Eastern Wake: Sports

Carolina Mudcats front office changing for 2015

The Carolina Mudcats have promoted longtime general manager Joe Kremer to vice president for the Atlanta Braves’ Single-A farm club.

Kremer has led the Mudcats’ front office since Steve Bryant purchased the original team in 1989.

Bryant, the majority owner and president of the Mudcats, praised his right-hand man for the years of hard work in helping the Mudcats realize their vision of Five County Stadium that was put in place years ago.

“Joe is a quintessential professional and his 27-year tenure has guided the Mudcats from creation through the upcoming 25th season in the Triangle,” said Mudcats owner Steve Bryant. “Under his tutelage, many of his employees have moved on to general manager positions within baseball and he has won every award he’s been eligible for.”

Kremer assisted Bryant in relocating the team from Columbus, Ga., to Zebulon in 1991. One year later, the West Lafayette, Ind., native earned the Southern League Executive of the Year honor.

He followed that accomplishment with identical hardware in 1993, 1995, 2005 and 2008. By 1996, Kremer and the team had garnered Baseball America’s Bob Freitas Award for outstanding organizational achievement and success at the Double-A level.

Kremer once again led the club through a period of transition as the team moved from the Southern League and into the Carolina League in 2012.

Three days after Kremer’s promotion, the Mudcats announced the promotion of Eric Gardner to general manager of operations. Gardner is entering his 20th year with the team, having served as assistant general manager since 1999.

“I’m honored that Steve and Joe have trusted me with this position,” Gardner said. “I look forward to continuing the great work being done and ensuring the Mudcats continue giving our fans a memorable experience.”

“Eric’s promotion to General Manager of Operations is something he has worked tirelessly for,” said Joe Kremer, Mudcats vice president and general manager. “He is as deserving of this promotion as anyone I have ever known.”

Bryant echoed the sentiment. “Eric has been our go-to guy for many years. This is a reward for his loyalty and long-term service,” he said.

A native of Tarboro, Gardner graduated from Barton College with a degree in Sports Management in 1997. He began his tenure with the Mudcats in 1996 as a college intern and quickly rose through the ranks while working in stadium operations, tickets and concessions.

The Mudcats will also have a new radio voice this season.

Darren Headrick, who has served as the play-by-play announcer for Carolina the past three seasons, announced the same day of Gardner’s promotion that he accepted a position to join the broadcast team of the Scranton-Wilkes Barre Railriders, the Triple-A affiliate of the New York Yankees.