Front Office Friday: Welcoming our newest staff member, Ben
Baseball season is officially back! Two Major League teams opened the season in Australia, with the Los Angeles Dodgers sweeping a short two-game set from the Arizona Diamondbacks last weekend. Official Opening Day for the rest of the league comes Sunday through Tuesday, dependent upon which team you like.
Our season doesn’t begin for another few months – exactly 11 weeks from today! With some new faces in the front office and some familiar ones, we decided to introduce everybody to you in our new feature called Front Office Friday. We’ll be interviewing our front office staff with some interesting questions so that you, our fans, can get to know us on a more personal level.
We’ll start off with our newest full-time employee, Ben Whitehead. Ben joins us from one of our NYPL rivals, the Lowell Spinners. He interned in Lowell last summer and connected with the ’Cats at the Minor League Baseball Promo Seminar in Louisville, Ky. We hired Ben as an Account Executive in October and he made the trek from Oklahoma City – which happens to be the site of the 2014 Promo Seminar – where he lived the past five years.
Ben is part of a team with us that handles group sales, advertising and marketing efforts, as well as some media, promotional and production planning. He grew up in South Carolina, pitched for a Division II school (Erskine College) and finished out his academic career at Clemson University. He’s a baseball fanatic and is a 10-game mini-plan ticket holder with the Boston Red Sox. He and his wife, Kelly, are enjoying their time in Upstate New York and excited for what this summer and the baseball season will bring.
Let’s get to know Ben a little better…
Q) If you weren’t working for the ValleyCats, what would you be doing?
A) Either working for another team within Minor League Baseball or coaching baseball somewhere. I love this game and am making it my life goal to spread my passion to all who know me.
Q) Who is your favorite MLB team?
A) The 2013 World Champion Boston Red Sox!!!
Q) What is your favorite sport other than baseball and who is your favorite team in that sport?
A) Gotta be college football and my Clemson Tigers! The atmosphere on game day in Death Valley is unlike anything else!
Q) What are some of your hobbies?
A) I enjoy golfing and traveling. I usually plan my travel trips around a sporting event, so if I go somewhere, it’s usually for a game and then to visit the area. I’ve been to six of the 30 MLB parks and plan to visit all of them in the near future. I also recently started collecting mini baseball helmets, you know, the kind you get your ice cream in. So far, I have five (Houston Astros, Boston Red Sox, Pawtucket Red Sox, Lowell Spinners and a Fenway 100th Anniversary helmet).
Q) What’s your favorite genre of music?
A) That’s easy – Country! Nothin’ better than a George Strait song!
Q) What’s your favorite meal to eat?
A) My wife would tell you I like to eat ribs and ice cream – which is true! – but my favorite meal is fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans and mac ’n cheese.
Q) What’s your favorite pet or an ideal pet?
A) A dog. Most specifically, my five-year old puggle, Teddy Bear!
Q) What’s your favorite movie?
A) This is tough because I love sports movies. Baseball classics like Bull Durham, Major League, Angels in the Outfield and Little Big League are great. But I think my favorite sports movie is Miracle. Non-sports movie: The Shawshank Redemption.
Q) What’s been your favorite moment at “The Joe?”
A) Well, since I haven’t seen a game here yet, I would say stay tuned…
Q) If you could have one super power, what would it be?
A) To be able to make unlimited ice cream!!!
Q) What position would you play if you played for the ValleyCats?
A) Pitcher. I’d like to be the closer.
Q) What song would you choose for your walk-up music?
A) “Blow me away” by Breaking Benjamin
Q) What’s your favorite quote?
A) Another tough one … I always fall back on “Hope is a good thing; maybe the best of things. And no good thing ever dies.” –Andy Dufresne in The Shawshank Redemption
Q) Who is your all-time favorite baseball player?
A) All-time: Ted Williams. Player I’ve actually seen: Pedro Martinez.
Q) If you could have dinner with three people, living or dead, who would they be?
A) Jackie Robinson, Abraham Lincoln and my wife!
Q) If you won the lottery, what would you do with the money?
A) I would give a good portion of the money to charities and research groups, buy my mom her dream house on the beach, probably get a few nice things for myself and my wife, travel the country (with sporting events in mind) and the world, and make sure I have a enough saved up for my future kids.
If you see Ben around the Tri-City area, stop him and say hi! He loves striking up a good baseball conversation with folks and is anticipating another great summer at the ballpark!