We have a slew of personnel news today from the Carolina Mudcats (High Class A; Carolina League), Lancaster JetHawks (High Class A; California League), Everett AquaSox (short season A; Northwest League), and Fort Myers Miracle (High Class A; Florida State League).
Eric Gardner has been named general manager of operations for the Carolina Mudcats. Gardner enters his 20th year with the Mudcats, having served as assistant general manager since 1999.
“I’m honored that Steve and Joe have trusted me with this position,” Gardner said. “I look forward to continuing the great work being done and ensuring the Mudcats continue giving our fans a memorable experience.”
“Eric’s promotion to general manager of operations is something he has worked tirelessly for,” Joe Kremer, Mudcats vice president and general manager, said. “He is as deserving of this promotion as anyone I have ever known.”
Team owner and President Steve Bryant echoed the sentiment. “Eric has been our go-to guy for many years. This is a reward for his loyalty and long-term service.”
A native of Tarboro, N.C., Gardner graduated from Barton College with a degree in Sports Management in 1997. He began his tenure with the Mudcats in 1996 as a college intern and quickly rose through the ranks while working in stadium operations, tickets and concessions.
Tom Backemeyer has been appointed executive vice president of the JetHawks in advance of the 2015 season.
The native of Lincoln, NE has a vast background in Minor League Baseball as prior to his arrival in Lancaster, Backemeyer helped develop franchises in Nashville, Rancho Cucamonga, Fresno and in Everett, where he was named Executive Vice President of the AquaSox of the Northwest League.
A graduate of Colorado State University (BA) with an MBA from University of Denver, Backemeyer has developed into one of Minor League Baseball’s bright young minds as he joins the JetHawks organization effective Tuesday, January 6th, 2015.
“I have been fortunate to work with some progressive organizations over my tenure in Minor League Baseball and I see a lot of potential and great opportunities for us here in the Antelope Valley,” said Backemeyer, who alongside team President Andy Dunn will work to unveil a number of exciting new ballpark elements over the next few months.
“It hasn’t taken me long to feel the passion that the Antelope Valley has for our JetHawks and we plan on reaching deep into the community to ensure that every fan has something to be proud of when it comes to our ball club and what we are trying to achieve.”
Replacing Backemeyer: Danny Tetzlaff is the new general manager of the AquaSox. He’s been in minor league baseball for over 13 years, serving most recently as general manager of the expansion Yakima Valley Pippins (summer collegiate; West Coast League). He has served as both a general manager and assistant general manager with several successful organizations, including three years with the Triple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs.
“After previously working in the Northwest League with the Yakima Bears, I am excited and humbled to have this amazing opportunity with the Everett AquaSox,” said Tetzlaff, “I am looking forward to being a part of the tradition already in place in Everett, and making summers at Everett Memorial Stadium even more memorable in 2015.”
In his new role with the AquaSox, Tetzlaff will work closely with Team President Pat Filippone and oversee the day-to-day operations of the club.
“We are looking forward to having Danny as a part of our team in Everett,” said Filippone, “His proven track record of success at multiple levels within Minor League Baseball make him an asset for the franchise and our growth in the future.”
A graduate of UNC-Charlotte, Tetzlaff was named 2006 Pioneer League Executive of the Year while with the Casper Rockies after leading the Rockies to the nation’s fourth-largest attendance jump in all of minor league baseball.
Kevin Bush is the new food and beverage director for the Miracle.
“Kevin’s knowledge of the food and beverage industry is second to none,” said Miracle Chief Operating Officer Steve Gliner. “His passion for what he does, along with his creativity and attention to detail are going to take our food and beverage operation to a whole new level.”
Bush, 30, will oversee the entire food and beverage operation for the newly renovated Hammond Stadium at the CenturyLink Sports Complex for both Minnesota Twins Spring Training and Miracle season. A native of Fort Myers, Bush comes to the Miracle from the campus of Florida Gulf Coast University where he was a manager in the Food and Beverage program, overseeing thousands of meals served to students each day. Bush spent four years at FGCU.
“I’m extremely excited to join an organization like the Miracle,” said Bush. “I’m from the area, so I feel like I’ve got an understanding of the types of menu items that our fans are really going to enjoy.”
Bush joins the Miracle just a few months prior to the start of Twins spring training with Phase II of the renovation project nearing completion. The upgraded stadium will feature completely remodeled concession stands, a wider concourse, a state of the art food preparation commissary and luxurious new suites with outdoor seating.
“Hammond Stadium is going to have a brand new feel this year,” said Bush, “With all of the upgrades, we are going dazzle the taste buds of our fans. I can’t wait to get in the kitchen and get started.”
Danny Barbosa joins Bush on the Miracle staff as the assistant food and beverage director. Barbosa, 22, has been involved with the food and beverage operation at Hammond Stadium since 2009 and is a native of Fort Myers.