Hickory Crawdads

Hickory, North Carolina is baseball country. From the early days in our town, when mill workers formed teams to play against each other, to the present, baseball has remained important. The region is home to several youth leagues, middle and high school teams, Catawba Valley Community College’s nationally ranked Junior College team and the Lenoir-Rhyne University Baseball team. But, there is one word that is synonymous with baseball in Hickory: Crawdads.

The Crawdads are the Single A affiliate of the Texas Rangers. The ‘Dads, as they are affectionately called in their home town, play a 140 game regular season; 70 of these games are played under the lights of the L.P. Frans Stadium. The stadium is easily visible from Highway 321, and the games draw large crowds. Since the team’s inception in 1993, the community has enjoyed attending games, and rooting for the home team.

The Hickory Crawdads have sent 117 players to the big leagues, including several fan favorites like Magglio Ordonez and Jose Bautista. The Crawdads also won the South Atlantic League Championship in 2002 and 2004. While the team has enjoyed tremendous success on the field, and many players have gone on to enjoy excellent careers, the Crawdads’ focus has remained on family entertainment and community involvement.

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Affordable family fun and entertainment is our top-priority”, said Hickory Crawdads General Manager Mark Seaman. “We make sure everyone can afford to get into the game and enjoy their experience once they get here.”

Hickory Crawdads games have been bringing together family and friends since the team was created in 1993.  Children spend hours of their summer nights chasing foul balls, tugging on the tail of Conrad the Crawdad, riding the carousel and enjoying sweets like cotton candy and tiny helmets filled with ice cream. Their parents enjoy food, drinks (including drink specials on Thursday nights) and post-game entertainment. Together, families enjoy a fun night at the ballpark.

Crawdads 2The list of promotions at L.P. Frans Stadium seems endless. Nearly every home game has special offers or promotions, ranging from Fireworks on Friday nights to the annual post game Christian concert. Local corporate sponsors give away gift cards and merchandise to winners of between-inning competitions.  Every game has something for everyone in the family.

All Catawba Valley Community College and Lenoir Rhyne University students get a discount every night, and get in free on Thursdays with a valid student ID. Children can join the “Claw Club” and get their season tickets for only $29. Wednesday nights are free to Hickory residents who are currently receiving unemployment benefits.

The Crawdads have a place in the hearts of Hickory residents. Attending the games isn’t just recreation for our citizens, but a way of life.

Hickory, also, has a place in the hearts of the Crawdads team. General Manager, Mark Seaman, detailed how wonderful the team’s relationship is with the City of Hickory. The stadium is city-owned, and Mark says that the city has embraced the team since day one.

The support the city has given our team has been overwhelming. We enjoy our relationships with both the city leadership, and the citizens. “

Game announcer, Ralph Mangum, holds the team in high regard.

4383-LI see what goes on in and around the press box as I do the public address announcements for approximately half of the team’s home games. I’m always impressed by the energy and dedication among the Crawdads’ employees. There’s a lot going on behind the scenes in preparation for and during every home game. Employees make sure folks attending the game have a wonderful, family-friendly experience each time they come to the ballpark. There’s a balancing act that goes on in making sure the games are enjoyable for the hardcore baseball fans who come to nearly every game and also for the folks who only come out for a handful of games.  It’s a great destination for families, for groups, for folks who just want to hang out with their friends or even for couples on a date. I see people at every game who don’t appear to be very interested in the action on the field, but still have a great time. It’s a pleasure to watch those folks enjoying the food and drink  at the ballpark while they socialize with their friends and family. All that, and baseball, too!”

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