© Chuck Duboff
“He’s easy money on the golf course; no, Andrew is one of the best, if not the best, GM in minor league baseball, and that’s reflected in the accolades for the Organization of the Year he has won.
He made my time in Winnipeg absolutely perfect and I’m forever grateful to him. Just an all around great person. I miss our mornings playing golf.” Former Goldeyes pitcher, Zach Baldwin speaking about Andrew Collier.
In Yiddish, there is a word: mensch, which means a person of integrity and honour. To be referred to as a mensch is the greatest praise one can give to another person. To me, Andrew Collier is a mensch. (Ask Sam, Andrew…lol).
Goldeyes Super Fan, Mickey Steen, had these words to say about Andrew: “A very personable gentleman. Andrew is very much a people person and very accommodating, to the needs and requests from anyone. Goldeyes struck a Gold Mine when they hired this young man from Portage La Prairie, back in 1994”.
Andrew has been the Goldeyes GM for 15 seasons. I can share some of my personal interactions with Andrew and then let him share some of his own personal thoughts about working with the Goldeyes.
Andrew has always gone out of his way to be helpful with any favour I have asked of him. When I was the leader of the Maples Unity Group, he always made sure the Field of Dreams foundation helped out with our cause. When I have asked about my grandchildren being involved in on field activities, he has made sure to make it happen…he knows the joy it brings me in seeing Laine and Ben on the field. But there’s more to Andrew than just favours…he will always take the time to talk with fans, to stop by Section E before a game and talk with the season ticket holders; when there are matters of concern, he deals with them promptly and professionally. To say he is approachable would be an understatement…the Goldeyes truly are blessed to have such a great GM, and as Zach Baldwin stated, that is reflected in all the awards which have been bestowed upon the Goldeyes organization.
I asked ticket manager Kevin Arnst to share a few words about Andrew:
about his staff, which includes everyone that works here and the players
and coaches who come to play and manage here. He’s a great pleasure to be
around and someone I’m happy to call a close friend.”
My interview with Andrew:
This will be home opener number 15 for me as GM, 22nd home opener overall with the team. I joined the team a couple of weeks into the 1994 season, so I missed that one. Still get excited for opening day, it’s always a fun day. It’s great to see many months of preparation come to fruition when the players are lined up on the base lines and the first pitch gets thrown.
2. You must feel like an orchestra leader on Opening Day, making sure everything is ready to go…
We have a great staff at the Goldeyes. Everyone here knows what they are doing, so I don’t need to micro manage anyone. Everyone here is working towards a common goal and that’s to make sure everyone who comes to our games has a good time and leaves feeling they received their money’s worth.
3. When do you start planning for the home opener and what kind of things need to be done well in advance?
Home opener, and the other 49 games, are all planned during the off-season. We start planning for the 50 games as soon as the schedule comes out which is usually in late October. There are many things that need to be planned well in advance such as anthem singer or band, colour guard, military fly-by, magnet schedules ordered, etc etc.
4, The team has been starting the season on the road for the past several years…do you take the time to listen to games? do you stay in touch with Rick?
I won’t say I listen to every single pitch, but pretty close. I always have my phone with me so I tune into our broadcasts on an app. I talk to Rick pretty much every day, either on the phone, email or text.
5.What’s your favourite part about being the GM of the Goldeyes? The biggest challenge?
Too many aspects of the job that I like to pick a favourite part. Meeting the new players each year, talking to fans at the games, working with the great full time and game day staff, would all top the list of my favourite parts. Without question, rain and the chance of rain would be the biggest challenge. On game days the radar is always on one of my computer screens. If there is a system in the area, I will update the radar every ten minutes during the day. Prior to the lineup cards being exchanged at home plate, it is up to the GM whether or not the game goes ahead. Once the game starts, it’s up to the umpires whether or not to continue when it starts raining.
6.Do you allow yourself to get close to the players or do you need to maintain some distance?
I’ve been able to form friendships with many of the players that have played here. I stay in touch with a bunch of guys that don’t play here anymore. I have some favourites but wouldn’t want to mention them in case I leave someone out!
7. Has the struggling Canadian dollar affected the Goldeyes this season?
The dollar is always an issue for us. The player salaries, baseballs, travel money on the road, all are in US dollars, so when it goes down, we are negatively financially affected.
8. I’ve always admired how you get out and help the staff when the tarp needs to be rolled out…what’s that all about?
I’m not unlike any other GM in the league, when the tarp needs to be put on, we help. It’s hard to ask the staff to do something that you aren’t willing to do yourself. Plus, I enjoy doing it, it’s good exercise!
9. Do you have a message for all the Goldeyes fans, from Miami to Cozumel to North Carolina to California and of course here in Winnipeg?
I can’t say enough about Goldeyes fans, whether they make it out to the ballpark for 1 or 50 games, or they listen or watch our games on line. We wouldn’t be around for our 23rd season if it wasn’t for them. We keep our fans in mind in everything we do, we want to make sure they feel they are getting their money’s worth. We realize there are a lot of options for them to spend their hard earned money, we want to make sure that the Goldeyes are always an option they consider.
10. Will your son be playing for the Goldeyes one day?
That’s a good question! He came to his first Goldeyes game when he was a few days old. My wife actually went into labour on fan appreciation day in 2003. He loves the Goldeyes and loves playing ball right now and if that eventually leads to him playing at a higher level, that would be great. I just want him to be happy in whatever he is doing and most importantly, get a good education!
11. I asked Steve this question…now your turn: will there be an Andrew Collier bobblehead day?
There are way more people deserving of that honour than me. I don’t think you’ll see one of those for a long time, if ever.
12. I know you take great pride in the Goldeyes’ Field of Dreams Foundation; can you share a little bit about this organization with our readers:
The Field of Dreams Foundation was established in 1995 with the mandate of giving back to the community that is so giving to the Goldeyes. The Foundation has raised and distributed more than 2 million dollars to children’s charities in Manitoba since 1995. Each year, the Foundation raises funds throughout the summer then gives it all away each February. Most years more than 40 charities receive a total of $100,000 from the Foundation. A great way to become involved is the Fillmore Riley Ks For Kids promotion. Fans can pledge a certain amount for each strikeout thrown at home by a Goldeyes pitcher.
For tickets to the home opener or any other Goldeyes game at Shaw Park, check out the Goldeyes website at http://www.goldeyes.com, go to Ticketmaster or call 204-982-2273