We have personnel news to report from the Savannah Bananas (summer collegiate; Coastal Plain League) and the Frederick Keys (High A; Carolina League).
In Savannah, the Bananas have hired a Director of Fun. Tyler Gray, originally from Chattanooga, TN, made the move to Savannah to join the team on February 26th.
Gray joins the Bananas after four years with Norwegian Cruise Line and as the Cruise Director for NCL’s flagship, the Norwegian Escape. During his time with Norwegian, he oversaw all onboard entertainment and activities for over 5,000 guests weekly and managed a team of 200 employees. Tyler is an entertainer and well-known Master of Ceremonies who has hosted events and been on stage with celebrities such as Whoopi Goldberg, Michael Douglas, Rod Stewart, celebrity chef Aaron Sanchez, Iron Chef Jose Garces, and Pitbull.
“I am extremely excited to be a part of the Bananas family and the Savannah community,” said Gray. “The Bananas have already made big waves not only in baseball but in the entertainment industry. They took the game of baseball and made it into a spectacular show that everyone can enjoy.”
Bananas owner, Jesse Cole, added, “Over 200 people reached out to us from across the country to be the Director of Fun. Once we saw Tyler’s videos and what he said he wanted to bring to Savannah, we knew this could be something special.”
“Tyler is a game changing hire for the Bananas organization. He brings energy and experience like we’ve never seen before. He is an idea machine and I can guarantee fans will see things they’ve never seen before at the stadium this summer. My one suggestion for the fans is to expect the unexpected with Tyler.”
He plans to bring his talents in entertainment to help the Bananas build on their success and grow the Bananas brand. In addition to acting as the on-field host during games and events at Grayson Stadium, Gray will also develop a strong presence throughout the Savannah community.
“We have already started planning the entertainment for the upcoming season and are bringing it to a whole new level that you don’t want to miss. It’s only the beginning and I am excited to see where the journey takes us!”
Fans will be able to meet Tyler at upcoming events, including the Tap of the Morning Beer Fest on April 7th.
In Frederick, the Keys have announced a variety of staff promotions. Andrew Klein has been elevated to Assistant General Manager of Sales, Erin Lawson has been promoted to Director of Marketing, Matt Baker takes over as Ticket Operations Manager and Ellery Price has been named Group Sales Manager. Additionally, Kevin Hernandez has joined the Keys full-time staff as Promotions Manager,Jackson Bushong-Taylor takes over as Office Manager while Marcus Jenkins, Ben Underwood and George Cluster have each been hired as Group Account Managers.
Klein moves into the role of Assistant General Manager for Sales after serving as the team’s Director of Sponsorship during the 2017 season. Starting his pro sports career as a Stadium Operations Intern with the Arkansas Travelers (Class AA; Texas League) in 2011, Klein has steadily climbed the Minor League Baseball ladder. Following his time in Arkansas, the Florida native worked as an account executive with the Tri-City Dust Devils (Short Season A; Northwest League) before spending three years with the Lehigh Valley IronPigs (Class AAA; International League). Klein graduated from Florida State in 2010.
Lawson enters her second season as a full-time Keys staff member. Prior to rejoining the Keys in 2016, she was a marketing intern and group sales assistant for the 2013 season. Originally from Collierville, TN, Lawson worked for the Jacksonville Jaguars marketing department after her first stint in Frederick. In Jacksonville, she promoted team community events and oversaw the Jaguars Street Team social media accounts. A sport marketing and management major at Indiana University, she graduated in 2014.
Following a stint as the Keys Office Manager, Baker transitions back to the ticketing department. Joining the club as a Box Office Assistant prior to the 2015 campaign, the Easton, PA native has also worked for the Lafayette College athletics department. A graduate of East Stroudsburg University, Baker has a degree in sport management.
Price gets bumped up to Group Sales Manager after working as a Keys account manager in 2017. A graduate of James Madison University, Price came to the Keys from the Bowie Baysox (Class AA; Eastern League) where she helped develop different promotions and theme nights. The Californian has also worked for the Stanford University women’s basketball program.
Hernandez gets elevated to a full-time role after spending the last year as the Keys Marketing Assistant. His first tenure with the club came as a gameday intern. A graduate of UMBC, Hernandez’s other experience includes time with the Navy athletics department. Assisting in marketing, he worked with the school’s fund for Athletic Excellence, the major gift program for Midshipmen athletics.
A native of Myersville, MD, Bushong-Taylor recently graduated from West Virginia University with a degree in sport and exercise psychology. In college, he interned with the West Virginia Black Bears (Short Season A; NY-Penn League).
Underwood, Jenkins and Cluster all join the Keys Group Sales department. A Box Office Assistant with the team last season, Underwood graduated from Towson University and worked for the school’s athletic department as an undergraduate. He also spent time with the Wilmington Blue Rocks, a Keys rival in the Carolina League.
Transitioning to the club’s sales department, Jenkins worked as the Keys Operations Assistant in 2017. A 2012 graduate of Shenandoah University, Jenkins was an offensive lineman on the school’s football team. Cluster also played college football at Shenandoah and received his degree in sport management in 2017. To go along with his experience in Frederick, Cluster has worked for Russ Potts Productions, a sports marketing firm in Virginia.