Days after taking control of the Jacksonville Suns (Class AA; Southern League), new owner Ken Babby overhauled the team’s front office and promised ballpark improvements for the coming season.
Gone is Chris Peters, GM under the Bragan ownership the past five years and Southern League Executive of the Year in 2014. The new GM: Harold Craw, the longtime Charleston RiverDogs (Low A; Sally League) sales exec and short-term Quad Cities River Bandits (Low A; Midwest League) GM, who most recently served as senior corporate sales executive and assistant GM for the Chattanooga Lookouts (Class AA; Southern League). Craw and family have already decamped to Jacksonville, per the Florida Times-Union:
“In the words of a former athlete, ‘I’m pumped up and ready to go,’ ” Craw said. “We hope to do more game interaction with the fans. We have a beautiful, beautiful video scoreboard that we want to utilize.
“It’s all about what the people in Jacksonville want, what do they like? Should we have more fireworks on Fridays, should we have them on Saturday, too? That’s something we’re in the process of figuring out as well as what entertainment groups to bring in for next year. What are those things that move the needle? Every community is different in certain ways. How can we excite the fans and put smiles on their face. That’s what we want to do.”
“Harold is one of the most accomplished and well-respected executives in Minor League Baseball and I am excited to have him lead the Suns,” said Babby in a press statement. “His skill set and leadership will help set the franchise’s vision and direction so we can give the fans in Jacksonville a world-class ballpark experience, at an affordable price.”
Craw will oversee marketing and sales, community engagement, game-day experience, and all other operational aspects of the organization. Also added to the Suns front office by Babby: Linda McNabb will be the vice president of sales and marketing and Mary Nixon will be the assistant general manager overseeing all food and beverage as well as special events at The Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville.
Speaking of The Baseball Grounds: Babby is promising some ballpark improvements, per this interview with WJCT:
“A cleaner, crisper looking baseball grounds, new picnic areas. Fans can look forward to new party areas, new facility areas. So it’s hard to believe, 200 days ‘til opening day, but we’ll have it all ready.”
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