5K walk/run. Team mascot, QuackerJack, was honored for the second time in three seasons after receiving the league’s Mascot of the Year award in 2015. The seven-time “Best Long Island Mascot” did a terrific job in helping over 350,000 Ducks fans cheer on their team during the regular season and playoffs. He also made scores of community visits during the year, including pediatric units of local hospitals to hand out gifts to children and to schools on Long Island to spend time with lucky winners of the annual TD Bank “Take a Duck to Class” essay competition.
Finally, Clipper Magazine Stadium, the home of the Lancaster Barnstormers, was named the Atlantic League’s Ballpark of the Year for the second consecutive season. The ballpark debuted a brand new multi-million dollar scoreboard in left-center field and a new digital video board in right field. These replaced the original boards that had been in place since the team’s inaugural season of 2005. In addition to these major investments, the Barnstormers redecorated new public, group, and suite spaces and made considerable infrastructure investments throughout the ballpark.
To view all of this year's Post-Season Awards, please CLICK HERE.
About The Atlantic League of Professional Baseball (ALPB)
The Atlantic League has been a leader in professional baseball and a gateway to Major League Baseball since 1998. Over 38 million fans have attended Atlantic League games and more than 800 players and 50 managers and coaches have joined MLB organizations directly from the ALPB. The Atlantic League emphasizes winning baseball games, showcasing the talent of top-caliber players and offering affordable family entertainment to metropolitan markets serving nearly 15% of the US population.
For more information, please visit www.atlanticleague.com.