The Pre-Season Banquet at the Arcata Community Center was an unqualified success, and marked the official kick off of the 64th season of Crabs baseball.
The highlight of the evening was the guest speaker, former Crabs star Dane Iorg. Iorg, a Blue Lake native, played for the Crabs between 1968 and 1970 and went on to play for the St. Louis Cardinals and the Kansas City Royals, picking up two World Series rings as a bonus.
Speaking to an enthusiastic crowd, Dane told tales of his days in the majors, and sharing stories about team mate Ozzie Smith, manager Whitey Herzog, and opponents Nolan Ryan and Roger Clemens. Recounting his thrilling game-winning single in game six of the 1985 World Series between the Kansas City Royals and his former St. Louis Cardinals team, he mesmerized the crowd of 400 Humboldt County baseball fans.
Throughout his speech, he emphasized that his major-league dreams were made possible by the foundation in baseball he received with Blue Lake Little League, Local Pony League, Arcata High Tigers Baseball, American Legion Baseball and the Humboldt Crabs. His energetic, humorous and inspiring speech will live in the hearts of Crabs fans, and spark nostalgic memories far into future seasons.
The Crabs also honored the national champion HSU softball team. The players and received an enthusiastic welcome from the assembled crowd, and Coach Frank Cheek received a standing ovation after his remarks.
Crabs Manager Matt Nutter introduced his coaching staff and the 2008 Crabs team. Fans had an opportunity to meet the players and talk some baseball with the new team and with friends attending the dinner. New and returning Ballpark Staff received a hearty welcome from fans, and had a bit of a dress-rehearsal for their summer jobs.
At the close of the dinner, Crabs President Randy Robertson declared the 2008 season officially under way. It's time to Play Ball, and we'll see you at the ballpark!