Page 38 - Salem Magazine Spring 2014
P. 38

 Cover Story
2003 - 2008
general manager at the end of the 2005 season. During the 2006 year, Salem was set to host its first California-Carolina League All-Star game, however, dismal weather posed a real threat.
HOUSTON ASTROS (2003-2008)
The Avalanche had success on the field during the 2007 campaign and played for the Mills Cup championship, losing to the Frederick Keys. Three months later, Hardball Capital sold the team to Fenway Sports Management, a sister company to the Boston Red Sox. The financial terms were undisclosed.
2003 9+ (HOU, PIT)
2004 9 (HOU, BAL, TB)
2005 7+ (HOU, PHI, SF)
2005 8+ (TB)
2005 8+ (HOU, BAL, BOS, ARI, CLE) 2005-06 5+ (HOU, BAL)
2006 5+ (HOU, COL, KC, CHW) 2007 5+ (HOU, ARI, ATL) 2007-08 4+ (HOU, CHC, MIA)
2007 5+ (HOU, BAL)
“We always had an interest in acquiring a minor league team,” said Tim Zue, Vice President of Business Development for FSM. “It made things easier to purchase an affiliate in terms of player development and we wanted to bring back our Advanced-A team to the Carolina League.”
                  416-418 OVERALL RECORD (.499 W-L%)
Did you know?
Mugsy, the lovable Saint Bernard mascot, has been in Salem since 1997. Pepsi paid
for the costume and named it after Mug Root Beer.
“We also wanted a market that was passionate and had history because Boston has that passion and history as well,” Zue said. “Salem is a market that embraces all sports and is a region with a rich history. That was very appealing to us and it became a perfect fit.”
“In the days leading up to that All-Star game, it rained four days straight,” Katz said. “Luckily, on game day it stopped in the early afternoon, maybe around 2 o’clock. The home run derby went off without a hitch and we played the game. It was a testament to the hard work and dedication of the staff. The Carolina League ended up winning the game, which was great for us.”
Just a few days after the success of the All-Star game, Kelvin Bowles surprised the Salem community by announcing he was selling the team to a group of investors known as Hardball Capital from Atlanta, Georgia.
“Hardball Capital was always interested in buying a team,” Bowles said about selling the team on July 15, 2006. “I called them and said I’d talk about it. The more we talked, the closer we got. When the day came I was happy and sad at the same time.”
Bowles, who attended games on a regular basis, cared more about the team winning than how much money was brought in at the gate. He originally bought the team to keep minor league baseball in Salem, but was now ready to hand over the reigns.
“Twenty-one years is a long time. There were other things I wanted to do, like relax and sleep well at night,” said Bowles. “I definitely made sure the team would never leave Salem. With this great stadium and the strong support of the city and fans, the league would never allow this team to move. I still enjoy going to the games. It’s part of my life.”
Katz remained General Manager through the transition and the fan support remained strong.
“Our main reason for success was the relationship with the city. The city as a whole ‘gets it’,” Katz said. “There was never anything we couldn’t accomplish when we worked together with the city to make things happen.”
All-Star players Hunter Pence and Ben Zobrist both played for the Avalanche while under the Houston umbrella.
Fenway Sports Management
 Attendance was at an all-time high with over a quarter-million fans passing through the gates of Salem Memorial Baseball Stadium.
The Houston Astros remained, along with the Avalanche name, for the 2008 season. In 2009, FSM brought the Red Sox affiliation to town and rebranded the team to what it is today – The Salem Red Sox.
SPRING 2014 |
Since coming to Salem, the Salem Red Sox have had 18 players advance to play in the major leagues, mostly with parent club Boston. Since the Boston Red Sox play on television more frequently than the Colorado Rockies and Houston Astros, local fans are able to spot familiar faces in the big leagues.
“It’s a source of pride now that we’re starting to see players that played

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