“There’s something about this game that’s so American and pure,” said David Kerr, director of marketing & promotions for the Gary Southshore Railcats. “Even when the world gets more complicated, baseball stays the same.”
Born in Akron, Ohio, Kerr is a huge Cleveland Indians fan. It isn’t easy for an Indians fan to live so near Chicago, especially when the Cubs beat the Indians in the World Series. But baseball is a game of sentiment, and Kerr finds his resolve in the memories he made as a young Indians fan.
“I grew up watching baseball with my grandpa in his living room. We used to listen to the games on the radio sitting on his porch,” Kerr said. “When I’d go to games as a kid, I was experiencing the same things my grandfather experienced when he went to games when he was a kid.”
By high school, the Kerr family had moved to Little Rock, Arkansas. While matriculating at Henderson State University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas, Kerr realized that he wanted to work in baseball – specifically, minor league baseball.
He drove from college to the Arkansas Travelers, the Double-A team in Little Rock, and said, “Give me a job.” They laughed at him, but he stayed in touch with the general manager, Pete Laven, and in 2006, he was hired as an usher. He earned less than the price of gas it cost him to get to the games.
After graduation, Kerr began a career in telecom, but never lost touch with Laven. In time, Laven left his position with the Travelers to become the President of Salvi Sports Enterprises, the Railcats ownership group.
Laven called Kerr and asked him if he’d want to move to Gary. Two weeks later, Kerr moved into an apartment in Valparaiso and started his first season with the Railcats in 2014.
“The thing I always tell kids when I do career fairs: if you know what you want to do, demand that you do it and keep contacts. I made sure that, when the right opportunity came, Laven would think of me,” Kerr said.
Kerr took the job without even knowing what his title would be. His business cards told him he was the Director of Marketing & Promotions, which was in Kerr’s wheelhouse.
Kerr fell in love with minor league baseball because “there are no rules.”
“In the minors, you can do whatever you want, so long as it’s all in good fun,” Kerr said. “It’s all family entertainment, which is why our motto is Fantastic Family Fun.”
From Fortnite Night to Father’s Day Brunch, Kerr puts family fun in the promotional lead-off spot.
Th ball club has an Autism Sensory game with Indiana Families for the Effective Treatment of Autism (INFEAT), and the players wear puzzle piece jerseys. “Families reach out after and say it was the first time their son or daughter was able to enjoy a group activity because we made the effort to make it friendly. I love that we’re able to create an experience that people didn’t think was possible for their kids,” Kerr said.
Railcats promo nights are family friendly, but they’re not just for kids.
“At the Autism Night Game, we also have the Juluau Pig Roast,” Kerr said. “Where else do you go to a game and see a pig on a spit?”
The AmeriCAN Beerfest turns the classic beerfest on its head. “We have every type of old beer that anyone’s ever heard of, and it’s all domestic and all canned.”
Along the same lines, Kerr is especially excited about the new bar at Railcats Stadium.
“Last season we did Office Wednesdays and all of our players dressed like Dwight Schrute,” Kerr said of his penchant for popculture. “This year, our new bar is going to host pop-up bars every Wednesday.”
From The Golden Girls to Seinfeld, Family Matters to Rugrats, Railcats fans can relive their youth at every Wednesday night game at themed pop-up bars.
“My job is to play,” Kerr said. “I get to be 10 years old every day and figure out what sounds fun and do it.”
“I’m super excited about the coming season. I think people are going to be really surprised at how fun 2019 is going to be. We worked really hard in the offseason, and they’re going to see a renewed focus on customer service.”
Kerr is forever grateful to Northwest Indiana for welcoming him with open arms. Having lived a lot of places, Kerr finds this community to be a really special place.
“This community really feels like home,” Kerr said. “Everyone here is hardworking, passionate and very family-oriented.”
“When I see kids making memories they’ll have for the rest of their lives, I know I’m doing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing.”