The award recognizes the Senators as an outstanding franchise that has achieved long-term success in Minor League Baseball. The announcement was made by Baseball America online this morning and is in their current print issue.
"On behalf our our ownership group, front office and game day staff and Senators fans throughout Central Pennsylvania, I humbly and gratefully accept this honor," said Senators President Kevin Kulp. "We are very blessed to work in an industry where we can impact so many people in so many different ways."
"What makes this Freitas Award so special is that the winning organization really has to prove itself over a long period of time. We have a terrific full time staff and game day staff that work tirelessly to make the Metro Bank Park experience so special. We can all share in this award and will use it to springboard us to our best year yet in 2012. We thank Baseball America for the prestigious award and want to congratulate the winners in the other classifications (Colorado Sky Sox, Fort Wayne TinCaps, and Vancouver Canadians)."
"The Harrisburg Senators present a great story regarding their focus on the fan experience. The Senators have revitalized attendance with investments in Metro Bank Park to in-game entertainment to smarter operations. We are pleased to recognize the Harrisburg Senators as the 2011 Bob Freitas Award winner for the Double-A level classification in minor league baseball," said Lee Folger, President/Publisher of Baseball America.
In 2011 the Senators drew their 6,000,000th fan since rejoining the Eastern League in 1987, had their two most attended games ever (8,637 on 9/1/11 and 8,092 on 7/4/11), and had their best single-season per game average (4,221). Street and Smith's Sports Business Journal once again recognized the Harrisburg/Hershey area as the best Minor League Sports market. This marks the second consecutive time the area has been recognized as the number one market.
In continuing with their strong commitment to the community, the Senators hosted their first Hot Stove Dinner with proceeds benefitting the Harrisburg RBI program. All told in 2011, the Senators donated over $70,000 in tickets, merchandise and cash to local charitable organizations. The front office, mascots and players also made over 150 appearances in the community in 2011. Locally, the Senators were recognized by the Central Penn Business Journal as one of the top 50 fastest growing companies in central Pennsylvania.
The Senators become one of just three Double-A teams to win the Bob Freitas award twice, joining Reading and Tulsa as two-time winners. Harrisburg previously won the award in 1993. This year is the 10th time an Eastern League team has won the award since its inception in 1989.