|Bowling Green Hot Rods|
Founded in 2009
Bowling Green, Kentucky
|Minor league affiliations|
|League||High-A East (2021-present)|
|Major league affiliations|
|Team||Tampa Bay Rays (2009-present)|
|Minor league titles|
|Name||Bowling Green Hot Rods (2009-present)|
|Ballpark||Bowling Green Ballpark (2009-present)|
|General Manager||Eric C. Leach|
The Bowling Green Hot Rods are a Minor League Baseball team of the High-A East and the High-A affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays. They are located in Bowling Green, Kentucky, and play their home games at Bowling Green Ballpark, which opened in 2009. The team is named for the city's connections to the automotive and racing industries such as the National Corvette Museum, Holley Carburetor, Beech Bend Raceway, and the Bowling Green Assembly Plant.
The Hot Rods began life as the Wilmington Waves, one of two South Atlantic League expansion teams for the 2001 season. However, the Waves' stay at Brooks Field in Wilmington, North Carolina, lasted but a single season. They became the South Georgia Waves when the team was moved to the Paul Eames Sports Complex in Albany, Georgia, for the 2002 season. The team retained the moniker name when it again moved to Golden Park in Columbus, Georgia, just before the 2003 campaign. One year later, in 2004, the franchise changed names and became the Columbus Catfish.
In 2010, the Hot Rods and the Lake County Captains moved from the South Atlantic League to the Midwest League, a plan meant to alleviate travel expenses associated with routine road trips as well as player movement within the teams' respective organizations.
In December 2013, Art Solomon, owner of the Hot Rods for five years, sold the team to Manhattan Capital Sports headed by Stuart Katzoff. The Hot Rods have been widely recognized for their promotional efforts. In 2009, the team's "What Could've Been Night" was named Promotion of the Year by MiLB.com. In 2010, Hot Rods Assistant General Manager Greg Coleman was honored as Marketer of the Year by the Professional Marketing Association.
In September 2018, the team was sold to Jack Blackstock who had previously been a minority investor in the team.
That year, the Hot Rods won 90 games and captured their first ever Midwest League title, under then manager Craig Albernaz.
Along with Major League Baseball's reorganization of the minors after the 2020 season, the Hot Rods were invited to remain a Tampa Bay affiliate but be elevated to High-A in 2021. They were organized into the 12-team High-A East.
|2009||Rays||Matt Quatraro||64-75, 3rd place South|
|2010||Rays||Brady Williams||61-78, 6th place East|
|2011||Rays||Brady Williams||77-63, 3rd place East|
|2012||Rays||Brady Williams||80-60, 2nd place East|
|2013||Rays||Jared Sandberg||82-56, 1st place East|
|2014||Rays||Michael Johns||61-77, 8th place East|
|2015||Rays||Reinaldo Ruiz||69-69, 6th place East|
|2016||Rays||Reinaldo Ruiz||84-55, 1st place East (tie)|
|2017||Rays||Reinaldo Ruiz||72-65, 3rd place East|
|2018||Rays||Craig Albernaz||90-49, 1st place East|
|2019||Rays||Reinaldo Ruiz||81-58, 2nd place East|
|2011||L, 2-0, Fort Wayne||-||-|
|2012||L, 2-0, Lake County||-||-|
|2013||L, 2-0, Fort Wayne||-||-|
|2016||L, 2-1, Great Lakes||-||-|
|2017||L, 2-0, Fort Wayne||-||-|
|2018||W, 2-0, Lansing||W, 2-0, West Michigan||W, 3-1, Peoria|
|2019||L, 2-0, South Bend||-||-|
Bowling Green Ballpark was designed by architectural firm DLR Group. The right-centerfield wall in Bowling Green Ballpark is unique in that it is concave in right-center because of the shape of a pre-existing road behind the field. The scoreboard in right-centerfield measures 35-feet tall and 56-feet wide, with the ability to show scoring, live video, advertisements, player statistics, and more. Embedded in the left field wall is a 6-foot, 3inch tall by 68-foot wide LED display board, behind which is a picnic area. There are two grass lawn seating areas- one in left-center and one at the right field line. The kids play area boasts an inflatable car customized with the Hot Rods' logo, a carousel, and a playground, and a behind the batter's eye in centerfield, a splash-pad. The Reinhart Club is a bar located on suite level directly behind home plate. Also on the suite level are 10 suites, the Hall of Fame suite, and a party deck--The Coca-Cola Deck.
Shawn Murnin broadcasts Hot Rods' home and away games on WBGN locally, as well as on MiLB.tv.
One of the Hot Rods' mascots is an anamorphic bear named Axle. Debuting in 2009, he wears an orange Hot Rods uniform, number 00. The Hot Rods' furry, fun-loving bear has captivated crowds at Bowling Green Ballpark while making good on his promise to become a true community ambassador. Roscoe is the Hot Rods' second mascot, debuting during the 2010 season. He is a Grease Monkey who wears a navy Hot Rods jersey.
Turbo is a Golden Retriever who was adopted into the Hot Rods family on December 13, 2019. He is currently training to become a "batdog", retrieving bats and balls and returning them to the Hot Rods' dugout, as well as delivering balls to the home plate umpire, for the 2021 season. Turbo is one of a few bat dogs in Minor League Baseball.
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The following are players in Major League Baseball who played, at one time, for the Hot Rods. Players are listed under the team they debuted for.