Wisconsin Timber Rattlers Win Larry McPhail Award

PRESS RELEASE – Minor League Baseball announced today that the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers are the winners of the Larry MacPhail Award, symbolizing the top promotion effort in Minor League Baseball. The Midwest League club will receive this major award at the Baseball Winter Meetings™ Banquet at Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville, Tenn., on Thursday, Dec. 6.

The Larry MacPhail Award has been awarded annually since 1966. The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers are a community owned team that realizes its importance as a community asset, striving to be everywhere and to give back to it throughout the year.

Wisconsin has several programs in place aimed at helping the youth in their community, and in the case of its reading program, sometimes beyond. This year, 143 schools, including some from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and Adams, Wisc., both located at least two hours away from Appleton, participated in Fang’s Reading Club.

The Timber Rattlers gave five youth baseball leagues more than 3,400 free baseball caps, with the option to purchase more at cost.

Three other programs concentrated on the health and wellness of children. Wisconsin partnered with a local museum on an exhibit titled, “Eat Well. Play Well.” to teach kids the importance of staying active and eating the right foods.

“Badges for Baseball” looks to improve the relationship between law enforcement officials and youths in underserved communities. Wisconsin players and Fang, the team mascot, participated in lessons about teamwork and respect. Participants were invited to a pre-game parade and party and received tickets to a game.

Players and law enforcement officials also took part in the “You’ve Been Ticketed” program, visiting neighborhoods and awarding ticket vouchers to kids who were acting responsibly by wearing a bike helmet, observing pedestrian rules or helping clean the neighborhood.

The Timber Rattlers Garden for the Community at Time Warner Cable Field at Fox Cities Stadium served a dual purpose. The program not only helped beautify their ballpark, it also reaped 400 pounds of produce for a local food program.

Salute to Cows, Meet a Storybook Princess, Ultimate Tailgate Night and Brock the Ballpark, honoring popular concessions worker Brock Calmes, who passed away at the age of 28 in May, highlighted the individual promotional nights.

This season, the Timber Rattlers made a concerted effort to improve their social media campaign. The club’s You Run the Show promotion allowed fans to vote via Facebook for the elements and promotions that they wanted to see during a June game. The game also featured a designated tweet-up area in the stadium.

Wisconsin’s improvements to its mobile web site, Rattlersingame.com, resulted in nearly a 50% rise in registered users. Fans can interact through a comment feed, earn points and even order concessions from their seats. The new version also allows fans to interact on non-game days and during the off-season.

Wisconsin’s ballpark also annually hosts the Donald Drive Charity Softball Game, the NCAA Division III College World Series and the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association Spring Baseball Championships.

“The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers do an exceptional job of not only promoting their club in the community, but also of trying to tie in an element that benefits its residents in their ballpark promotions, as well,” Pat O’Conner, President of Minor League Baseball, said. “The Timber Rattlers have programs and promotions in place for fans of all ages, including several geared towards improving the behavior and lifestyle of area youths.

“Wisconsin’s use of various social media to promote themselves, especially through their mobile website that allows fans to interact during their games, as well as throughout the off-season, merits their selection as the winner of the 2012 Larry MacPhail Award.”

“We are truly honored to receive the Larry MacPhail Award,” said Rob Zerjav, President of the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers. “There are so many teams in Minor League Baseball that do a wonderful job and I am sure we have borrowed promotional ideas from most of them. Our organization has always worked so hard to create a top notch experience for our fans and I am really proud of how the whole staff has worked together as a team. Everyone on the Timber Rattlers staff can take credit for being a part of this accomplishment.”

Past Larry MacPhail Award Winners
1966 Spartanburg, Western Carolinas
1967 Rochester, International
1968 Cocoa, Florida State
1969 Hawaii, Pacific Coast
1970 Wichita, A.A./Hawaii, PCL (Tie)
1971 Oklahoma City, American Association
1972 San Antonio, Texas
1973 Tucson, Pacific Coast
1974 West Palm Beach, Florida State
1975 Tacoma, Pacific Coast
1976 El Paso, Texas/Cedar Rapids, Midwest (Tie)
1977 Columbus, OH, International
1978 Nashville, Southern
1979 Columbus, OH, International
1980 Nashville, Southern
1981 Nashville, Southern
1982 El Paso, Texas
1983 Arkansas, Texas
1984 Columbus, OH, INT/Billings, Pioneer (Tie)
1985 Richmond, International
1986 Iowa, American Association
1987 Albuquerque, Pacific Coast
1988 Birmingham, Southern
1989 Buffalo, American Association
1990 Richmond, International
1991 Salt Lake City, Pioneer
1992 Ft. Myers, Florida State
1993 El Paso, Texas
1994 Reading, Eastern
1995 Kane County, Midwest
1996 Wilmington, Carolina
1997 Rochester, International
1998 Charleston (SC), South Atlantic
1999 Reading, Eastern
2000 Lowell, New York-Penn
2001 Tennessee, Southern
2002 Lakewood, South Atlantic
2003 Trenton, Eastern
2004 Altoona, Eastern
2005 Brevard County, Florida State
2006 Round Rock, Pacific Coast
2007 West Michigan, Midwest
2008 Ogden, Pioneer
2009 Chattanooga, Southern
2010 New Hampshire, Eastern
2011 Lake Elsinore, California

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