The California League has announced the winners of its Executive Awards for the 2017 season. Teams submitted nominations and winners were voted on by their peers.
Organization of the Year: The Rancho Cucamonga Quakes
The Quakes will represent the Cal League for the national John H. Johnson President’s Award. The award is given annually to a club in Minor League Baseball.
Proudly celebrating 25 seasons of the Quakes baseball, the #Quakes25 campaign not only recognized the successful 25-year partnership with the City of Rancho Cucamonga and honored tenured ticket holders and sponsors, but also deepened a partnership with Loma Linda Children’s Hospital. Along with being the beneficiary of three jersey/hat auctions, the collaboration with Loma Linda facilitated multiple player visits to the hospital and several opportunities to host patients and their families for special LoanMart Field experiences.
The theme also highlighted the Quakes’ giveaways, resulting in over 15,000 branded bobbleheads, jerseys and hats distributed to Quakes fans. Lastly, #Quakes25 inspired commemorative stadium fixtures including the installation of a “Wall of Fame” and unveiling of a life-sized Tremor bobblehead.
The Quakes renewed their annual commitment to organizations serving the Inland Empire community, committing funds to Alzheimer’s Great Los Angeles, United Way Kids Pack Program, the Rancho Cucamonga Community and Arts Foundation, among others, and surpassing $15,000 awarded in the fifth year of the LoanMart Scholarship. Twice, Tremor appeared on local television, supporting the Fox 11 Operation Community Cares Toy Drive and ABC7 Feed SoCal Stuff-a- Truck. The Quakes also added an unscheduled jersey auction and raised over $4,000 for Hurricane Harvey Relief Efforts. In September, the Quakes were recognized as Outstanding Community Hero for the city of Rancho Cucamonga.
Highlights of the promotional calendar featured youth clinics for over 1000 local little leaguers, the fourth-annual and popular Star Wars Night, sold-out Military Appreciation Night and Independence Day Celebration, and well-participated First Responders Night. Ballpark improvements also included installment of digital menu and information boards.
As a result, the Quakes saw a yearly attendance of 171,626 and an overall revenue increase of 6% from 2016. The Quakes social media imprint continued to grow with a steady follower increase of 20%, now totaling over 74,000.
Excellence in Community Service Award: The Modesto Nuts
In conjunction with the Seattle Mariners, the Modesto Nuts have significantly increased community outreach efforts during the 2017 baseball season. The year saw an increase in outside mascot and front office appearances as well as a record number of player community appearances.
Youth continues to be the primary focus of the Modesto Nuts community outreach program. The team saw a record number of participants in our 16th annual Modesto Nuts reading program. We introduced a Kids Run the Show promotion where 32 students participated in running the ballpark during a game.
The Nuts organization was humbled to assist in the grieving process of two local law enforcement families. The team hosted the children of fallen Stanislaus County Sheriff Deputy Garner in July. The children interacted with the Nuts players and staff prior to a game and created a memorable experience for the extended family. During the playoffs, we hosted the two sons of fallen Modesto Police Sergeant Pershall who passed two weeks prior. Once again, the players and staff provided a special afternoon for the family just two weeks after the death of Sgt. Pershall. Both families were extremely thankful of the time spent with players and staff and mentioned the Nuts gave them a reason to smile again.
Through various fundraisers during the year, the team has donated over $125,000 to local youth sports teams, Miracle League of Stanislaus County, Breast Cancer related causes, 4MOM, First Tee of Stanislaus County, Harvey Relief and much more.
Front office executives serve leadership roles in various boards throughout Stanislaus County and volunteer their time to organizations such as First Tee of Stanislaus County, Miracle League of Stanislaus County, Modesto Rotary, Stanislaus Partners in Education and the Breakfast Club.
The Nuts will also represent the League as the nomination for the national John Henry Moss Community Service Award which is Minor League Baseball’s top service award in the industry.
Excellence in Patriotism: The Lancaster JetHawks
The JetHawks will be the Cal League’s representative for Minor League Baseball’s Charles K. Murphy Patriot Award for the second year in a row.
In 2017 the JetHawks partnered with Beers for the Brave to raise more than $15,000 and host an event that invited more than 500 active duty military members and their families to enjoy a JetHawks game for FREE. Military members were also given beer tokens that were purchased by sponsors and fans throughout the game. The night was capped off with a concert and post-game party.
On July 28th the JetHawks Partnered with Anheuser-Busch and The Fold of Honor to honor Major Edward Pulido as the Military Hero of the Game. Major Pulido addressed the crowd with his inspiring story as he was injured by an IED. Major Pulido received the Purple Heart, and dedicated his life to making sure that the families of the fallen and wounded warriors would receive the help they need to continue their education without the financial burden of doing so.
The JetHawks celebrated Memorial Day by offering FREE tickets to all active duty and retired military and their families. They also invited veterans from the Pete Knight Veterans home to take the field with the team prior to the game. The JetHawks wore special Military Jerseys, and both teams took the lines to participate in the National Moment of Remembrance to honor the many brave men and women who had given their lives in the line of duty.
EVERY Sunday home game was dedicated to honor the armed forces. All military members and their families received discounted tickets, the JetHawks wore special camo Jerseys, the pre-game ceremony would feature a military family of the game, color guard and the National Anthem was performed by Military Veterans.
During every Military Appreciation Day the JetHawks would dedicate a half inning break to honor the active duty and retired personnel in each branch of the military.
Woman of Excellence: Monica Ortega – VP of Ticket Sales, Rancho Cucamonga Quakes
Monica has been a huge part of the Quakes success serving as the VP-Ticket Sales since Brett Sports purchased the team prior to the 2010 season.
In 2017, Monica’s efforts in leading the Quakes ticket department led to an increase of 8% in overall Ticket Revenue including all-time highs in group sales, mini-plans and walk-up ticket sales since Brett Sports has owned the Quakes.
She works very hard to create a positive ticket sales culture within the Quakes office and sets a terrific example with her customer service efforts.
Monica will be the Cal League’s representative for the national Rawlings Woman of the Year award presented at the Winter Meetings in December.
Executive of the Year: Joe Hudson – General Manager, Inland Empire 66ers
Joe’s commitment to his organization, ownership group, staff and most importantly his community are second to none. He works tirelessly year round to improve his product not only as the General Manager or the club, but also serves as the President of Diamond Creations, a concessionaire that operates the Food and Beverage of 9 Minor League Clubs.
Under Joe’s leadership Inland Empire led the California League in attendance this season welcoming more than 200,000 fans to San Manuel Stadium, the highest attendance for the 66ers since 2009. Joe also oversaw some great ballpark improvements, including the addition of the Hangar 22 Craft Beer Garden.
Beyond the numbers Joe’s commitment to the community of San Bernardino is truly amazing. When his community is in need, Joe and his staff are the first to step up and lend a helping hand or just a warm embrace. Joe organized for his staff, the entire 66ers team, mascots from around the league and other community members to visit North Park Elementary school after tragedy struck in April of this year.
Joe’s commitment to his organization and ownership group can be measured in his time spent with the 66ers, as he has been with the team in some capacity since 2001.
Cal League President Charlie Blaney stated: “The winners of these prestigious League Awards were voted by their peers in the league, and they have been submitted as the Cal League’s Nominees for National Honors to be awarded at Baseball’s Winter Meetings in December. The Cal League is very proud of our winners.”