Named Appalachian League organization of the year on Friday, the Cards also produced the executive of the year in Zac Clark and won the promotional trophy for the second consecutive season.
The awards were voted on by the general managers of each club in the advanced rookie league. Five of the league’s nine awards include a nomination for Minor League Baseball national awards to be presented at the 2018 Baseball Winter Meetings in Las Vegas in December.
The organizational award is presented to the club that exemplifies the standards of the complete baseball franchise. Johnson City set a single-season attendance mark in 2018, welcoming 68,881 fans to TVA Credit Union Ballpark. Since 2013, the Cardinals have tripled their attendance, thanks in large part to the transition in ownership to Boyd Sports LLC.
Since 2016, Boyd Sports LLC has made improvements to all phases of the organization — from stadium upgrades to the overall fan experience during games and outside events. Again in 2018, the Cardinals produced one of the top promotional schedules in the league, highlighting the organization’s focus on the fan experience and ballpark atmosphere.
As the league’s organization of the year, Johnson City will be nominated for MiLB’s John H. Johnson President’s Award.
After completing his first season as the Cards’ general manager, Clark earned the award that is given to the executive who, in the estimation of his/her peers, has made the most valuable contribution to his/her club and/or league.
Clark has improved the overall marketing of the team, provided successful leadership in game-day operations, been active in the community and created excitement for Minor League Baseball in his city, helping to make Johnson City one of the most complete franchises in the Appalachian League. Under his leadership, the Cardinals set single-game and single-season attendance records in 2018 — thanks in part to the execution of one of the top promotional schedules in the league.
The promotional trophy goes to the club that demonstrates outstanding and creative marketing and promotional work. Johnson City pulled off a repeat in this category by offering a promotional schedule included premium giveaways, as well as theme nights such as Margaritaville Night, Star Wars Night and Taco Tuesdays.
The mix of promotions helped the Cards attract a mix of both young and old coming to the ballpark each night, creating an unparalleled fan experience. As the winner of the trophy, Johnson City will be nominated for MiLB’s Larry MacPhail Promotional Award.
Awards were also doled out to Pulaski’s Betsy Haugh (woman of excellence), Bristol’s Craig Adams (outstanding employee of the year), Greeneville media member Justin Rocke (radio broadcaster of the year), the Burlington Royals (community service), the Princeton Rays (Patriot, for support of armed forces) and David Gravely of the Southwest Times in Pulaski (sports media).