Front Office Staff
Mississippi Braves Front Office
Game Day Hours
Lobby: Monday-Friday, 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM; Saturday 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM; Closed Sunday
Box Office: Monday-Friday, 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM; Saturday 9:00 AM-Until; Sunday 9:00 AM-Until for 1:00 PM games and 12:00 PM/1:00 PM-Until for 5:00 PM games.
The box office stops taking phone orders 1.5 hours before gates open Monday-Saturday. No phone orders on Sunday. Times subject to change. Call ahead for specific hours.
|Mailing Address:||Shipping Address:|
P.O Box 97389
Pearl, MS 39288
1 Braves Way
Pearl, MS 39208
Mississippi Braves Front Office Staff
Click on each person's name to read more information about our front office staff.
|Steve DeSalvo||General Manager|
Steve DeSalvo, a 55 year-old native of Centereach, New York, is in his 29th season with the Braves' Double-A franchise and his 35th season in professional baseball, 34 of them as a Minor League General Manager.
A Magna Cum Laude graduate of St. John's University in New York City with a Bachelor of Science in Sport Management, DeSalvo began his career in Daytona Beach, FL, as Assistant General Manager of the 1981 Florida State League Champion Daytona Beach Astros.
From there, DeSalvo was promoted to General Manager of the Auburn Astros of the NY-Penn League. Spending two years in Auburn, DeSalvo's club broke an all-time attendance record, earning him the league's 1983 Executive-of-the-Year honors.
In 1985-86, DeSalvo returned to the FSL as General Manager of the Ft. Myers Royals. At the conclusion of the 1986 season, DeSalvo accepted the position of Assistant General Manager of the Tucson Toros, Triple-A affiliate of the Houston Astros. However, three months later, DeSalvo was named General Manager for the Greenville Braves.
DeSalvo has been named Southern League Executive of the Year three times (1990, 1998 and 2007). His peers also honored him in 1997 with the Southern League's Outstanding Community Service Award. In 1992, Greenville captured its first Southern League Championship under DeSalvo's tenure and when Mississippi won the 2008 SL title, it marked the fifth time DeSalvo has been General Manager of a championship team.
In October 2000, DeSalvo was elected Vice President of the Southern League. DeSalvo is the Double-A Braves representative on the Southern League Board of Directors.
He involved the Braves with many charitable organizations in the Greenville, SC, area. In three consecutive years (2001-03), DeSalvo was named Man of the Year by the Upstate Leukemia & Lymphoma Society in his efforts to raise funds in the fight against devastating childhood diseases. In 2001, he was awarded the Vocational Service Award by the Pleasantburg Rotary Club.
DeSalvo was also actively involved with an effort to save middle school sports in cooperation with the School District of Greenville County. His work, through the CORE Initiative, has assisted in allowing basketball, baseball and softball to continue at the middle school level. In 2002, he was awarded the American Medal of Honor for his community service work, a national award presented through the American Biographical Institute.
DeSalvo commuted back and forth from Greenville, SC, to the Jackson area during the 2004 baseball season and became a permanent resident of Rankin County in September 2004. Continuing the community efforts put forth in South Carolina, DeSalvo sits on several community boards including The Salvation Army, The Pearl Chamber of Commerce Executive Board, The Pearl Kiwanis Club and The Louisiana-Mississippi Chapter of the ALS Association.
DeSalvo served as Chairman for the American Red Cross Ride for the Red and as Chairman for the Leukemia Society's Light the Night Walk in 2006. He was also named Corporate Walk Chair for the MS Walk in 2014 and Corporate Walk Chair for the ALS Walk in 2014.
In addition, DeSalvo is a member of the Downtown Jackson Rotary Club and was honored by the Pearl Kiwanis Club by being selected as the 2010-11 Kiwanian of the Year. DeSalvo has involved the Mississippi Braves in numerous charitable events throughout the Jackson Metro area. The M-Braves have donated over $1,000,000 in cash, merchandise and tickets to many area charities and fund-raising events.
In October 2011, after the announced retirement of Southern League President Don Mincher, DeSalvo served as Interim Southern League President until the Southern League Board elected a new president in July 2012. DeSalvo was also recently elected to the Greater Greenville (SC) Baseball Hall of Fame's Class of 2013.
A "lifetime" member of Strathmore's Who's Who for Business Professionals in the United States, Steve and his wife Bonnie reside in Brandon with one of their three children, Brandon. They also have two daughters: Jessica and Hannah. Jessica and her husband Jacob live in Brandon as well. Hannah now resides in Nashville, TN.
|Jim Bishop||Assistant General Manager|
Greenville, SC, native Jim Bishop, 44, begins his 20th year as the club's Assistant General Manager and his 23rd overall with the Double-A Braves. Bishop spent his first 13 years with the organization in Greenville, SC, before the club relocated to Pearl for the 2005 season.
Bishop's wide-ranging duties include assisting to manage the staff in advertising, corporate outing and promotional sales, the hiring and managing of in-season game day employees and the coordination of outside/special events hosted at Trustmark Park. In addition to his work at Trustmark Park, Bishop enjoys donating his time and efforts for various non-for-profit organizations in the community, including the Pearl Kiwanis Club, Brandon High School Athletic Programs and the Salvation Army, just to name a few.
Bishop's tenure with the team began in 1992 as an intern with the Food and Beverage Department, before concluding the season as Visiting Clubhouse Manager. He then progressed through the organization serving as Food & Beverage Director in 1993 and Ticket Manager for the 1994-95 seasons. Bishop was named Assistant General Manager in the fall of 1996.
A 1992 graduate of the University of South Carolina with a Bachelor of Science degree in Sports Administration, Bishop worked for the USC Athletic Department, serving as student equipment manager with the Gamecock football team during his college years. During his tenure, Bishop worked under head coaches Joe Morrison and Sparky Woods, with the highlight of his college years being the Gamecocks facing Indiana in the 1988 Liberty Bowl.
Jim, his wife Krista and their two sons, Jack (17) and Davis (15) reside in Brandon. When not at the ballpark or working with a non-for-profit organization, "Bish", as he is known to friends around the park, enjoys spending time with his family, an occasional round of golf and cheering on the Braves and Gamecocks.
|Dave Burke||Director of Sales|
With over 24 years of experience in sales and baseball management, Dave Burke enters his fourth season as the M-Braves Director of Sales. Burke was appointed General Manager of the Grand Prairie AirHogs, member of the American Association, in October 2007 after serving four years as General Manager of the Hudson Valley Renegades, a Class A Affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays, and three years as General Manager of the Fort Myers Miracle, a Class A Affiliate of the Minnesota Twins.
Under his leadership, the Grand Prairie AirHogs organization was prestigiously named one of the 2009 Top 100 Work Places in Dallas-Fort Worth by the Dallas Morning News. In addition, the team was recognized by the Grand Prairie Recreation & Parks Department as its 2008 "Partner of the Year" and Dave, himself, was recognized as the 2009 "Man of the Year" by the Grand Prairie Chamber of Commerce.
He began his career in baseball with the Burlington Indians, a Class A Affiliate of the Cleveland Indians. As GM of the Fort Myers Miracle, Burke was deeply involved in developing a growth strategy for the team that resulted in leading league attendance for three consecutive years. In his final three years with the team, Burke served as Spring Training Coordinator for the Twins.
Burke was named Executive of the Year for the Florida State League in 2001 and was also a recipient of the Organization of the Year in 2002, an honor that encompassed all Class A minor league teams.
In 2005, Burke was awarded by the Greater Southern Dutchess Chamber of Commerce as a "Top 40 Under 40" for his community involvement and business leadership in the Hudson Valley. For 2006, Burke was selected by the Rotary of the Hudson Valley as "Business Person of the Year."
Also in 2006, Burke was named as League Executive of the year for the New York-Penn League as well representing the Hudson Valley Renegades as the recipient of the John Johnson award for the league.
Burke holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from Rutgers University.
|Matt Taylor||Director of Field and Facility Operations|
One of the premier groundskeepers in all of professional baseball, Matt Taylor returns for his 25th season grooming the playing surface for the Braves' Double-A affiliate. Taylor has been named the Southern League's Groundskeeper-of-the-Year five times, last winning the prestigious honor in 2008.
Originally from Auburndale, FL, Taylor began his career in the Kansas City Royals organization, working his way up to supervisor for the entire complex at Baseball City, FL. He joined the Greenville Braves in 1991 and made the move from Greenville to Pearl in 2005.
Taylor oversaw the building of Trustmark Park from start to finish and was promoted to Field and Facility Operations Manager in February 2005.
Taylor, 47, his wife Teresa, and their 18-year-old son, Zachary, reside in Brandon. In his spare time he enjoys cheering on the Florida Gators.
|Nick Anderson||Ticket Manager|
Nick Anderson enters his seventh full season with the Mississippi Braves. In 2009, he began the season as the Assistant Ticket Manager intern and was named Ticket Manager in the second half of the season. Anderson is responsible for all ticket office functions and acts as a liaison between the Braves and Ticketmaster.
Anderson earned a degree in Sport Management from Delta State University in 2009, where he was on a soccer scholarship. While at Delta State, he was a member of several organizations, including the Student Athletic Advisory Committee.
Originally a native of Natchez, MS, Anderson is a 2004 graduate of Cathedral High School. Anderson currently resides in Jackson with his wife Casey. He enjoys spending his free time outdoors, playing golf, cycling and fishing.
|Sarah Banta||Merchandise Manager|
Sarah Banta enters her 11th season in professional baseball as the Merchandise Manager of the Extra Innings Team Stores at Trustmark Park. She was hired in November 2004 as a Sales Associate at the Northpark Mall kiosk before being promoted to her current position.
Raised in Memphis, TN, Banta graduated from Lyon College in Batesville, AR, in 1987 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education. She served as an Assistant Merchandiser for JC Penney from 1984 until 1989, and worked in El Chico restaurants from 1987-1998. Banta started as a hostess and progressed to a manager position.
Banta's duties with the El Chico chain took her to Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Tennessee and Kentucky. In 1999, Banta moved to College Station, TX, as a General Manager for Schlotzsky's Deli. They relocated her to Pearl, MS, in 2001, so she could be closer to home.
Banta lives in Richland with her son Luke.
|Miranda Black||Media Relations Manager|
Miranda Black enters her sixth season with the Mississippi Braves in 2015 and her third season as Media Relations Manager. After spending two seasons (2010-11) as a media relations/sales trainee, Black was hired as a full time Sales Associate in September 2011. She held that position until transitioning to her current role in March 2013.
Black is responsible for roster moves, game notes, recaps, press releases and newsletters. She oversees graphic design projects, fulfills media/photo requests and manages the M-Braves website and all social media outlets. Black maintains her previous sales role and coordinates the annual school day games. She also assists with executing national MiLB partnerships, general game production and technology.
A 2011 honors graduate from The University of Southern Mississippi, Black earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Sport Management with a minor in Business Administration. During her two years at Southern Miss, Black served as Baseball Secretary and Media Relations Staff Assistant.
Black is a 2009 graduate of Jones County Junior College where she received an Associate of Arts degree in Business Administration. At Jones, she worked in both the athletic and marketing departments while also working in the alumni/foundation office. Black spent two years as Baseball Statistician and served as Sports Editor for The Radionian.
Originally from Ellisville, MS, Black is a 2007 graduate of South Jones High School. Having grown up playing fastpitch softball, she is an avid sports fan, especially baseball and NASCAR. She resides in Brandon.
|Tina Funches||Head Chef|
With 20 years of experience in the food service industry, Tina Funches enters her ninth season with the Mississippi Braves as Head Chef in 2015. She brings a wealth of experience to the Braves as 11 of her 18 years in the business have been as a Manager.
Funches was a Supervisor at Hudspeth Regional Center for five years before leaving in 1999 for a post with Winn Dixie. She served full time as Winn Dixie's Deli-Bakery Manager before leaving that post in 2005. She is a wife and a mother of five, and in her spare time Funches enjoys shopping and spending time with her family.
|Deborah Herrington||Suites and Catering Manager|
Suites and Catering Manager Debbie Herrington, the daughter of an Air Force Colonel that moved around the world throughout her childhood, returns for her 11th season with the Mississippi Braves.
Herrington settled in Mississippi in 1983 and has been here ever since. She moved to Mississippi after graduating from the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Science degree in Health Education. She served as the Program and Communications Director for the Mississippi March of Dimes before moving to Jackson Medical Clinic as the Secretary/Office Manager.
She then worked as Manager of the Parker House Restaurant in Ridgeland before taking her current position with the Braves. As Suites and Catering Manager, Herrington provides catering for all amenities at Trustmark Park including suites, party decks and the picnic pavilion.
Herrington lives in Flowood with her husband Jeff who also works in the food and beverage industry in the Jackson area. They have two children, Kimberly, 28, and Christopher, 24.
|Chris Hornberger||Stadium Operations Manager|
Chris Hornberger enters his first season as a full-time staff member with the Mississippi Braves. Hornberger began the 2014 season as the Stadium Operations Intern. The experience that Chris gained as an intern played an integral part in his life. With the guidance of management and co-workers, he was given the supplies and tools to become successful. He is honored to become the Stadium Operations Manager and will do his best to make sure the stadium runs smoothly.
Chris graduated from The University of Southern Mississippi with a Master's degree in Sports Management in 2010. He had been trying to work in sports for three years after graduating, and is grateful for the opportunity to start his career with the Mississippi Braves.
A native of New Orleans, Chris's family is very important to him and have been supportive of his career aspirations. Hornberger enjoys spending his free time with his girlfriend and her daughter. He also enjoys cheering for the New Orleans Saints, reading and listening to records.
|Christy Shaw||Office Manager|
Christy Shaw enters her 10th year as Office Manager for the Mississippi Braves. She served as receptionist for the M-Braves during their inaugural campaign before accepting her current position in late 2005.
As Office Manager, some of her duties include handling various reports for the club, processing paperwork for seasonal employees, maintaining the payroll clock system, and hiring and managing the in-season game money audit staff.
Originally from Lexington, MS, Shaw is a graduate of Central Holmes Academy, Holmes Community College and also attended Hinds Community College. She is a big fan of the Atlanta Braves, loves horses, enjoys softball, football, being outside and spending time with her family and friends.
|Gene Slaughter||Restaurant Manager|
For the 11th consecutive year, the Farm Bureau Grill will be under the watchful eye of Restaurant Manager, Gene Slaughter. Slaughter served as Food and Beverage Director at the Renaissance International.
Slaughter served as Caterer and Innkeeper for the Fairview Bed and Breakfast, which was named Inn-of-the-Month in "Country Inns" magazine and Inn-of-the-Year in "America's Best Little Hotels and Inns." He then became Customer Service Representative for Griffin Industries in Jackson. Slaughter also served as the Assistant Food & Beverage Director/Director of Banquets at the Hilton Hotel in Jackson.
Slaughter was named Manager-of-the-Year by the Mississippi Restaurant Association and received Ramada's Certification of Achievement in the Food and Beverage Management field. He served on a committee establishing Standard Operating Procedures for Food and Beverage Directors throughout North America and was the President of the Central Mississippi Chapter of Mississippi Hospitality and Lodging Association.
Slaughter, a native of Jackson, MS, lives in Madison with his wife Susan and their Daschund, Maxx.
|Marrieo Stovall||Sales Associate|
Marrieo Stovall, an Artesia, MS, native and Southern Miss Alum, enters his fourth season with the Mississippi Braves and his second as a Sales Associate. Stovall began the 2012 season as a part-time fun zone attendant. After two weeks, he began assisting with video where he was responsible for recording and logging games for player development.
Stovall spent the 2013 season as the M-Braves Play-by-Play Video Coordinator while also serving as a Stadium Operations Intern. After working in three different departments for two seasons, Stovall accepted a full time position with the Braves in September 2013. Baseball is definitely one of Stovall's passions and he says he'll do whatever it takes to keep climbing the baseball ladder. From working with kids to operating the stadium on a daily basis and being responsible for editing, logging and charting M-Braves home and road games for instructional purposes, it seems like Stovall has done it all in his short career.
In his spare time, he enjoys watching sports and cheering for his beloved Atlanta Braves, San Francisco 49ers, Mississippi State Bulldogs and Southern Miss Golden Eagles. However, the most important thing to Stovall is being able to hang out with friends and family.
|Felicia Thompson||Concessions Manager|
Originally from Crystal Springs, Felicia Thompson, enters her seventh year as Concessions Manager and her third year as Commissary Manager. After graduating from Crystal Springs High School, she attended Tougaloo College where she received a BA in Education with an emphasis in Health and Recreation and Community Health.
Previously Thompson worked as a bartender/server at Applebee's in Jackson (1999-2003) while attending Tougaloo College. After graduating, she moved to Oxford where she took a job bartending at Chili's. After a year of bartending, she was offered a management position at the Chili's in Jackson.
After leaving Chili's in 2004, she accepted the position of Administrative Assistant for the Mississippi Head Start Association where she was employed until accepting her current position with the M-Braves. Felicia resides in Jackson with her puppy, Kendall.
|Patrick Westrick||Graphic Design Manager|
2015 marks Patrick's seventh season in Minor League Baseball but first with the Braves. After spending the last three seasons (2011-14) working with the Albuquerque Isotopes as the Retail & Graphic Design Manager, he couldn't pass up the opportunity to become the Graphic Design Manager in Pearl and is very excited to be part of the Braves family!
When not at the ballpark, Patrick enjoys cheering for his Alma Mater Western Kentucky Hilltoppers, exploring National Parks across the country, going on college football/NASCAR road trips and enjoying all the local, southern food in the South.
|Jan Williams||Corporate Hospitality Manager|
Jan Williams enters her first season as a full time staff member with the Mississippi Braves. In 2009 and 2014, Williams worked as a part time employee in the ticket office while teaching high school full time. In July of 2014, she began interning in the ticket office and was promoted to a full time staff member in August. Her responsibilities include group sales and hospitality.
Williams graduated Summa Cum Laude from Mississippi College in 2005, where she majored in Spanish. While at MC, she spent time in Spain and has recently returned from a trip to Costa Rica.
Williams has been married for 18 years to her husband Charlie and has two daughters, Abbie and Allie, ages 16 and 17. She is excited about this new opportunity and can't wait for the upcoming season.
|Kyle Tait||Radio Broadcaster|
Kyle Tait, the 2014 Southern League Broadcaster of the Year, enters his fifth season as the "Voice of the M-Braves" on WYAB 103.9 FM. Tait began his play-by-play career in 2007 calling Georgia Tech baseball. Since then, he has called more than 800 baseball games, including over 500 with the Double-A Braves.
During the offseason, Tait voices audiobooks for Audible and iTunes, and also serves as the public address announcer for Belhaven University football, basketball and baseball. In 2012, he hosted "The Kyle Tait Show", an evening drive-time sports talk show in Jackson.
A native of Atlanta, Tait graduated from Georgia Tech in 2010 with a bachelor's degree in Management. He resides in Brandon with his wife Megan and two dogs, AJ and Indy. For more on his work, visit www.HearKyleTait.com.
|Derrel Palmer||PA Announcer|
Derrel Palmer is the "Voice of the Mississippi Braves."
After starting the 2005 season as a spectator behind the home dugout, Palmer took over the PA position in the fourth inning of game two at Trustmark Park and never looked back. Once given the opportunity to perform, he proved to management that he not only had the skills to announce, but also the ability to assist in coordinating the activities of the production room. 2015 is his 11th season to announce all Mississippi Braves home games as well as most other games played at Trustmark Park, including the College Series Games featuring Miss. State, Ole Miss and Southern Miss and the MHSAA State Baseball Championships.
After spending over 23 years in the insurance and financial services industry, Palmer made a career change by becoming General Manager of the local ESPN Radio affiliate, WPBQ 1240 AM. There he was the play-by-play voice for Millsaps Majors Athletics including football, basketball and baseball. In the fall of 2007, he began a weekday sports talk show airing from 11-1 PM Monday-Friday talking about local high school and college sports as well as other sporting events in the Jackson Metro area.
In 2009, DP became the Play-by-Play broadcaster for Pearl High School Athletics. The broadcasts are aired locally on The Pirate Media Network on television and radio as well as globally, audio as well as video, on the internet. He also does announcing and event coverage for the City of Pearl with Pearl Municipal Broadcasting.
Palmer has been married to Melinda for over 37 years and is an active member of Pinelake Church where he has served as Elder, Deacon Chairman, Worship Choir President and Bible Study Leader. Currently he serves as a Decision Counselor and as a Greeter. He has participated in a number of short-term mission projects to Mexico. In his spare time, Palmer is an avid golfer.