We've said the words "Vancouver Canadians' new GM" more times than we care to remember these past two years or so, because the position has been somewhat of a revolving door… and 'somewhat' may be the biggest understatement since Marion Jones asked her dentist if she needed any work done.
First there was Dan Kilgras - the tassled loafer GM, who was eventually (according to unconfirmed reports) promoted to Team President to stop him from leaving.
Then there was Delany Dunn - the ‘doing the best with what we're given' GM, who was installed to run the team on a shoestring so Kilgras could concentrate on ad sales and sponsorships, until new owners came in with a big broom and let him concentrate on what he does best - the game day experience.
Then there was Aileen McManamon - the ‘bums on seats' GM, who brought in the biggest crowd in ages for opening day last season, but badly miscalculated what it takes to feed such a crowd once they're in the door, and was quickly shown same.
Then there was nobody, though Andy Dunn handled the job as a consultant for a while… but not really (shh, Immigration might be listening).
So who is Andy Seymour? Why, he's the Vancouver Canadians' new GM… and he's not one to make short term plans, if his last gig is anything to go by.
From his days dressed up in an inflated sumo wrestling suit, to donninga trenchcoat, hat and sunglasses as the mysterious ?G-man,? to creatingaward-winning promotional campaigns such as ?Billy Donovan Night,?Andrew Seymour has been a fixture for the Fort Myers Miracle sinceSeptember 1995. Not anymore.
The Miracle enter their 18th season as the Class A affiliate of the Minnesota Twins. Seymour has been there for 13 of them.
Get used to that word - ‘fun'.
A supporter of Mike Veeck?sworking motto, ?Fun is Good,? Seymour said he has been strolling downmemory lane as his last day with the Miracle, Wednesday, Jan. 23,approaches. Memories include:
?The Bobble-butt doll. Madein the likeness of Riverdale High School graduate Tommy Watkins, onlyabout 500 of the dolls were made.
?On June 4, 2003, the dayafter Chicago Cubs slugger Sammy Sosa was caught swinging a corked bat,the Miracle announced ?Sammy Sosa Night,? handing out pieces of cork tofans.
?In July 2003, less than a week after Pittsburgh Piratesfirst baseman Randall Simon swung a bat at a Milwaukee Brewers racingsausage, the Miracle held a ?Salute to the Italian Sausage Night? withrandom sausage giveaways and a ?Safe Sausage Race.?
?Lastseason, the Miracle had ?Billy Donovan Night,? at which fans whochanged their minds about attending the game could negotiate with alawyer for refunds, poking fun at the University of Florida basketballcoach who backed out of a contract with the Orlando Magic.
That promotion placed first in the inaugural Minor League Baseball Promotion of the Year Award.
Pleasant side benefit: he's not a pinball executive. That is to say, he doesn't bounce around from team to team, like many in the minors. And by all accounts, he's a heck of a guy.
?Asa fan, as a worker and as a friend, I?m dumbfounded to say the least,?[Fort Myers Miracle] season ticket holder Bobby] Izzo said upon hearing the news. ?Andrew?s an institution. He?s theface of the Miracle. He has been forever… There?s not much thatthe man wouldn?t do for anybody. In all the time I?ve known him, Idon?t think I?ve ever seen him have a bad day. I don?t think I?ve everseen a frown on his face. He?s been super… The dedication and the loyalty that I have for the Miracle comes from Andrew.?
It's not often that when a pro sports GM leaves a town, that people are actually sad about it, and the local press writes glowing tributes of their time with the team.
Some background on the Larry Donovan promotion:
In this much-lauded promotional extravaganza, the Florida StateLeague franchise paid tribute to the painfully indecisive FloridaGators basketball coach (on June 1, Donovan signed a massive contractwith the NBA's Orlando Magic, but backed out one day later in order toreturn to the University of Florida).
On "Billy Donovan Night," the Miracle did everything short of handingout flip flops to fans as they walked through the turnstiles. But atthe heart of the evening was this little nugget of genius — any fanwho had second thoughts about attending the game was given theopportunity to negotiate out of their ticket purchase by consultingwith a lawyer and then (in certain cases) shooting a basketball througha hoop.
"It was like — Bam! — there it is. There's our hook. For us, thehoneymoon continued. We put out a teaser about the promo, and theAssociated Press picked it up and ran a story. After that, everybodyjumped on it. All of this occurred during a period when there wasn'tmuch happening in the sports world, so the timing worked out great."
Indeed, the Miracle's unorthodox promotion received prominent local andnational media coverage, and resulted in a crowd that was more thandouble the team's Wednesday night average. All in all, it was a fittingstunt for a franchise with ties to the most legendary name in the worldof sports promotions.
And finally, from Seymour's own bio on the Fort Myers Miracle staff directory:
Often mistaken for THE ROCK, Andrew enjoys entertaining. An interestthat has served him well in his second career as a Motion Pictureaction & Stunt double where Andrew has done body stand-ins for VinDiesel, Sean William Scott, Will Smith and Jack Black. In his sparetime, Andrew enjoys watching infomercials, organizing his fridgemagnets and speaking of himself in the-third-person. Favorite MoviesInclude: Slapshot & House Party 1 thru 4. Favorite Players: PaulKariya, Michael Vick, Torii Hunter & Bill Bellamy. IQ:Self-described ? ?somewhere yo-yo?ing between Nickelodeon and C-Span.?Little known fact: Andrew has written songs for both Luther Campbell& Glen Campbell.
Methinks maybe we got a good deal here.
Side note: While I'm on the ‘good people arriving' tilt, I should also mention that a good person is leaving the C's. Long time pleasant person, Game Day Goddess, and Ticket Mistress, Lori Bonang, is moving on to opportunities new.
One of the last remaining folks on staff from the pre-ownership change era, she will be missed (especially by guys like me, fighting opening day crowds to find someone - anyone - who knows where my press pass is).
Be happy, Loz.