This weekend, Steve Kerrigan is exchanging his Boston Red Sox cap for one labeled "Charlotte Knights." The newly minted fan is throwing out the first pitch at the teams Saturday game against the Louisville Bats at Knight Stadium in Fort Mill, S.C. Kerrigan said, Its sort of a childhood dream of any young American, especially if that child grows up to be the CEO of Charlotte's 2012 Democratic National Convention. Its the result of a promise made by the team more tongue in cheek during the bid process that eventually brought the convention to Charlotte.
The 39-year-old Kerrigan may have been born in Lancaster (thats Massachusetts, not South Carolina), but now hes anxious to visit the Southern counterpart to his Northeastern hometown, as well as other spots in the region. He and more than 20 members of his team have settled in Charlotte 14 months before the convention so that we can really get engaged and become a part of this community, he said. A lot of us on staff love baseball, we love minor league ball. Theyre also sort of fans of the White Sox its the presidents team and the Knights are the Soxs Triple-A affiliate. So it all works out.
More staff will be moving this way in time for Kerrigans 40th birthday in September. He can show them some of the places hes visited: the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture, NoDa and the Levine Museum of the New South. Hed like to see a Panthers game, make a return visit to the Bobcats, and get out and use the Whitewater Center. (He once had a kayak.)
We have so many great things to offer, Kerrigan said, as an Uptown-residing Charlottean. For counsel, he has Joanne Peters, a Providence High grad whos been working with the DNC in Washington but returned to work with him on her hometowns big event.
This week, we sat at the Tic Toc Café another Uptown spot Kerrigan was visiting for the first time talking about the political implications of Charlottes hosting the convention, what his former boss the late Sen. Ted Kennedy and current boss President Barack Obama do and dont have in common, and how his team hopes to give back through community service projects.
Stay tuned to my Creative Loafing coverage of DNC 2012 for the full report and to catch up on what youve missed so far.
Mary C. Curtis, an award-winning Charlotte, N.C.-based journalist, is a contributor to The Root, NPR, Creative Loafing and the Nieman Watchdog blog. Her Keeping It Positive segment airs Wednesdays at 7:10 on TVs Fox News Rising Charlotte, and she was national correspondent for Politics Daily. Follow her on Twitter. http://twitter.com/mcurtisnc3.