The climate was a little different from spring training in Arizona for the Akron Aeros during their workout at Canal Park this morning.
Akron Aeros owner Ken Babby says he's not expecting the cold weather to impact the season opener.
"We're expecting 50 degree weather and sunny skies on Thursday for opening day," said Babby. "So the baseball gods have been good to us and we're really looking forward to it warming up."
The team made their way back to Akron from spring training a few days ago.
Babby says he's focused on the total experience for fans with new features at Canal Park, which includes a new high definition video board - the largest video board in Double-A baseball.
"For us, our experience is ultimately when our fans come in," said Babby. "...from the time they come in from the gates and get out of their car, try our food items and get close to the action."
There's still a few loose ends to tie up before the big game, but Babby says everything is on track for opening day.
"Ultimately, at the end of the day, one person can't do this on their own. We have a phenomenal front office staff that's just completely dedicated towards making this a great place to be this summer and that really starts on Thursday."
Click here to find the full season schedule for the Akron Aeros.
New Akron Aeros owner Ken Babby says with less than a month to go before opening day at Canal park the Aeros are planning to make the trip to the game more affordable for area families, including concession and ticket prices.
Babby tells AkronNewsNow "We've talked about how our fans will always be able to get in with a $5 or $9 ticket. You know there's not another opportunity in professional sports to get that kid of access. You're seeing the Indians of the future."
Babby says Canal Park will also feature $2 hot dogs and other affordable food choices. He says the emphasis will be on making it an experience for the fans that they'll want to repeat with return visits to see the Aeros play.
" Our focus has been very dedicated towards fans' experience, so every touch point along the way that a fan experiences Canal Park," says Babby.
The Akron Aeros Tuesday announced their promotional calendar for the 2013 season. The schedule features promotions during all 71 home games at Canal Park and includes premium fan giveaways, weekly theme nights, celebrity appearances, and the always-popular fireworks shows every Friday all season and every Saturday beginning in June. The 2013 Opening Day is Thursday, April 4, at 6:35 p.m. at Canal Park.
Love baseball? Need a job? The Akron Aeros are going to be hosting a two-day job fair at Canal Park next week to fill part-time as well as game day positions.
The job fair will take place Feb 20 and 21 at Canal Park between 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Employment opportunities with the Aeros include ticket takers, ushers, concessions staff, team shop staff, and customer service attendants.
In a release from the team, Aeros’ General Manager Jim Pfander says there's an excitement about this year's job fair.
“We are more excited about this year’s job fair than ever before. Not only will the applicants feel the buzz and energy around the team in anticipation of the season, but we will be able to help put some great Akron residents to work,” he said.
Applicants should enter Canal Park through the administrative office entrance on South Main Street. in downtown Akron.
Applications are also available online on the team's website.
Akron mayor Don Plusquellic has become a part of baseball lore in his hometown...a nodding part.
The Akron Aeros gave out mayoral bobbleheads to the first 1,000 who attended Sunday's final home game of the regular season at Canal Park.
But a number of folks who live outside Akron had a little trouble figuring out what suit-wearing figure was represented by the bobblehead.
"Who is that?", AkronNewsNow asked Aeros fan Llewe'sha Perry, who lives in Ravenna..
Her first guess? "Dick Goddard," the veteran WJW-TV "Fox 8 News" meteorologist.
But Perry's daughter helped out, and chimed in with the right answer.
"The mayor of Akron," both eventually said, correctly.
Corine Valentine of Brewster doesn't know much about Mayor Plusquellic, but was OK with the idea...even having a bit of fun with it.
"I think it's different to have a mayor bobblehead," Valentine chuckled, "and I'll proudly display it on my stand at home," she said with a chuckle.
There were visitors at the game from as far away as Belgium. And one out-of-towner wasn't entirely sure who was being honored, but she liked the idea - in general.
"I honestly have no opinion, we're not from here", one woman tells AkronNewsNow, "I do think it's neat that he did it...or she...whoever it is." (We're not sure she had actually looked at the bobblehead at that point.)
As for city residents we talked to, most just didn't have an opinion of their mayor in bobblehead form.
Mayor Plusquellic was the "people's choice" to be immortalized with a bobblehead by the fans earlier this year, as a part of an Akron Aeros promotion.
6/6/12: AUDIO UPDATE Mayor Bobblehead?
Akron Aeros pitcher Giovanni Soto has received another honor for his play this past week. The lefty was named Tuesday as the Indians Minor League Player of the Week for July 15-22.
The 21-year old Puerto Rican was 1-1 with an ERA of 1.29 in two starts including a no hitter on July 15 against Altoona.
Soto was obtained from Detroit two years ago in the Jhonny Peralta deal.
The Cleveland Indians today announced Akron LHP GIOVANNI SOTO has been named the Indians Minor League Player of the Week for July 15-22. The Player of the Week award recognizes an individual performance from within the Indians Player Development System and is each Tuesday through the end of the minor league baseball season.
Soto, 21, went 1-1 with a 1.29ERA (14.0IP, 6H, 3R/2ER, 6BB, 7K) in 2 starts, including a 9.0-inning no-hitter on July 15 vs. Altoona in which he allowed one unearned run, 3 walks with 6 strikeouts in a 2-1 Akron win. It was just the second no-hitter in Akron Aeros franchise history. On July 20th, Soto was a tough luck loser, tossing 5.0 innings, allowing 6 hits, 3 runs (2ER), 3 walks with a strikeout in a 3-2 loss to Richmond. On the season Soto is 6-7 with a 3.72 ERA (106.1IP, 95H, 52R/44ER, 42BB, 88K) in 19 starts. He currently is tied for 1st in the Eastern League in complete games (2) and shutouts (1).
Soto was acquired from the Detroit Tigers on July 29, 2010 in exchange for INF Jhonny Peralta. The Carolina, Puerto Rico native, was selected by Detroit in the 21st round of the 2009 June Draft after originally being selected in the 46th round of the 2008 June Draft by the Philadelphia Phillies (did not to sign). In 2010, he led the Midwest League in shutouts (2), was T-1st in complete games (2), 4th in ERA (2.93) and was named to the Midwest League All-Star team for Class-A Lake County.
Following his historic no-hitter on Sunday, Akron Aeros southpaw Giovanni Soto has been named the Eastern League Pitcher of the Week.
Taking questions from the media Monday afternoon at Canal Park, Soto said through his translator, Aeros coach Rouglas Odor that Sunday's milestone was a thrill he'll never forget.
"He's very excited about it, " said Odor. "Every time he takes the mound, he's always looking to deliver a good performance, but he never thought it would be as good as Sunday."
The 21-year old's dominant pitching performance was just the second time in franchise history that an Aeros pitcher has thrown a 9-inning no hitter since Jeanmar Gomez accomplished the feat in 2009.
Akron Aeros Pitcher Giovanni Soto by Akron NewsNow
Odor said after his no-no Soto was responding to the numerous congratulations he received through social media and phone calls.
"There were many people congratulating him on Facebook, so he spent a lot of time after the game typing back to his friends and family members."
Soto struck out six batters and walked three while giving up one unearned run in Sunday's 2-1 victory over the Altoona Curve.
The Carolina,Puerto Rico native is now 6-6 on the year with a 3.7 ERA in 18 starts with the Aeros this season.
Originally selected by the Detroit Tigers in 2009, Soto was acquired by the Cleveland Indians in the Jhonny Peralta trade in 2010.
The Aeros will continue their homestand with the Harrisburg Senators at Canal Park through Wednesday.
Note: Soto is speaking through Aeros coach Rouglas Odor in the audio clip.
University of Akron mens' basketball coach Keith Dambrot and members of the 2012 MAC-Regular Season Championship squad will recieve a special honor during Friday's (today's) Akron Aeros game.
Before the Aeros take on the Altoona Curve at 7:05, the coach and the team will be honored by the team for winning the first ever MAC regular-season title in school history.
Dambrot will throw out the first pitch and be wearing his # 3 Zips baseball jersey, a throwback to his days on the diamond for the Blue and Gold.
You can catch some of your favorite Zips hoopsters in the concourse of Canal Park signing autographs for the first pair of innings.
AKRON, Ohio – University of Akron head men’s basketball coach Keith Dambrot and members of the 2012 Mid-American Conference Regular Season Championship squad will be honored prior to the Akron Aeros baseball game on Friday, June 8.
Dambrot and the Zips will be honored by the Aeros at approximately 6:45 p.m. ET. Dambrot will be decked out in a No. 3 Zips baseball jersey reminiscent of his days as a member of the Akron baseball team.
Prior to the start of the Aeros game against the Altoona Curve, which is set to begin at 7:05 p.m., Dambrot will throw out the ceremonial first pitch.
Several Akron student-athletes will be on-hand on the concourse to sign autographs for the first couple of innings. A fireworks show is also scheduled to follow the contest.
For more information on the Akron Aeros or to purchase tickets for Friday’s game, visit akronaeros.com.
Akron closed out the 2011-12 season with a 22-12 record (13-3 MAC) and captured the first MAC regular season title in program history. The Zips advanced to their sixth-straight MAC title game – a conference record and second-longest active streak in the nation – before falling 64-63 to Ohio. Akron appeared in its fifth NIT, third under head coach Keith Dambrot, falling 76-74 to Northwestern in the first round.
The Zips are one of 17 teams nationally that have won at least 20 games in each of the past seven seasons. The other 16 teams to do so are Brigham Young, Butler, Duke, Florida, Gonzaga, Kansas, Louisville, Marquette, North Carolina, Ohio State, Pittsburgh, San Diego State, Syracuse, Texas, Utah State and Xavier.
The votes are in and Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic is the winner!
He didn't win what he's used to winning - elected office. This time he wins the honor of being commemorated in the form of a bobblehead as part of an Akron Aeros promotion.
AkronNewsNow told you four months ago about the team's quest for input about which member of the community should be immortalized. The long-serving mayor got the nod.
"The people seemed to have a good response when we asked who they wanted and they seemed to be interested in doing a Mayor Don bobblehead, so we're just trying to appease them," said Aeros Director of Corporate Sales and Promotions Calvin Funkhouser.
"It's supposed to be fun and so I guess I'll enjoy it and be sure to get enough for my six grandchildren," Plusquellic said. "I was a little surprised that they were going to do this for non-athletes."
As of now, there is no finished prototype for anyone to see. Funkhouser says he has seen an unpainted mold that needs some slight modifications. The image used in this story is not intended to be a true replication - it's just something our graphics department came up with.
Funkhouser says he hopes the promotion gets some national attention because it is different. Sports teams tend to go with sports figures for their bobblehead promotions, so using a politician is not typical.
"That's always a concern," said Funkhouser, who adds that the mayor is not running for office this year and he's been a part of the community - a leader in the community - for more than two decades, so the bobblehead won't be seen as a political statement.
The first 1,000 fans attending the game on Sunday, August 19th will get their own Plusquellic bobblehead.
Aaron Coleman contributed to this report.
Previous coverage: Mayor Bobblehead?
The Akron Aeros are gearing up for the 16th year at Canal Park. Tickets went on sale today.
"With the economy the way it is, money is tight for a lot of people and they can't afford those season tickets, but you can pick up a mini-plan with as few as six tickets for $51, which is still a good savings off the box office price," said Director of Corporate Sales and Promotions Calvin Funkhouser.
The mini-plans can include as many as 20 tickets.
Funkhouser says the popular fireworks shows that take place after every Friday night home game will be expanded this year to include Saturday nights, starting in June.
You can purchase tickets at the box office, the team shop or online at www.akronaeros.com
How would you like a Bobblehead of Chrissie Hynde, Judith Resnick or even Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic?
It's not uncommon for sports teams to commission "bobbleheads" of team members for promotional purposes, but the Akron Aeros are putting a twist on the idea.
The team is soliciting nominations of people who mean something to the Akron community, one of whom will be immortalized as a Bobblehead. The team collected several dozen nominations on its Facebook page.
Corporate Sales and Promotions Director Calvin Funkhouser says he was impressed with the variety of nominations received so far.
"If we can get it down to, say, three or four potentials, we'd probably go back to letting the fans vote," said Funkhouser.
Funkhouser agreed that selecting the first person is a tough choice.
"It's one of those things where you just kind of have to go with it and take the leap," said Funkhouser. "You're never going to please everyone, but I think there will be plenty of people who no matter who we pick will be happy."
A number of people think Devo (or just Mark Mothersbaugh), Thurman Munson, Keith Dambrot, or the Black Keys (with one fan suggesting a concert to coincide) would be good choices.
Also receiving votes: Marge from The Peanut Shoppe, Akron Police Chief Jim Nice, the "Quaker Oats dude" and Beacon Journal Reporter Phil Trexler.
The first Facebook fan to offer a suggestion turned it around and offered a simple response: Not LeBron!
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