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Hickory Crawdads Wins in Three Categories in SAL During MiLB Awards Show

The Hickory Crawdads were named the South Atlantic League winners in three categories during Minor League Baseball’s annual award show. Each of the league winners was a finalist for the national awards as well, which were presented at the Winter Meetings in San Diego.

The ‘Dads won in two South Atlantic League Golden Bobblehead categories. The Night of Horrible Promotions was awarded the Best Promotion/Event while the Hickory Couch Potatoes won in the Best Theme Night Collection or Specialty Jersey category. The team won in both categories last year as well for their Salute to Troops Night and their Couch Potatoes identity.

Group Sales Executive and on-field host Emily Mitchell was named the Future Star for the South Atlantic League.

The Night of Horrible Promotions, held in July, proved to be one of the most popular dates of the season and earned the team the Golden Bobblehead honors for the league. As fans arrived, the ambiance was set with a playlist curated to have a blend of what are widely considered to be some of the worst songs of all-time and the kid-sung versions of popular songs.

The Hickory “Crawdaddies,” who were introduced only using first names throughout the night, took on the “Greek” Braves, who, in turn, were referred to by plays on their names (ex: Cal Conley became California Coney Island).

For pre-game entertainment, fans were treated to a surprise firework show that was simply a video of a single firework played on the videoboard. The Crawdads also hosted a game of musical chairs in which a staff member ran away with the chairs, forcing the children to chase her down to be able to sit in the chairs when the music stopped. Another staff member also did an interpretive dance with traffic wands to “Firework”.

Once the game got started, the promotions only got worse. The on-field games kicked off with kids doing a race, but the host interrupted every few seconds to say red light and tampered with the results. Another game was a trash changing contest to see who could remove a full bag and replace it with a new one the fastest. The hat shuffle contest came to an abrupt end as the videoboard mysteriously went blank just seconds before fans could see if they were right on which hat the ball was under. Another fan was put to the test with a finish the lyrics contest that featured not only the ABC’s (which the adult contestant answered incorrectly), but an instrumental banjo song with no actual lyrics. Of course, no baseball game would be complete without a remixed version of Take Me Out to the Ballgame.

The Couch Potatoes were named the best theme night in the South Atlantic League for the second time in as many years. The team took on the identity 2022 for a trio of July games. The identity pays tribute to the Hickory Metro area’s reputation as the furniture capital of the world and North Carolina’s status of being the leading sweet potato producer.

The games leaned heavily into the potato theme. The on-field contests included potato trivia, spud speed eating, potato peeling contests, hot potato, catch a potato, the potato spoon race, spud smash, potato pop, and build a potato burger. Couch Potato weekend was capped off with a chip bowl giveaway to the first 1,000 fans. The music for the evening also featured a blend of popular ballpark music and songs dedicated to potatoes.

Mitchell, who was named the SAL Future Star, joined the Crawdads in October of 2021 as a group sales executive. She has shined in the role, topping her personal goal for the season by 18% while accounting for 27% of the team’s total group sales revenue. Mitchell played a huge role in helping the group sales department record their highest revenue year in the team’s 30-year history, beating the previous high by 6%.

Mitchell’s enthusiasm and bright personality shine through, leading her to become the team’s on-field host during games while still managing her responsibilities in group sales. She was also a key member of helping to plan for and execute theme nights and other promotional activities at the ballpark.