We have personnel news to report from a pair of Class AA Southern League clubs in the Mississippi Braves and the Rocket City Trash Pandas.
The Braves have announced a pair of additions to their front office, including David Kerr as Director of Group Sales and Peyton Cain, a graduate of the club’s trainee program, as an Account Executive.
“After a terrific 2019 season, we’re thrilled to announce new additions to the team,” said Pete Laven, Mississippi Braves Vice President, and General Manager. “While strides were made this past season, our organization will always look to bolster our front office staff if we feel it will translate to a better fan experience at Trustmark Park.”
Kerr joins the M-Braves from the Gary SouthShore RailCats (independent; American Association), where he was Director of Marketing & Promotions since the 2016 season. He spent the 2014 and 2015 seasons as an Account Executive.
“David Kerr will be a tremendous asset to the M-Braves not only in his role leading our group sales team but in every facet of the operation,” added Laven. “I have had the pleasure of working with David in the past and have seen first-hand the impact he brings to a franchise through his hard work and creativity.”
A seasoned marketing and sales professional, Kerr worked with a Fortune 500 telecom company where he was a Sales Manager for retail locations in Southwest Arkansas. Kerr also has experience as an Assistant Program Manager with Accent Marketing, directing sales and service in support of a Fortune 500 telecommunications company.
The 2020 season will be his eighth in professional baseball, with his previous experience coming with the Arkansas Travelers (Class AA; Texas League)
A Communication and Mass Media major at Henderson State University in Arkadelphia, AR, Kerr was a World Champion collegiate debater and semi-professional table tennis player. David is a native of Akron, OH, and currently resides in Brandon with his fiancée Holly.
Cain joins to the full-time staff after serving as a Sales Trainee for the 2019 season.
“Peyton joined us after the season began in 2019 and immediately displayed the diligence and drive the Braves organization seeks in our front office culture,” said Laven. “His success in developing our Community Nights was a contributing factor to our attendance growth this past summer.”
Cain graduated from The University of Tennessee at Martin in the spring of 2019 with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. Cain also graduated from East Central Community College in 2016 and Newton County High School in 2014.
At East Central, Peyton was a member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and was as a right-handed pitcher on the 2016 MACJC Conference Champion baseball team. Cain was also a member of the UT Martin baseball team, where they set a school record for wins in 2017.
Ahead of their 2020 debut at the upcoming Toyota Field, the Trash Pandas have announced that Mary Nixon, who has worked with several Minor League Baseball teams as a food service consultant and catering director, will serve as Vice President and Executive Director of BallCorps Food and Beverage, LLC. In addition, Ryan Curry, whose skills have been recognized in local, national and international media, has been chosen as Toyota Field’s Executive Chef & Assistant Director, Food and Beverage Operations.
“In every aspect of our operation we have strived to build a unique, Major League-type experience,” said Ralph Nelson, Trash Pandas President & CEO. “Today, fans are expecting more than just popcorn and hot dogs; food and beverage is an essential component of the fan experience.
“I am certain Mary and Ryan will provide an unforgettable culinary experience for our fans.”
Curry was most recently Executive Chef with the Albuquerque Isotopes (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League), where his Tumbleweed Burger (a cotton candy-topped burger) was named by the international publication VenuesNow as Best New Concessions Food Item in 2019. His Green Chile Peach Flambé was runner-up for the same award in 2018.
A native of Sacramento, Calif., Curry graduated from the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco. With 24 years’ experience as a professional chef, Curry has worked for Major League and Minor League teams, as well as restaurants, country clubs, resorts and hotels on the West Coast from California to Alaska. As Executive Chef with the Sacramento River Cats (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League) in 2010, his work was recognized by SI.com as one of the 10 best in Minor League Baseball.
“Minor League Baseball is such an amazing experience to be a part of,” Curry said. “Fans are here for great baseball, which the Trash Pandas will no doubt deliver. But, it’s my responsibility to make sure the food delivers a memorable experience as well.
“Stadium food offerings can no longer be plain hot dogs and hamburgers. Fans want fresh and creative offerings…menu items that motivate them to go to work the next day and ask a co-worker if they’ve tried the ‘such and such food item at Toyota Field’ and, if they haven’t, they need to go check it out.”
Nixon comes to the Trash Pandas from Richmond, Va., and has also worked with Minor League Baseball teams in Hartford, Conn..; Jacksonville, Fla.; and Lehigh Valley, Pa.
“I am excited to join the Trash Pandas and provide an extraordinary food and beverage experience to our fans,” Nixon said. “We undertook an extensive nationwide search for an executive chef, and Ryan was – hands-down – the choice. Our fans will be amazed by his creations.”
“Baseball is the main show at Toyota Field, but when fans are trying our food, I want them to forget for just a moment that they’re at a baseball game,” Curry said. “Then I’ve done my job.”