PRESS RELEASE – The viability and growth of the Hot Rods can be traced back to several factors. Hot Rods games continue to be a family-friendly event, providing a night full of fun and affordable entertainment. A wide array of promotions, giveaways, and in-game contests guarantee something for everyone who attends a game.
A state-of-the-art ballpark continues to impress visitors, whether attending a Hot Rods game or one of many road races and community events the park hosts such as the Lifeskills Run for Autism.
Most importantly, the Hot Rods have kept their promise to be an active member of the Bowling Green and South Central Kentucky communities. In just two seasons, the team has already contributed more than $150,000 in cash, goods, and services to several charitable groups and local fundraisers. New projects in 2010 saw fundraisers for The Medical Center’s Hospitality House, Wounded Warrior Project, and flood-damaged parks in Warren County.
Enhanced projects saw further growth in 2010. For the second year in a row, the Hot Rods and Wendy’s worked together to raise money for local adoption services, an effort that has generated more than $20,000 in two years. High school baseball teams continued to play at Bowling Green Ballpark, raising money vital to sustaining athletic programs. And through the support of their fans and business partners, thousands more were raised to support Tickets for Kids, a program that provides tickets for area kids who normally couldn’t otherwise afford a night at the ballpark.
The Hot Rods also increased their efforts to inspire and motivate children in the area’s school systems. Through a dynamic partnership with Flora Templeton Stuart, three school-based programs were created in the 2009-2010 offseason. Fueled by Art encouraged youngsters to create Hot Rods-themed art for a 2010-2011 calendar. The team’s mascot, Axle the Bear, reinforced the importance of literacy with a special reading challenge that rewards students that make reading books a priority. Fueled by Service was created to focus recognition on local children helping their community. All three programs urged young fans to believe in themselves while doing their best to help others.
Thriving Hot Rods Sign Extension with Rays
A big part of these programs is the involvement by Hot Rods players. Tampa Bay is an organization that encourages its players to make an impact beyond the baseball field, from the low minor leagues through the big league club in Tampa Bay. Hot Rods players have visited hospitals, schools, nursing homes and run baseball clinics for kids. The Hot Rods have benefited from two rosters full of players who want to make a difference, including the Rays 2009 Community Champion winner, Ryan Wiegand, and fellow 2010 nominee Chris Murrill.
With that growing fan base and the team’s increased presence in the community, the Rays enthusiastically agreed to a two-year extension of the Player Development Contract with the Hot Rods. This means that Baseball America’s top-rated farm system will continue sending its Major League prospects to Bowling Green through the 2012 season.
“We want to thank all of our fans as well as our non-profit and business partners for all of their tremendous support,” stated Hot Rods Owner Art Solomon. “Now we have the chance to reflect on another great year while putting together a blueprint to make a bigger impact in 2011. Our affiliation with the Rays has increased our credibility in the community while also putting an exciting group of Major League prospects on the field. We know our next two years will be exciting ones with an organization that is becoming a perennial American League pennant contender. I also want to thank our dedicated staff for their continued efforts.”
All the above factors, from stadium to community involvement, made it an easy decision for the Rays to renew the PDC.
“We are very pleased to extend our relationship with the Hot Rods for another two years,” said Rays Director of Minor League Operations Mitch Lukevics. “The Hot Rods are a first-class organization with a beautiful ballpark and a great community. We look forward to sending our players to Bowling Green to further their development on and off the field.”
The Hot Rods have released the 2011 schedule and Opening Day is Monday, April 11. The first home stand of the new season includes visits by the Fort Wayne TinCaps (San Diego Padres) and the Lake County Captains (Cleveland Indians). The full 2011 schedule can be viewed online at http://www.bghotrods.com. Game times and the 2011 promotional schedule will be released at a later date.