Touring The Bases With…Lansing Lugnuts GM Pat Day
Pat Day is the General Manager for the Lansing Lugnuts located in Lansing, Michigan in the Midwest League. They have been an Affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays since 2005. They play in Jackson Field at Thomas M. Cooley Law School Stadium. (a) www.lansinglugnuts.com.
Seamheads.com: Your team has an unusual name. How did the name Lugnuts come about?
Pat Day: We did a name the team contest when we knew the team was going to be playing in Lansing sixteen years ago. A fan selected it and Tom Dixon, our owner worked on our logo. USA Today in 2004 did a national poll and the Lugnuts got voted the number one brand in baseball.
Seamheads: What was your first job working in baseball?
Day: My first job was in 1998 as a general intern for the Princeton Rays in Princeton, West Virginia in the Appalachian League. I worked for Jim Holland, the GM at that time. He was a great guy; he was very helpful to me.
Seamheads: How did you obtain that job?
Day: I got my degree in public relations and advertising from Concord College; now Concord University located about fifteen minutes outside Princeton. I had no idea what I wanted to do so I called Jim and asked if he did internships. I had to do an internship to get my degree, he hired me and the rest is history.
Seamheads: How did you wind up with the Lugnuts?
Day: I finished my internship with Jim in 1998 and he helped me get a job in Charleston, West Virginia. I worked there from 1999 to Dec 2003. I then went to the Montgomery Biscuits in 2004 as Assistant General Manager. In February 2007, I was transferred to Lansing and became GM.
Seamheads: What are your responsibilities for the Lugnuts?
Day: I run the business on a day-to-day basis and work with my owners, Tom Dixon and Sherrie Myers. We have twenty-five full time employees who help me offer a great product to our fans here in Northern Michigan.Â I handle sponsorship sales, ticket sales, finance department, food service business, marketing department, retail business, facility operations and grounds keeping department.
Seamheads: What is the economy like in Lansing?
Day: The foreclosure rate is high, the unemployment rate is higher than the national average but our product is positioned very well in an economy like this because people have a need for entertainment for their families and our product is affordable. For example, you can get a seat behind home plate here for ten dollars.
Seamheads: When and how did you get interested in working in baseball?
Day: My eyes were opened to the opportunity in baseball during my internship for Jim Holland.
Seamheads: When did you get interested in baseball?
Day: I was the youngest of four boys and my family had an interest in baseball. My brothers were older than me and they played the game. I grew up Western Mass, Red Sox territory and I became a big Red Sox fan.
Seamheads: What was the first professional game you saw?
Day: I was eight years old in 1983, it was a doubleheader, the Red Sox against the Kansas City Royals. The Sox pitchers were Bruce Hurst and Roger Clemens. Dan Quisenbery, the great sidearmer came in for relief for the Royals.
Seamheads: Who were a few of your favorite players at that time?
Day: Jim Rice, Boston Red Sox, now in the Hall of Fame. I am a product of the eighties and the most devastated I ever was as a child was when the ball went through Bill Bucknerâ€™s leg in the 1986 World Series.
Seamheads: Who are a few of your all-time players?
Day: Besides Jim Rice, I always respected George Brett, Tony Gwynn and Pete Rose.
Seamheads: Of all your accomplishments with the Lugnuts, what are you most proud of?
Day: The ability for the Lugnuts to make a connection with the fans. They have a true affinity for the team and the product we offer. That is what I am most proud of.
Seamheads: Where were you born and raised?
Day: I was born in Fairfax, Virginia but raised in Otis, Mass. Otis was a small town in Western Mass., about fourteen hundred people with one streetlight. It is about thirty miles outside Springfield, Mass. I graduated from Lee High School in Lee, Mass.
Seamheads: Did you play any sports in High School?
Day: I played basketball and was an outside linebacker and pulling guard in football. In baseball, I was a catcher. Baseball was my best sport. I made All Western Mass. as a Junior and Senior. Like many youngsters, I dreamed of playing in the Majors as catcher for the Red Sox.
Seamheads: What is the most difficult part of your job?
Day: Dealing with the nasty weather. Snow and rain, these are things you cannot control. I can control how hot the hotdog is, but I cannot control the inclement weather.
Seamheads: Have you ever pulled tarp?
Day: Sure. I have pulled plenty of tarp. In MiLB, you do whatever job you are asked to do.
Seamheads: What is the most outstanding memory you have working with the Lugnuts?
Day: In 2009, we had an exhibition game, the Lugnuts against Michigan State University. We had great weather and attracted over thirteen thousand fans. This included lawn seating and fans standing. This was the largest crowd ever
in our ballpark.
Seamheads: What makes you successful at your job?
Day: My passion for my work. I love what I do. I love working with the employees, the partners of the club, the season ticket holders, our sponsors and fans.
Seamheads: Should any player found guilty of using steroids be in the Hall of Fame?
Day: This is a question I have wrestled with. My problem with not letting them in is the fact the Major League baseball did not have a rule about steroids at that time. They were not technically breaking a rule, the rule did not exist. I get the gambling rule. That has been written in the rules, locker rooms and contracts.Â Steroids was against the law but not written in the baseball rulebook. That is my problem with the subject. It is up to the voting writers to make that decision.
Some of the players who did steroids would have been Hall of Famers, even if they did partake.
Seamheads: Who was your mentor in baseball?
Day: Tom Dixon and Sherrie Myers, the current owners of this club and others. (b)
Seamheads: Which GM in baseball, Major and Minor do you admire the most?
Day: A gentleman I used to work for, Greg Rauch of the Montgomery Biscuits. I worked with Greg for about ten years.
Seamheads: What are the possibilities a women could be a General Manager in the Major Leagues?
Day: Absolutely, there will be one in the future. I believe the woman who works for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Kim Ng has a good chance.
Seamheads: What is the most unusual promotion you have seen with the Lugnuts?
Day: The promotion was called Eat-A-Paloza. We were celebrating our fifteenth anniversary here in Lansing and on Opening Day, we did a fifteen dollar ticket enabling fans to eat all the food they wanted to eat. People were very appreciative of this and took full advantage.
Seamheads: What is your favorite (not counting your own) ballpark to watch a game?
Day: Fenway Park in Boston, not only because I was a big fan growing up but also because it is an historic park.
Seamheads: What is your favorite baseball movie?
Day: The Natural with Robert Redford, Robert Duval and Glenn Close. (c)
Day: I think about the amazing product we have and how fortunate I am to be a small part of it
Seamheads: Funny things happen in baseball, what is the most humorous thing you have seen?
Day: It has to be the ball bouncing off Jose Consecoâ€™s head and going over the fence for a homerun.
Seamheads: Do you follow any other sports?
Day: Living here in Lansing I follow Michigan State University football and basketball games.
Seamheads: Are you married, have any children?
Day: Yes, I married my lovely wife Erica two and a half years ago and our first daughter was born April 23, 2011. We named her Emerson Oakes.
Seamheads: What do you do for relaxation after work?
Day: I work more! Just kidding. I spend time with my wife. I do not have a lot of hobbies.
Seamheads: Do the Lugnuts have a mascot?
Day: Yes we do, his name is Big-Lug. He is a big happy dinosaur who loves baseball, and the kids love him. Big Lug is responsible for entertaining fans young and old. He is out at Cooley Law School Stadium every game. He is seven feet of baseball love, hailing from parts unknown, the eighth wonder of the world and the Lugnutsâ€™ biggest fan!
Seamheads: Does the team have a song?
Day: Yes we do. It is called â€œGo Nutsâ€ Some of the words are: You’ve got inhibitions,?Lose em’.?You got vocal chords,?Use em’.?You got the rhythm, ?You got the beat,?You gotta clap your hands,?You gotta stomp your feet. You gotta Go Nuts, Go Nuts, Go Nuts, Go Nuts?Lugnuts, Lugnuts, Lugnuts, Lugnuts Go Nuts, go Lugnuts.
Seamheads: Do you have a favorite motto or quote?
Day: “You miss one hundred percent of the shots you do not take.”
Seamheads: Should Major League Baseball utilize instant replay, not ball and strikes?
Day: Yes, I believe they should. I am a proponent of instant replay.
Seamheads: Who are a few of your favorite singers?
Day: I like James Taylor, Harry Chapin and Cat Stevens.
Seamheads: What are your thoughts about aluminum bats used in college?
Day: I think they are fine for High School and College. Wood bats are expensive, the high cost could kill the budget.
Seamheads: What is your favorite American city to visit?
Day: I have been to many cities but my wife and I like Miami, Florida.
Seamheads: What book are you currently reading?
Day: The Wall Street Journal Guide to Investing Money.
Seamheads: What is your favorite ballpark food?
Day: I love the Fenway Franks in Boston. At our park, I favor the large Phillie Cheese Steak sandwich.
Seamheads: What are a few of your favorite movies?
Day: Aside from The Natural, the original Wall Street film, and All the Right Moves with Tom Cruise.
Seamheads: At the end of this season, looking back on the year, what will you be most proud of?
Day: The growth of some of my employees.
(a) Thomas M. Cooley Law School Stadium is located in downtown Lansing. Previously known as Oldsmobile Park after its largest sponsor, Oldsmobile, the General Motors automobile line that was discontinued in 2004.
The first Minor League game was played on April 5, 1996 between the Lansing Lugnuts and the Rockford Cubbies.
In March 2010, Lansing based Jackson National Life insurance Company purchased the right to name the field â€œJackson Fieldâ€ thus the full name of the venue is: Jackson Field at Thomas M. Cooley Law School Stadium.
(b) The husband-and-wife team Tom Dickson and Sherrie Myers purchased the Waterloo Diamonds in 1993 in Iowa. The team played the 1994 and 1995 seasons as the Sultans in Springfield, Illinois, before relocating to Lansing, Michiganâ€™s capital city in 1996 and became the Lansing Lugnuts.
(c) The film was based on Bernard Malamudâ€™s novel about an unusually gifted baseball player.
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Norm Coleman is an actor, sports writer and photographer. He lives in Half Moon Bay, California