FISHING FOR HAPPY BIRTHDAY WISHES!
Greetings Reds fans! I’m Zach Bonkowski, and it’s my pleasure to be joining in on the guest blogging fun today, the 26th of July, 2010. Today is a special day for Better Off Red because it happens to be the birthday of BOR CEO James Ramsey. More on that later…
I think it’s pretty standard for a guest blogger to throw out a few credentials before beginning, so I’ll take a moment to do that. My role with the Reds is as Director of Promotional Events and Telemarketing.
Our department tries to oversee all Reds’ related events with the attempt to ensure that they are fun and operationally buttoned down. Some of our “favorite” events are Redsfest, the Winter Caravan, Opening Day and most recently, post-game concerts such as the MC Hammer show on July 16. We have fun, but challenging work. Our audience expects the best and we make every effort possible to give it to them at each and every event.
In my job I also have the pleasure of writing a lot for the Club and our long list of talented emcees and announcers. My writing is what you hear from the public address system of the ballpark, announced by my dear friend Joe Zerhusen (aka “The Trained Monkey”).
But despite some experience putting words to paper I can unequivocally say that I have a profound new respect for just how good J-Ray is at this after spending a few days putting this blog entry together. But here goes my best shot at giving a few thoughts and a little commentary.
Although I grew up in Cincinnati (technically Harrison, Ohio – Go Wildcats) and have been a Reds fan my entire life, I’ve really learned over my 9 seasons with the team to manage my expectations and not get too caught up in hype – whether it be in the preseason or regular season. So when Jamie predicted during Spring Training that this year’s team would reach the playoffs, I tried to close my web browser quicker than Drew Stubbs goes from 0 to 60. I thought Jamie was just trying to be a “good soldier” and put out some positive vibes for the loyal readers. But as we approach the true stretch run of the season, I’m starting to allow the excitement to really set in. In my humble opinion, we have a great mix of veterans and youth and really good team chemistry.
Now, on to the roast…er, tribute to Jamie!
Jamie and I came up through the ranks at the same time. In 2001 we both served as interns – me in Marketing and him in Media Relations. (At the time though, he didn’t speak to me because he thought I was full of myself – I know, hard to believe.) Besides a short stint that I did with the Potomac Cannons (Nationals) in 2002, the two of us have been here together for nearly a decade. Not only have we been co-workers for that time, but he’s also been one of my best friends outside of the office as well. Until I bought a house in Norwood a little over a year ago the two of us lived in separate apartments right next to one another in the building that houses Habits in Oakley, OH. That building has become somewhat of a Reds Front Office dormitory, with former employee Dann “Filthy Slug” Stupp and current employee Eric “Lil’ Feller” Keller having once lived there along with Jamie and I. (It also currently houses loyal Reds fan Jim Church - RING IT UP CHURCH!)
From 2003 to 2006 Jamie and I spent approximately 1,325 nights hanging out at Habits. If you ever go in and notice the collection of bobbleheads above the bar, the majority of those came from Jamie – who was always trying to suck up for a discounted drink at the bar. Ostrich burgers, potato rags w/ ranch (pictured below in it’s heart-attack-on-a-plate goodness), a large selection of beers, a juke box featuring YHF (you’ll know what that means if you’re musically educated – which means Reds Premium Sales Manager Ryan Rizzo is completely stumped) and Golden Tee Complete made Habits the perfect place to live above during some of our formidable years.
The movie The Hangover partly based on our lives. Weekend trips to Chicago & Cleveland, along with concert festival trips to Austin City Limits and Monolith have made for a lot of good stories. Once in Chicago we had Jamie convinced that he forgot to pack any underwear for the trip – just prior to heading out to JC Penney we had him go and get ice for the room. Moments after leaving the room he burst back in and flung the ice bucket across the room after he discovered all of his skivvies were inside. Those were really good times, but in all honestly the majority of the funny stories that came out of those trips can actually be attributed to the antics of Larry “The Inspector” Herms and John “Rat” Rieder.