WEYMOUTH, Mass. (November 10, 2023) 一 For the second consecutive year, the Futures League is proud to recognize and honor its teams and front office staff members for their accomplishments throughout the 2023 season with a series of off-the-field awards.
Commissioner Joe Paolucci announced the award winners during the Futures League’s Fall Organizational Meeting, which was held last month in conjunction with the Adam Keenan Legacy Golf Tournament at Cyprian Keyes Golf Club in West Boylston, Mass.
This series of awards began in 2022 to recognize the best in the Futures League from a variety of categories, including broadcasting and social media, food, promotions and events, as well as annual intern and front office staff honors.
The winners were individually recognized on the Futures League’s social media channels in October and early November. The announcement of the annual Organization of the Year Award and William J. Terlecky Executive of the Year Award will be made next week.
BEST SOCIAL MEDIA
New Britain Bees
The New Britain Bees had consistent and creative posts on a variety of their social media platforms (TikTok, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram) over the course of the 2023 season, generating more than 1.5 million impressions across those accounts. The club consistently posted game highlights and updates on their Twitter account, captured postgame player interviews and did a weekly “Almost Friday” post, highlighting the team’s photography, all of which helped to increase the team’s following. The Bees gained over 200 followers on Twitter and over 500 on Instagram during the season. Another highlight was successfully landing two plays on ESPN’s SportsCenter in 2023, with those videos reaching over 40,000 views on Instagram.
Led by Brett Chaves, who serves as Brockton’s director of broadcasting and lead play-by-play voice, the Rox’ media team elevated its production in 2023. A 10-person broadcast staff allowed Brockton to make several additions to game broadcasts on the Futures League Network, including a three-camera set-up that featured an on-field camera for sideline reporting, as well as new graphics packages. Nine of the production team members were college interns, allowing Chaves to offer hands-on experience to his staff in a variety of areas. A veteran in Brockton, Chaves is a current senior at Dean College who also called all four of the Futures League’s NESN telecasts this summer and does play-by-play for the AHL’s Providence Bruins.
BEST BALLPARK FOOD
Westfield Starfires & North Elm Butcher Block
Ahead of their fifth anniversary season, the Starfires significantly upgraded their food and beverage operation with a new joint venture with North Elm Butcher Block, a local staple serving the best barbecue fare in Westfield. A third-generation family business that has served downtown Westfield for 90 years, North Elm served an elevated menu out of its food truck during every home game that helped to increase the team’s attendance at Bullens Field. The lineup of delicious fare included more than the typical ballpark hot dogs and hamburgers, as ribs, burnt ends, brisket, pulled pork and a number of specialty sandwiches were just some of the items available throughout the summer. The partnership was featured in a Western Mass News story by former Starfires and Futures League intern Matt Sottile.
BEST IN-GAME PROMOTION
Nashua Silver Knights
Return of Monkey Boy, Presented by Barstool Sports
On Friday, July 28, Historic Holman Stadium was packed with over 4,000 fans for the anticipated return of “The World Famous Monkey Boy,” an appearance that will be featured in an upcoming Barstool Sports documentary. The legendary character was well known around Holman for his many years of in-game performances with the Nashua Pride, the independent professional team that preceded the Silver Knights from 1997-2008. Monkey Boy made occasional stadium appearances until he was tackled on the field in 2011, but the Silver Knights and Barstool’s project spurred the special return from retirement for one night only. Like old times, Monkey Boy entertained the stadium crowd with his typical on-field routines, dancing on top of the dugout and even joining the Nashua team in celebration of a big win. The documentary is expected to be released by the end of 2023.
BEST COMMUNITY PROMOTION
Vermont Lake Monsters
“Dig In for Pete” Night
The Lake Monsters’ manager since their move to the Futures League in 2021, Wilk was diagnosed in February with Glioblastoma and underwent treatment at the Duke University Cancer Center’s Brain Tumor Clinic. Shortly after Wilk and his family returned to Vermont in late June, the organization dedicated their July 8 game to supporting his cause. A total of $20,000 was raised through the promotion, which included an auction of that night’s special Wilk, No. 45 game-worn jerseys. Generous community support included the opposing Westfield Starfires donating $1,000 to the family and adding a team-signed bat to the auction, while Lake Monsters sponsor Chasella Capital matched the $4,500 raised in the jersey auction. Finally, the English Family matched the donations through the “Dig In for Pete” bracelet sales of $5,000.
BEST NON-BASEBALL EVENT AT BALLPARK
Savannah Bananas’ Banana Ball World Tour
Just days after the Futures League season concluded, on Aug. 16, Brockton went bananas! Campanelli Stadium was the lone Massachusetts facility to host a game on the famed Savannah Bananas’ Banana Ball World Tour. After starting out as a summer collegiate team in the Coastal Plain League in 2016, the Bananas have gone all in on their traveling show over the past two seasons, bringing their entertaining baseball spin-off to fans across the country. The home of the Rox became a part of the first-ever Northeast leg of their most extensive tour yet, drawing yet another full house in Brockton. The game, which received media coverage from throughout the region and was televised on NESN, featured special guest appearances from Red Sox alum Johnny Damon and former Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Doug Flutie, who is also an avid baseball player.
INTERN OF THE YEAR
Elijah Green, Worcester Bravehearts
Green worked under the direction of Bravehearts staffers Aaron Bolduc and Donny Porcaro as a photography/videography intern and was instrumental in adding to the team’s social media presence. The Syracuse University student and Northbridge native not only helped Bolduc to manage the team’s channels day-to-day, but he went above and beyond in a number of areas. He produced various special features including a Father’s Day interview with pitcher Axel Johnson and his dad, and a video documenting the experience of a host family. Green also accompanied players to community events and took photos of the Bravehearts playing in the Futures League All-Star Game in Vermont. He developed a process for delivering in-game content quickly added to online experience and also put in long hours post-game editing and organizing files and delivering them to the proper parties, not to mention doing tarp pulls and picking up trash with the rest of the staff.
STAFF MEMBER OF THE YEAR
Alex Pierotti, Vermont Lake Monsters
Pierotti joined the Lake Monsters in March 2022 as the Director of Concessions & Events before taking on added responsibility in 2023 as Director of Operations after GM Dave Schermerhorn left for a role in the Los Angeles Dodgers organization, stepping up to fill a very large void. During his first season in Vermont, Pierotti stepped right in to create and operate the food and locations that serve the field-level suites at Centennial Field and then expanded menu offerings for this past season. He was also tasked with hiring and maintaining the team’s game day staff. Pierotti led the Lake Monsters’ food and beverage revenue growth by 83 percent in two years and also established a relationship with the Vermont Food Bank to combat food insecurity, raising $20,000 and generating great publicity for the food bank and the team.
For the latest Futures League news and information throughout the year, visit thefuturesleague.com and follow the league’s Facebook, X (formerly Twitter) and Instagram pages.