MYRTLE BEACH — Myrtle Beach Pelicans general manager Scott Brown knows what it takes to make baseball an enjoyable experience.
Brown was recognized as the 2012 Calvin Fallwell Executive of the Year by the Carolina League on Monday, validation for all the hard work he has done for the Pelicans this past season.
“In essence it’s nice when peers in your league recognize that your team is trying to do things the right way and take care of the fans, the players and all others the best we can,” Brown said. “It’s confirmation of all the hard work everyone does at the ballpark. It’s a group effort and there’s a lot of hours – but it’s a labor of love.
“Without a dedicated staff, both full-time and game day – we wouldn’t even be in the conversation for this award. Also thanks to the fans, if they don’t show up then none of us look like were doing any good of a job.”
Over the 67 dates, an average of 3,288 spectators cheered on the Texas Rangers’ affiliate to its second consecutive playoff appearance totaling 220,273. The Pelicans ranked fifth out of 30 Class-A advanced minor league teams in attendance average and sold out 11 times in a season. Of the 11 games when the Pelicans sold out of seats, five dates reached the admissions cap of 6,599.
Brown was astounded when he found out the news that he would be the recipient of the honor.
“You’re always surprised when you win an award,” he said. “If you think you’re doing it better than everyone else, you’re delusional.”
The five full capacity crowds represent the most in any single season in franchise history and the home average attendance reached its highest level in four seasons and increased over the year prior for the first time since 2009.
“Attendance is only one factor,” Brown said. “Other factors have to do with how we treat visiting teams when they come into Myrtle Beach. The fans make it a great atmosphere for both clubs to play in and all we try to do is foster good stewardship of America’s pasttime.”
Brown joined the Pelicans in March of 2010. Before moving to Myrtle Beach, he spent five years as the GM of the Binghamton (N.Y.) Mets, for whom he was honored as the Eastern League’s version of the same award in 2005. Dating back to high school, 2012 marked the 31st season of working in baseball for the 47-year-old at the major and minor league levels. Previous stops included the Baltimore Orioles, St. Lucie Mets, New York Mets and the Binghamton Mets.
The team worked with the City of Myrtle Beach and Horry County in overseeing a complete field reconstruction project including updated draining, irrigation, subsurface and the installation of a new turf surface that decreased the number of rainouts.
A new stadium naming rights partnership with TicketReturn began before Opening Day. Significant upgrades in the concessions operation, including the grand opening of the Ring of Fire Grille, provided the fans with even higher quality and more food options at games.
Finally, the team supervised the replacement of the original 21st Avenue North marquee sign replacing it with a full-color, animated Daktronics message center.
The executive of the year award is the second significant postseason accolade the Pelicans have earned in 2012.
Myrtle Beach Sports Turf Manager Corey Russell led the effort that resulted in the Carolina League’s Field of the Year Award, and Brown believes both of these honors tie together the effort of the Pelicans staff.
“These are two of the biggest awards that any organization can garner – and to earn them both in the same season – really makes the year special,” he said.
Contact MAX McKINNON at 444-1767.