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Inside The Clubhouse with Rick Muntean

12/14/2007 11:18 AM -

This week’s Inside The Clubhouse features a Q&A with T-Bones General Manager Rick Muntean.  Rick answered your questions and talked about the off-season, the 2008 season, and his love of the Ohio State Buckeyes.

What do you and the rest of the front office do in the off-season? – Mitch C., Overland Park, KS

This is a great question.  There’s a common misconception among fans about what happens in the off-season.  A lot of folks think we go home once the last game is over, like a lot of players.  Even a lot of media folks think we just go away.  I remember, in 1982, I had a buddy in the media – Kevin Young – and he said to me after the season ended, “you just going to go home until next year then, huh?”  And I said to him, “Kevin, I’m here all year, just like you.”

The truth is that we (front office staff) are here all year long.  We’re in the community, making speeches, planning for the next season, setting up promotions, securing sponsorships.  It’s a full-time, year-long gig that doesn’t end when the last out is made.

What is the most challenging aspect of the off-season for you, as a general manager? – Billy, Schaumburg, IL

The fact that there are no games.  During the season, I call it being “on.”  Being “on” means you have to be ready to take care of anything at any time, all the time.  So when the season ends and there isn’t that immediate tension of having to be “on,” it can sometimes make for a difficult transition.  There isn’t that thrill of having to put on a game.

Did you go to baseball’s Winter Meetings in Nashville this year?  What was that like? – John U., Gary, IN

I did get to go to the Winter Meetings this year and I had a great time.  The Northern League had a wonderful meeting there, put on by Harry Stavrenos.  We talked about what worked last year and what didn’t work, and what we can look at changing for 2008.  It was a very positive experience.

The Northern League is moving forward next season with 6 extremely strong teams.  We have great facilities in our league; there 3 beautiful stadiums around the Chicago area, Winnipeg has a ballpark right downtown.  2008 is going to be an awesome year

It was also a great opportunity for me to catch up with friends I haven’t seen in years.  I’ve been in baseball for over 25 years and there are a ton of guys I just don’t get to see very often.  It was fun seeing my friends again and catching up.  Another good thing about the Winter Meetings is going to the trade show and getting to learn about all the new promotional items and ideas for the new season.

Does the T-Bones front-office staff stay at CommunityAmerica Ballpark in the off-season? – Dave, Kansas City, MO

We actually move our staff across the street to the T-Bones Team Store at the Legends.  We have office space over there and work from that location until the season starts back up.

What can T-Bones fans expect for the 2008 season? – Dustin, Liberty, MO

Well, we have the Wizards playing at our stadium, so the most immediate thing will be the different look of the playing surface.  We’ll play on an all-sod infield, with only the dirt base pits remaining.  So, cosmetically, that will be a change.  You might recall what the Royals field looked like back when they had Astroturf.  It’s going to be like that, but with real grass.

We’re definitely excited and happy to have the Wizards with us for the next two years.  The Ehlert family, our owners John and his son Adam, did an incredible job attracting the Wizards to CommunityAmerica Ballpark and the T-Bones organization is thrilled to be working with them.

We’re also going to be going into 2008 with Andy McCauley, and an experienced roster.  We always have some new promotions lined up, along with some old favorites.

A major thing we’re looking forward to is additional seating being added to the left-field berm.  We’re excited to be adding some seats there and fans should be excited about that, too.  We’re also working on some parking issues.

One thing I do want to stress to all our T-Bones fans is that all of us, myself, the whole front-office, are disappointed with the way last season ended and not getting to the playoffs.  However, I am equally confident in our manager, Andy McCauley, and that the T-Bones will have a banner year in 2008.

I have partial season tickets and would like to know how I can get reserved parking.  Will we see this as an option to purchase?  Any chance of expanding the parking lot? Thanks. – Cory, Kansas City, KS.

We are working on additional parking for 2008.  Right now there is nowhere to “expand” the lot.  We can’t sell reserved parking due to a lack of space.  And we love to be able to offer free parking. 

Any chance you will expand the handicapped seating?  It can be frustrating for fans who cannot manage the steps to be turned away due to lack of seating. – Steve, Bonner Springs, KS

We will add 12 handicapped seats for 2008.  They will be behind season seating and will be nice folding chairs.

Where’s your favorite spot to watch a T-Bones game at CommunityAmerica Ballpark? – Jim, Kansas City, KS

I really like sitting out on the centerfield home run deck.  Another great spot is in the rocking chairs on the all-you-can-eat terrace out in right field.

How do you spend your free time in the off-season? – Cynthia, Basehor, KS

It’s nice to actually have some free time when the season is over.  I spend a lot of it reintroducing myself to my family and friends.

You’ve been with the T-Bones for a while now.  What is your favorite memory of your time here? – Chris, Kansas City, KS

My all-time, all-timer has got to be the Northern League all-star game in 2006 when Buck O’Neil had two at-bats.  That was an incredible experience.

Word on the street is that you’re a pretty good cook.  What’s your favorite meal to make?  Do you ever watch Top Chef on TV? Randy B., Olathe, KS

Without a doubt it’s Trapper’s Peak tenderloin with Roquefort mushroom sauce.  I serve it with gratin dauphenois and pistachioed carrots.  Dessert is always bananas foster.

As far as watching Top Chef, I catch every now and then.  Some of those guys are really good, but I could probably take ‘em.  I tell you who I don’t like on that show, the bald-headed judge (Tom Colicchio – ed.). He’s kind of a jerk.

You’re from Ohio, what are your thoughts on Ohio State playing for the national championship in college football next month? – Kirk, Lenexa, KS

I tell you what, I am shocked at the attitude toward my Ohio State Buckeyes in the heartland.  If there’s a more hated team out there I’d like to see it.  I have seen more folks reveling in last year’s defeat by Florida than just about anything else.  But I guarantee you this: this year’s result will be different.  Jim Tressel is the best coach in the country.


Thanks to Rick for answering your questions.  Next week's Inside The Clubhouse will feature a Q&A with T-Bones designated hitter Calvin Pickering.  If you have any questions you would like to ask Calvin, email Tommy Thrall at tthrall@tbonesbaseball.com.