JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp have garnered the Southern League's 2019 Promotional Trophy, with First Coast News anchor and reporter Mia O'Brien winning the circuit's 2019 Sports Media Award for her coverage of the club, the league announced on Monday. Award winners were selected by a vote of the league member clubs' general managers.
"We take so much pride in our peers recognizing us for the Southern League's Promotional Trophy," said Jumbo Shrimp general manager Harold Craw. "Led by Director of Promotions & Special Events David Ratz, there are many people on our team who create and implement innovative promotions that provide Affordable Family Fun to Northeast Florida. We are also very grateful for the coverage of Mia O'Brien, who is an incredibly deserving recipient of the league's Sports Media Award."
The 2019 season saw the Jumbo Shrimp continue to cement their reputation both within Jacksonville and nationwide as a franchise with unprecedented promotions of national relevance, culminating in the club's second Promotional Trophy in the last three years. The club's Vice Night was nominated for MiLB's May Promotion of the Month, featuring a new logo and record-breaking merchandise line. The promotion took home ESPN's Minor League Promotion of the Week and earned a spot in the voting round of MiLB's Golden Bobblehead award for best jersey. In June, the Jumbo Shrimp's Ramen Noodle Appreciation Night, which included a Shrimp Ramen Noodle pillow giveaway, took home an MiLB Promo of the Month nomination and Golden Bobblehead award nomination.
The Jumbo Shrimp's Florida Man Night earned national recognition, with fans watching the club's staff break a weird Florida law each inning while raising awareness for causes such as mental illness and addiction. ESPN also featured the Jumbo Shrimp's World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail (Sauce) Party. The club's take on a Jacksonville tradition saw fans break the world record for most party poppers popped at one time, as well as a postgame lighted Shrimp Drop from center field to kick off a fireworks extravaganza.
Jacksonville's promotional schedule culminated with a literal "Two for Tuesday." The Jumbo Shrimp partnered with local charity Dreams Come True to host Jacksonville Dreamer Junior Ribeiro, who is fighting cancer, and his father as the only two fans in a fully-staffed ballpark. The dream night tailored for Junior also set a Southern League attendance record of just two fans. creative
"I am so proud of our staff in Jacksonville for continuing to find creative and bold promotions that make coming to a game at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville such an incredible experience," owner Ken Babby said. "Their innovation and execution of these ideas are integral for providing Affordable Family Fun in Northeast Florida, and we are incredibly grateful to the other Southern League franchises for recognizing the Jumbo Shrimp for this award."
A native of Freehold, N.J., O'Brien consistently found original methods of covering the Jumbo Shrimp throughout the 2019 season. She dressed up and worked as a bat girl for a Jumbo Shrimp game in June, helped rub baseballs, set up sunflower seeds and drinks in the dugouts, retrieved bats and foul balls and also provided the umpires with baseballs throughout the game. In addition, O'Brien featured the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville with a comprehensive guide to find the venue's best seat, set from different fan perspectives during a Jumbo Shrimp game. She also produced a live interview of Babby during her coverage of the club's Florida Man Night.
O'Brien's work also included feature stories that examined relief pitcher Brett Graves' YouTube channel that explained the life of a minor league baseball player, starting pitcher Jordan Yamamoto and his clubhouse barbershop and a unique profile of top Marlins prospect Sixto Sanchez .
"I am not only flattered to receive this award, but that Scott Kornberg and Roger Hoover nominated me for it," O'Brien said. "Jacksonville is a tremendous sports town with incredible storytellers, and it is an honor to be a part of this community. As I approach the one-year mark on my time here, I cannot thank the Jumbo Shrimp - and the sports community at large - for truly making the First Coast home."
ABOUT THE JUMBO SHRIMP: The Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp offer affordable family fun at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville. Their inaugural season garnered the Southern League's Don Mincher Organization of the Year, Promotional Trophy and Jimmy Bragan Executive of the Year, won by General Manager Harold Craw. The club added its second Promotional Trophy in three years following the 2019 season. To experience the excitement with the terrific value of ticket and group options, call the Jumbo Shrimp at (904) 358-2846 or visit www.jaxshrimp.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.