(ROCHESTER, MN) The Madison Mallards and their general manager Conor Caloia swept the postseason awards announced at the Northwoods League’s annual fall meetings, which wrapped up Friday in Mankato. Caloia was named as the Northwoods League Executive of the Year for 2011 while the Madison Mallards were honored as the 2011 Organization of the Year.
The Madison Mallards set new attendance records in 2011, drawing more fans to their games at Warner Park than any other Summer Collegiate Baseball team ever has. In fact, while shattering their own attendance highs both in total (213,467) and per-game average (6,278), the Mallards out-drew 85 percent of affiliated Minor League Baseball teams each night and 100 percent of independent minor league teams.
Warner Park, known to many as “The Duck Pond”, went through a $1.8 million renovation prior to the 2011 season. The fan experience at the ballpark was improved in a variety of ways, including chairback seating throughout a new grandstand with the seats closer to the field than before. A concourse above the tenth row in each section runs through the entire grandstand so fans don’t miss any of the action. Much of the old grandstand was recycled with portions of it being used to construct a club level area behind home plate and a new team store.
“This year presented a dynamic opportunity for our staff to change the way our fans interact with the Mallards for years to come,” said Mallards’ President Vern Stenman. “The stadium renovation, and unveiling a new logo, coupled with our staffs tireless effort resulted in a truly memorable year. This award puts into clear focus how great our fans are and how lucky we are to call Madison home. Our fans inspire us to constantly improve and I think that creates an environment for Conor and his staff to be the most innovative and hard working staff in all of baseball.”
Caloia is completing his second year as the general manager of the Mallards. He started his career with the Mallards organization as an intern in 2003, eventually becoming the assistant general manager before leaving the franchise in 2006. After pursuing some opportunities elsewhere in sports, Caloia returned to Madison at the beginning of 2010 as the GM of the Mallards.
“It is an honor to win this award after another great year for the Northwoods League,” Caloia said. “I want to thank Steve Schmitt (Mallards’ Owner) and Vern Stenman for the opportunity. This is truly a team award and I am lucky to work with a great crew, both full-time and seasonal. I am looking forward to an even better 2012!”
These annual awards are determined by a vote by the member franchises of the Northwoods League.
The Northwoods League has more teams, plays more games, and draws more fans than any other Summer Collegiate Baseball League in North America.