Myrtle Beach Pelicans general manager Scott Brown joined the team last month from Binghamton, N.Y., and has been working full-steam ahead for Thursday's opening day at BB&T Coastal Field. Here's a recent conversation regarding his thoughts heading into the 2010 season:
So you've only been in Myrtle Beach for a few weeks now. What's the experience been like for you?
Yeah, opening day will be exactly one month, so it's been very busy but also very upbeat. I love it. Everyone has been so friendly and welcoming. Like everything else I'm sure opening day will be a bit of a blur, but I'm looking forward to getting everything rolling and having a great season. But it's been a wonderful experience so far.
You've been in several different minor-league markets. What is unique about Myrtle Beach?
The tourism aspect is a big plus. In most markets all you have is the local component, and depending upon the size of the community that can be a great thing or it can be a big challenge. Here we have the best of both worlds - a large local population and the large influx of tourists, so that puts us in a great position to draw more people to the ballpark.
What has been the biggest challenge for you personally so far?
The biggest challenge for me is that I just don't know too many people in town yet. I was in Binghamton for five years so when anything went wrong or if we needed something, I instantly knew who to call. When you're new it's not as easy to pick up the phone and get something done when they don't know you from Adam. One of the things I love about my job is getting to know people, baseball fan or not, but it takes time. I plan to get out in the community and meet people in the future, but right now our focus is on opening day.
Have you been here long enough to pinpoint any changes you want to see made?
Not yet. For me almost the whole first season is going to be about evaluating how we're doing things and seeing how we can do them better. I hear great things in the community about the Pelicans so I feel good about our presence out there, but I've never been to a ball game in this ballpark so I'm still learning where the bathrooms are, things that are most important things to fans when they come to the ballpark. But I'm excited to see how it all comes together and then I'm sure I'll see some things we want to do differently.
What's your general philosophy on how you operate a club?
For me it's all about taking care of the fans. Fans come first, and that's not cliche. Without the fans, all this work we're doing doesn't mean anything. I want to make sure we're working to create a positive buzz in the community, so a lot of the things that happen at the ballpark are talked about the next day at the water cooler - people tell their friends, their family, their enemies, tell everybody. It's as much about entertainment as it is about baseball. Baseball is the focus of why people come, but a lot of people come to have a fun night out, so we want to make sure we have something for everyone. If we're not making them happy then we're not achieving our No. 1 goal.