Mudcats do it right on big night

ZEBULON -- The Carolina Mudcats knew exactly what kind of opportunity they had Monday night as host of the 2008 Southern League All-Star Game.

And with hard work, lots of planning and a little bit of luck with the weather, the event went about as flawlessly as possible in Five County Stadium.

"It's really been a good turnout, especially considering the weather," Mudcats general manager Joe Kremer said. "The Miracle League game was absolutely heart-wrenching and fantastic, and then the (All-Star) game was entertaining. All the mascots, along with the fireworks, gave fans their money's worth tonight."

The Miracle League of the Triangle is a league for school-aged children with special needs. The teams played to a 14-14 tie and set the tone for a competitive nightcap, which the North Division won 6-1 thanks in part to Mudcats second baseman and game MVP Chris Coghlan's three-run homer.

But as good as the games were on the field, they weren't the only forms of entertainment.
Mascots such as BirdZerk, Reggy the Purple Party Dude and Spanky the 9-foot Monkey were up to no good all night, picking on umpires, showing off their dance moves and shooting silly string at youngsters.

The added entertainment was a hit with fans.

Steve and Amy Crute try and get to at least one game every Mudcats homestand with sons Jacob, who's 8-years-old, and Jackson, 3.
"The game is pretty much the same, but it's all this extra stuff that the boys enjoy," Steve said.

"I like BirdZerk the best," Jacob said without hesitation.

Another hit with fans was the Grand Slam All-Star package -- a general admission seat and all you can eat and drink for $42.50.

"It's great...we absolutely got our money's worth," raved Darryl Cooner, a fan from Knightsdale. "When beer's $5 a cup, and then burgers and everything ... we probably ate about $70 worth of food.'

The crowd of 5,667 was treated to a 15-minute fireworks show to wrap up the festivities.

"I really think it's gone as well as we could ever expect," Kremer said. "We wanted to shine this year. Wilson is growing, Rocky Mount is growing and the area from here to Raleigh is growing and we just wanted to put our best foot forward."

Mission accomplished. | 265-7879