By Zach James
Assistant Sports Editor
It’s not every day that a Major League Baseball manager visits Clinton.
It will happen Monday as newly appointed Cincinnati Reds manager Bryan Price will serve as keynote speaker during the Clinton LumberKings’ Hot Stove Banquet at Eagle Point Park Lodge.
“It’s the unofficial kickoff to our season,” LumberKings general manager Ted Tornow said. “It’s the lull between last year and cleaning up and starting for this year. It gets people to start thinking about baseball when it’s 20-below outside.”
How did the LumberKings manage to reel in a big-league manager?
Well, Price’s wife, Judy, the former Judy Sattler, hails from Clinton, and Bryan Price will spend a few days in town before he has to start thinking about his first season as Reds manager replacing Dusty Baker.
Price has been the Reds pitching coach the past four seasons before being promoted to manager on Oct. 22. He also served as Mariners pitching coach from 2000 to 2005.
“Every once in awhile, I’m able to pull a rabbit out of a hat,” Tornow said with a smile. “It’s a long convoluted story, but it’s a neat story.”
“We’re doing something we hope the community enjoys, and this town knows its baseball and loves its baseball, so we think they’ll come out and have a good time,” Tornow said.
Clinton media relations director Chad Seely says there are tickets left for the event.
“There are tickets still available, but sales have been up for this event a little bit,” Seely said.
There will also be a silent auction and raffle to partake in on Monday.
“We have a lot of signed merchandise from Mariners prospects,” Seely said. “We have some signed baseballs from Goose Gossage, and other teams sent us some stuff, too, so I think fans will be excited to see what’s up for auction.”
The reason for selecting the date for Monday was because if they had scheduled it for Sunday, the LumberKings staff were afraid of the idea of the Chicago Bears or Green Bay Packers advancing to this weekend’s NFL conference championships, thus creating a conflict that now has been avoided.
“We wanted to stay away from those,” Seely said. “We figured they would be in the hunt, so we wanted to avoid that problem. There’s a lot of tickets left, so we encourage fans to come out.”
Doors open with a 6 p.m. social hour and dinner with the program slated to start at 7 p.m. Advance tickets, which can be bought up until the event by Monday, are $25 for adults and $15 for children who are younger than 12. The ticket covers the meal and program.
Tickets will also be available at the door at $30 for adults; $20 for children. Contact the LumberKings’ main office at (563) 242-0727 to purchase tickets.