Scott Brown has been to BB&T Coastal Field before.
On one of his three vacations to the Grand Strand, Brown stood in the parking lot one October and surveyed the stadium. He had the urge to walk into the executive offices, but his wife, Rebecca, didn't want work to permeate the trip.
His visit Tuesday was all business. Brown got to see the impressive facility for a Single-A franchise knowing he'll be spending countless days and nights there beginning March 8 as the Myrtle Beach Pelicans new general manager.
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"My wife prohibited me from stepping foot into the offices, so I've only seen the ballpark from the outside until today," Brown said. "I'm blown away with the ballpark. It's like a dream come true. The ballpark is where you work, but it's where you live most of the time. To come out and see the grass, with no snow on the grass . . . it gets your blood pumping and gets you going."
Brown, 44, who has been the general manager of the Double-A Binghamton (N.Y.) Mets for the past five years after eight years as the team's assistant GM, was introduced as Myrtle Beach's GM by Pelicans principal owner Chuck Greenberg at a press conference Tuesday at the Hampton Inn at Broadway at the Beach
Greenberg said the Greenberg Sports Group, which owns and operates the Pelicans and State College (Pa.) Spikes, received more than 300 resumes for the position.
"Scott is someone we've had our eye on for some time," Greenberg said. "We extended ourselves to him, and though we had four or five candidates who all would have been a great fit as the general manager of the Pelicans, Scott was the guy we thought stood out. He's the one we wanted and we're thrilled to have gotten him."
Brown made an impression on Greenberg in 2002 after Greenberg bought the Altoona Curve of the Eastern league - he sold it in 2008 - and Brown was the assistant GM in Binghamton. "He was someone who just stood out in league meetings and at other baseball events that this was someone who was a real coming star," Greenberg said. "And as he became the general manager in Binghamton and we saw the job he did there, all of those beliefs really shone through. He did a fantastic job there."
Brown's five-year tenure as Binghamton GM featured both the club's second-largest season attendance in 2007 and the second-best five-year composite attendance in team history, trailing only the club's initial five seasons in the mid-1990s. In 2005, he was named both the Eastern League Executive of the Year and the New York Mets Minor League Executive of the Year, an honor he also earned in 2007.
"He's an incredibly enthusiastic, energetic, outgoing personality," Greenberg said. "He's a very warm, caring person, and those personal qualities reflect themselves in how he is as a professional. His staff adores him and he's always been very popular in the community. He likes to get out and meet people and touch people, which is something our organization has always been about. So in every way he's got those qualities as a person and professional that we think will make him a perfect fit here."
Brown is replacing North Johnson, who left the Pelicans in January after three years to become GM of the Atlanta Braves' Triple-A affiliate in Gwinnett, Ga. The chance to work with Greenberg Sports Group impacted his decision to move from a Double-A franchise to Single-A. "Inside I'm kind of having a Fat Tuesday moment," Brown said. "I'm excited, I'm partying, I'm dancing. This franchise is considered one of the best in all of the country in professional baseball. When you're in this world you want to be an impact player, and the Greenberg Sports Group is a group of impact players."
The Pelicans have set franchise aggregate and average attendance records in the past two seasons, and sold a record average of 3,610 tickets per game in 2009, which Brown said is more than Binghamton. "You can do just as much good damage at the Single-A level as you can at the Double-A level and the Triple-A level, and there are a lot of towns that are kind of miscast if you were to look at the way classifications are going," Brown said.
Brown said it wasn't difficult to convince his family, which includes four daughters between the ages of 6 and 13, to move to the beach. "Chuck's very persuasive, but I think when I talked to my wife . . . I said, 'Do you want to move to Myrtle Beach?' " Brown said. "Before I got the word 'beach' out she said, 'Absolutely, let's go.' "
Brown is looking forward to the move for similar reasons. "I'm tired after so many years in baseball of not being able to take a vacation in the summertime," he said. "So I figured I would take my job to the vacation spot so I could be vacationing while I'm working."
Considering opening day is only a month away from his first scheduled day with the Pelicans, Brown is getting a late start to the season in Myrtle Beach. "I'm jumping on a train that is already headed full speed for opening day," Brown said. "It's going to be a total sprint to the finish."
The Pelicans' staff has already arranged the promotional schedule for the 2010 season, and every game will have a promotional activity or giveaway. The full promotional schedule will be announced today. "Looking at this promotional schedule compared to any others I've seen in the past, this is by far the best I've ever seen," Brown said. "There is something different to do at every game."
Brown's experience in organizational baseball began almost at birth. His father, Robert W. Brown, spent 35 years as the Baltimore Orioles' public relations director and was inducted into the Orioles Hall of Fame in a ceremony with Cal Ripken Jr. Brown was given jobs at the ballpark since his youth, and one of his earliest responsibilities was sitting on boxes of merchandise on days of giveaway promotions at Memorial Stadium in Baltimore to keep the items from being stolen.
"Every summer all I did was go to the ballpark day-in, day-out, morning, noon and night," he said. "I didn't know it but I was training for my career."