Residents of the Roanoke and New River Valleys will take any chance they have to spend a day outside; enjoying some sunshine, some beautiful views, and some good friends. The experience at Haley Toyota Field at Salem Memorial Ballpark is no exception. This is the home of Salem’s minor league baseball team, the Salem Red Sox. As the Advanced-A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox, they are the only professional baseball team in the Roanoke Valley and only one of two professional sports teams in the area.
Roanoke Valley’s Rich History of Baseball
Baseball has been a long standing tradition in the Roanoke-Salem market. In fact, MiLB.com traces the beginning of Salem’s long-standing presence in the minor leagues back to 1939. The Roanoke Red Sox started up in the 1940’s and played in the region through 1953. With a few other professional teams coming and going in between, the region’s team joined the Carolina League in 1968 and has been flourishing ever since.
When the Salem Memorial Baseball Stadium opened in August of 1995, it was home to the popular Salem Avalanche, an affiliate of the Colorado Rockies. The Salem Avalanche enjoyed success over the next 14 seasons until joining the Boston Red Sox affiliate organization before the 2009 season.
Fast forward to today, the Salem Red Sox team has been bringing quality family fun to area residents for the past 8 years and has been a partner with HomeTown Bank since 2012.
A True Hometown Team
The Salem Red Sox provides more than just a place for families to enjoy a good ball game. They bring teams and their families from all over the country, bringing money to the local economy and giving visitors a chance to see all that our region has to offer. Furthermore, they provide employment to area residents with 15 full-time employees, 10 seasonal staff members, and about 150 employees that work on game days. Even the projects and partnerships they take on are locally focused:
“We always try to spend our money locally with any projects that we have done. While we are unable to keep all money local, we always look at local businesses before going elsewhere,” says Allen Lawrence, General Manager of the Sox.
HomeTown Bank has been a supporting partner since 2012 and in May and June, the Salem Red Sox are able to return the favor with tickets for HomeTown’s referral program. When asked about their relationship, Lawrence said the partnership just made sense:
“HomeTown Bank is the local bank and we like to think of ourselves as the hometown team. Their name is very well known in the market and we feel our partnership with them is great for both businesses.”
“As a community bank dedicated to helping our community grow, we recognize many of the great entertainment and economic benefits the Red Sox provides to residents and visitors of our area and we enjoy supporting this pastime,” Carolyn Kiser, Vice President & Director of Marketing.
Both HomeTown Bank and the Salem Red Sox offer a Kid’s Club for its patrons; yet another example of aligned values for their region. Both of their mascots get a lot of attention and Homer has even had the privilege of throwing the first pitch during a home game.
More Excitement Ahead
This year, the team will be celebrating their 50th year in the Carolina League. The Salem Red Sox will get to host the Carolina League All-Star Game on June 19th and 20th this year, bringing 9 other teams and their fans and executives to Salem. Both Salem and Roanoke are expected to receive quite the economic boost for this event, and the team is happy to host!
If you can’t make it to the big day, there are plenty of other great games to attend. Download the schedule here!