Bowling Green, KY - The Bowling Green Hot Rods, Class A affiliate of the American League East Champion Tampa Bay Rays, introduced a new cog in their front office on Friday. Ryan Gates was named the second General Manager in team history, filling the position that was opened when team President Brad Taylor earned a promotion in December.
"This is a great day for our franchise and our fans," said Taylor. "Ryan brings a wealth of experience and new ideas that will compliment and strengthen the value and entertainment we offer families when they come to the ballpark."
Gates brings a decade of baseball experience to the Hot Rods, most recently serving at the helm of the Lake Erie Crushers, an expansion franchise that began play near Cleveland, Ohio, in 2009. Under Gates' leadership, the Crushers average more than 3,100 fans per game, ranking fourth in the independent Frontier League in 2010. After increasing attendance and revenue each year, and securing the 2011 Frontier League All-Star Game for the club, Gates was named Frontier League Executive of the Year last fall.
"I am honored and excited to join a great franchise and organization," said Gates, who has held the GM title for his respective teams for the last four seasons. "I look forward to becoming part of the community and joining a hard-working staff as we get ready for Opening Night and an exciting third season of Hot Rods baseball."
Before launching the Lake Erie franchise, Gates spent five seasons, the final two as General Manager, with the West Virginia Power, a one-time opponent of the Hot Rods in the South Atlantic League. During his run with the Power, the team created a new identity when it opened a new downtown ballpark in 2005. The team also set three consecutive attendance records during his time, including his first year as GM in 2007.
"After a nationwide search for a General Manager to team up with Brad, we couldn't be more pleased with the selection of Ryan," said Art Solomon, owner of the Hot Rods and their parent company, DSF Sports. "I'm confident that our fans and the businesses in South Central Kentucky will be really pleased with our choice."
Community involvement has been a hallmark for Gates in each of his previous stops. Most recently in Northern Ohio he sat on the board of the French Creek YMCA and served on the Leadership Committee of the American Heart Association Heart Walk.
His baseball career began after earning his undergraduate and MBA degrees in Marketing from Indiana University. In 1998, he completed an internship with the Class AA Lake Erie SeaWolves and eventually advanced to Director of Sales and Promotions. After a three-year stint with Indiana University Sports Properties, Gates joined the West Virginia franchise as Director of Business Development beginning with the 2004 season.
Citizens First Opening Night is just 74 days away. The Hot Rods open their third season with on Monday, April 11, at 6:35 PM against the Fort Wayne TinCaps (San Diego Padres). 2011 Mini-Plans are on sale featuring 6-Game, 10-Game, and 17-Game options, all with a variety of free incentives. For more information, visit www.bghotrods.com or call the Hot Rods Ticket Office at 270.901.2121.