Ben Hemmen is heading to Florida, as he is joining the Fort Myers Miracle (High A; Florida State League) as executive vice president and COO. Hemmen is assuming the role from Steve Gliner, who has been named the new president of the Hudson Valley Renegades (Short Season A; NY-Penn League).
Andrew Seymour will continue in his role as the Miracle’s general manger and will be promoted to senior vice president.
“We are excited to add Ben to Fort Myers,” said Miracle owner Jason Hochberg. “He’s going to be a big hit with the community, the fans and the Twins. Ben is passionate about baseball and will focus on further enhancing the fan experience at the CenturyLink Sports Complex and Hammond Stadium during Spring Training and Miracle season.”
Hemmen, 38, joins the Miracle after serving as the General Manager for the Texas Rangers affiliate High Desert Mavericks in the California League the last two seasons. With eight years of minor league baseball experience, Hemmen was previously the Assistant General Manager with the Bowling Green Hot Rods in the Midwest League and the Director of Marketing and Promotions with the Omaha Storm Chasers in the Pacific Coast League.
In High Desert, Hemmen oversaw and completed ballpark improvement projects for Heritage Field that included renovations on the batting cages, home clubhouse and both field dugouts. Hemmen also worked to install a brand new infield and warning track to improve the playing surface.
Focusing his staff on engagement with the High Desert community, Hemmen led team goals to give back nearly $100,000 each season while growing the organization’s group sales by almost 100 percent from 2014 to 2016. Hemmen also negotiated concessions, catering and ticketing agreements.
“I want to thank Jason Hochberg, Steve Gliner and the Fort Myers Miracle for this unbelievable opportunity,” said Hemmen. “Steve leaves big shoes to fill, but with great ownership in SJS Beacon Baseball, LLC, an amazing affiliate and Spring Training partnership with the Minnesota Twins, the support of Lee County and an experienced Miracle staff already in place, I cannot wait to enter my ninth year in professional baseball with a beautiful facility in Hammond Stadium at the CenturyLink Sports Complex during our 25th anniversary season.”
“I look forward to continue to offer affordable, family, fun entertainment to Fort Myers, Lee County and all of Southwest Florida.”
Throughout his career, Hemmen’s primary focus has been upgrading the individual fan experience while also engaging the public at the ballpark and in the local community. Building a reputation of an energetic personality, Hemmen has extensive experience over his career in vendor and partner relationships, marketing, promotions, community relations, media relations and ballpark operations.
Hemmen takes over for long-time Miracle executive Steve Gliner, who will continue to consult with the Miracle to help the transition going into the upcoming baseball season.
“Steve has done a tremendous job leading the Miracle over the last 13 years,” said Hochberg. “We wish him well on his new endeavors and are grateful that he will be consulting with us for Spring Training and Miracle season.”
Gliner leaves Fort Myers after originally joining the Miracle in the fall of 2003. During his tenure as General Manager, President and Chief Operating Officer, Gliner guided the Miracle to 12 consecutive years of Florida State League nominations for either the John H. Johnson President’s Trophy for overall team operations (2005, 2006, 2010, 2012) or the Larry MacPhail Promotional Trophy for excellence in team promotions (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016).
In 2008, Gliner was recognized as the Florida State League Executive of the Year. Under Gliner’s direction in 2015, the Miracle set three attendance records for an all-time single season total mark at 133,817, average per game 2,028 and the single-game record of 9,209 fans on April 10.
Gliner is returning to Hudson Valley after spending ten seasons with the Renegades from 1994 to 2003.
“I would like to extend my deepest appreciation and gratitude to all of the Miracle fans, sponsors and community partners who have been so supportive of the team during my time here,” said Gliner. “In addition, special thanks go out to Miracle owner Jason Hochberg and to all of our front office and gameday staff who work tirelessly to bring the best experience to every fan who comes to the ballpark.”
“I also want to thank everyone within the Minnesota Twins family for their tremendous support and partnership with the Miracle. I have very much enjoyed by time here in Southwest Florida and I look forward to coming back from time to time to see a game at Hammond Stadium.”
The Miracle enter the 2017 season in celebration of 25 years in Southwest Florida and continue to add entertainment value for fans.
“With Ben joining the team, the 25th anniversary season and our new video board, we believe that 2017 will be a great year for the Miracle and our fans,” said Hochberg.