Talk about purely random: the Akron RubberDucks (Class AA; Eastern League) are hosting Dave Appreciation Night on Friday, honoring a Dave of the Game — Dave Szucs, to be exact.
No, there’s nothing more than just honoring Daves everywhere. The team’s randomly selected Dave honoree (done via a phone-book search) is Dave Szucs, an ordinary Dave, married to his wife Charlotte for 50 years and working more than 40 years in the food industry.
“I wasn’t hesitant to accept the offer,” said Szucs (pronounced zooks). “I worked in the food business for 45 years; I’m not bashful at all.”
“I thought it would be cool to honor someone who had no idea it was coming,” said promotions coordinator Christina Urycki. “It adds to the fun and spontaneity of it all.”
Szucs, 72, will be the RubberDucks’ special guest on Friday and get to experience all kinds of unique events, including: tossing a ceremonial first pitch, getting a special seat to watch the game, counting down the fireworks from the field (set to the music of the Dave Matthews Band) and watching them from the dugout, dragging the infield, walking up the lineup card with manager Dave Wallace, an autograph session, and an appearance on air with radio announcer Dave Wilson.
“We’re excited and it’ll be a lot of fun to honor a random fan,” said general manager Jim Pfander. “With having a ‘Dave’ as a radio broadcaster (Dave Wilson), manager (Dave Wallace), and Dave Matthews Band fireworks, it is a perfect fit!”
Szucs explained that as a huge baseball fan he’s most looking forward to the game because he really enjoys the fan-friendly atmosphere at Canal Park. He’s such a fan that he proposed to Charlotte at a Cleveland Indians twilight doubleheader against the New York Yankees.
“I think ‘Dave Appreciation Night’ is a cool and unique idea,” said Szucs. “My family all wanted to come in and experience the night with me when they heard. The funny thing is, they always use ‘Bob’ so I’m glad that the Daves are finally getting recognized!
“This is a tip of the hat to the Bill Veeck-type promotions the former Cleveland Indians’ owner was known for. He would often celebrate the fans with promotions. It is a little outside-of-the-box, but a way to honor our fans in a fun way…that’s what Mr. Veeck was so great at doing.”