Shorebirds Announce Changes to Hot Stove Banquet - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Shorebirds Announce Changes to Hot Stove Banquet

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Salisbury, Md. – The Delmarva Shorebirds, class "A affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles, regret to announce that Orioles Executive Vice President Dan Duquette will be unable to attend the 12th Annual Hot Stove Banquet on Saturday due to the memorial services of Orioles legend Earl Weaver, which are also scheduled for Saturday, January 26 in Sarasota, Florida. 

The Shorebirds Hot Stove Banquet will still go on as scheduled. 

"Although Dan Duquette is unable to attend due to the unexpected passing of an Orioles legend, we are still confident that the event will serve as a great kick off for the 2013 season," said Shorebirds general manager Chris Bitters.  "We have a number of other guest speakers that we are confident our fans will enjoy hearing from as we kick off the 2013 season!"

The Shorebirds have organized a great list of speakers to replace expected keynote speaker, Dan Duquette. 

Kent Qualls, the new Orioles Director of Minor League Baseball Operations, will speak at the hot stove banquet.  He spent 16 years in Major League Baseball with the Montreal Expos and Boston Red Sox primarily working in scouting, player development and Latin American operations to develop major league talent.  Qualls has worked side-by-side with Dan Duquette for many years. 

In 2013, Qualls will be responsible for overseeing the entire operation of the Orioles minor league system.  His role is critical in developing future talent for the Baltimore Orioles. 

Recently announced 2013 Shorebirds manager Luis Pujols will also address the crowd at the Delmar VFW.  Pujols, the cousin of Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim first baseman Albert Pujols, brings nine years of major league baseball playing experience to the Shorebirds.  The defensive-minded catcher spent seven seasons with the Houston Astros (1977-83), one season with the Kansas City Royals (1984) and one season with the Texas Rangers (1985).  In 316 career games played, he recorded 164 hits, 81 RBIs and six home runs for his career.  His best offensive season came in 1981 with the Astros, when he batted .239 in 40 games played. 

Pujols' coaching career began in 1993, when Felipe Alou offered him a job as the Montreal Expos first base coach.  Pujols held the position through the 1999 season.  In 2000, he became the bench coach for the Expos.  The following season, Pujols transitioned to the minor leagues and served as the manager of the Erie SeaWolves (Double-A, Detroit Tigers).  He led the SeaWolves to an 84-56 regular season and a spot in the Eastern League playoffs.  In 2002, he was promoted to bench coach for the Detroit Tigers.  Six games into the season, Tigers manager Phil Garner was fired and Pujols was named interim manager.  His coaching career came full circle in 2003 when he rejoined forces with Felipe Alou, who was now the manager of the San Francisco Giants.  Pujols served as the first base coach of the Giants from 2003-2006.

Former Shorebirds manager Ryan Minor is also among those that will address fans.  Minor, who was recently named the manager of the Frederick Keys (Advanced-A, Orioles) for 2013 season, spent the last three seasons as the manager of the Shorebirds.  In total, he was on the Shorebirds coaching staff for five seasons, the longest run of any coach in the history of the franchise.  Minor, who replaced Cal Ripken, Jr. when his consecutive games streak came to an end on September 20, 1998, also played for the Shorebirds during the 1997.  He pieced together one of the best offensive seasons in Shorebirds franchise history, hitting .307 with 24 home runs and 97 runs-batted-in. 

MASNsports.com Orioles blogger Roch Kubatko is also scheduled to speak about the experience of covering the Orioles during their postseason run in 2012.  Kubatko authors the popular blog, School of Roch, on MASNsports.com.  Kubatko spent 22 years at The Baltimore Sun, where he began covering the Orioles in 1997.  He joined MASN in August of 2008 as a sports reporter and on-air talent.  In addition to his writing, Kubatko appears frequently on a variety of Orioles related MASN programming. 

Shorebirds executives Pat Fillipone, 7th Inning Stretch President, and Chris Bitters, Shorebirds General Manager, will also speak about the state of the Shorebirds and what fans can expect during the 2013 season. 

Timing for the event remains unchanged.  The cocktail hour will begin at 5pm and continue until 6pm.  Shortly after a brief introduction, a buffet style Eastern Shore dinner will be served.  Following dinner, the above speakers will entertain banquet attendees.  There will be an interactive question and answer period with the speakers to conclude the banquet. 

The silent auction, which will benefit the United Way of the Lower Eastern Shore,  will open at 5pm and close at 7pm.  Premium items include: a Frank Robinson autographed 8x10 photo, a Nick Markakis autographed baseball, a Cal Ripken, Jr. Hall of Fame plaque, four rounds of golf at Nutters Crossing Golf Club, an Earl Weaver autographed baseball and much more.   

The Shorebirds also have raffle items for fans to win.  Raffle tickets will be available for purchase near the main entrance of the Delmar VFW banquet room.  Proceeds from the raffle will also directly benefit the United Way of the Lower Eastern Shore. 

For more information about the event, contact Shawn Schoolcraft at 410-219-3112 ext. 168.

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