UPDATED JANUARY 26 BY ANDREW KOCH: Nearly 200 people attended tonight's 12th annual Delmarva Shorebirds Hot Stove Banquet at VFW Post 8276 in Delmar, Maryland. It was the most well-attended Hot Stove since at least 2002, according to General Manager Chris Bitters.
Fans had a chance to hear from former Shorebirds manager Ryan Minor, who after three years as manager has been promoted to become manager of Baltimore's High-A affiliate, the Frederick Keys in the Carolina League. Fans also heard from Minor's replacement, Luis Pujols. Pujols is the cousin of Angels All-Star first baseman Albert Pujols. Luis was a catcher in the Majors from 1977 to 1985 - seven seasons with Houston, and one each with Kansas City and Texas. He's been a coach and manager in the Expos, Tigers and Giants organizations.
Other speakers included Roch Kubatko, who writes the popular "School of Roch" Orioles blog on MASNSports.com, and also appears on MASN's Orioles coverage; Bitters, 7th Inning Stretch President Pat Fillipone, and Orioles Director of Minor League Baseball Operations Kent Qualls. Kubatko talked about what it was like to cover his hometown team during their resilient playoff run this past season. Fillipone said the team is in negotiations with the Wicomico County government and the Maryland Stadium Authority on renovations to Perdue Stadium's hot water and HVAC systems. He says the team will also begin negotiating in the future on new fan amenities for the stadium, which is nearly 20 years old. The panelists then answered questions from fans.
Orioles Executive Vice President Dan Duquette had originally been scheduled to be the keynote speaker at the banquet, but he was in Sarasota for the memorial services for Earl Weaver.
Guests enjoyed an Eastern Shore-style buffet that included fried chicken, dumplings, roast beef and cheesecake for dessert. They also were able to participate in a raffle and bid in a silent auction for signed baseball and other sports merchandise. The proceeds from the raffle and silent auction benefited the United Way of the Lower Eastern Shore.
The Delmarva Shorebirds have announced some changes for their Hot Stove Banquet this weekend.
Orioles Executive Vice President Dan Duquette, who’d been scheduled to be the keynote speaker, will be unable to attend because he’ll be in Sarasota, Florida to attend the memorial services of Hall-of-Fame manager Earl Weaver.
New Shorebirds manager Luis Pujols, former manager Ryan Minor, and MASNSports.com Orioles blogger Roch Kubatko will be among the speakers.
New Orioles Director of Minor League Baseball Operations Kent Qualls, Shorebirds GM Chris Bitters and 7th Inning Stretch President Pat Fillipone will also speak about what Shorebirds fans can expect this season.
Fans can also bid in a silent auction and buy raffle tickets to raise money for the United Way of the Lower Eastern Shore. The banquet will begin at 5 o’clock Saturday night at the Delmar VFW on West State Street.
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