Issue 222, April 1, 2024

I trust everyone had a wonderful Easter weekend. The weather was perfect for hiding easter eggs and watching the children hunt for them. Let’s give thanks for God’s blessings and abundance!

At our last meeting we heard from Ken Babby, the owner of the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp, he shared an inspiring journey that led him to own not just one but two professional baseball teams. He opens with a reflection on how life’s unexpected turns, like losing a job, can lead to new, fulfilling paths. Babby’s story is one of resilience, passion for baseball, and a belief in the power of community.

Babby recounts his early career ambitions in sports, facing rejection, and ultimately landing in the newspaper industry, where he spent 14 years at the Washington Post. His departure from the Post, following its acquisition by Jeff Bezos, was a pivotal moment, pushing him to pursue his true passion: baseball. This led to the acquisition of a team in Akron, Ohio, and eventually, the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp. He highlights the Jacksonville community’s warm welcome and the team’s commitment to enhancing fan experience with affordable tickets, frequent giveaways, and significant stadium improvements. These include a $31.8 million investment for new facilities and the humorous but popular demand for large fans to combat the Florida heat, fulfilled by installing “big ass fans” in the stadium.

Babby emphasizes the importance of the team’s role in the community, its partnership with the Miami Marlins, and the long-term commitment to stay in Jacksonville till at least 2042. The talk concludes with a look forward to new and ongoing projects to improve the stadium experience and a reminder of the Jumbo Shrimp’s significant role in the community and the exciting future ahead for the team and its fans.

On the topic of club membership, we had two new applications this last week. It’s exciting to see that we are almost halfway to our target of 27 new members, and we are just finishing the 1st quarter of the year. Good job to all the members who have brought in guests. Keep up the good work!

Warmest regards,
Michael Best
2024 President

President Message Archive