A Coastal Plain League team in Macon is owned and operated by two guys who have had 50 years of experience running major and minor league teams. Meet Steve DeLay and Jon Spoelstra, two guys that like to have fun at the old ballpark.
Previously, they managed a slew of minor league teams as well as teams in the NBA and the NHL. In each case they created attendance records. For instance, the Dayton Dragons, Single-A baseball, have sold every ticket to every game for 16 years! The Frisco RoughRiders have lead the Texas League in attendance every year since they joined the league.
The reason for these attendance records is because it’s fun to go to their games. Simple as that.
Jon and Steve have been very picky on who they have hired for the Macon Bacon. They have hired people that love to work hard, love the fun of going to baseball games, and love creating the fun of baseball games. Here they are:
Brandon Raphael – President
Brandon Raphael was named President of the Bacon on August 15, 2018.
Brandon has more than 18 years of experience in various roles in sports including most recently the Senior Associate Athletic Director of Development and Ticket Sales at the University of Texas – San Antonio for six years. Brandon previously worked with DeLay and Spoelstra with the Frisco RoughRiders and the Las Vegas 51s.
He is from St. Loiuis and attended Maryville University where he also played baseball. Rumor has it, he will take a few at-bats next season.
Bradon’s favorite teams are the St. Louis Cardinals and the St. Louis Blues. His all-time favorite baseball player is Ozzie Smith.
He played in the Little League World Series in Tokyo, Japan when he was 13. He still sleeps with that jersey on every night.
Brandon is married to his wife Kimberly and has two kids: Caden (10) and Brookyn (8).
Jason Wright – Fan Development Manager
Jason Wright was hired as the Fan Development Manager for the Macon Bacon on August 1, 2017.
Jason is a graduate of Northern Illinois in 2012 majoring in Management. He spent a year as an intern in Kane County in 2012. During the 2013-14 season, he was the Director of Ticket Operations for the Clinton Lumber Kings, a Single A affiliate for the Mariners. He then found his way to Gwinnett Braves, a Triple A affiliate as an Account Executive in Group Sales from 2014 to 2017.
Jason is from Morrison, Illinois and is a big fan of the Cubs and the Blackhawks. And yes, he is still talking about the Cubs winning it all.
He was a twin sister who is just 2 minutes older. His sister also got all the hair.
His all-time favorite player in baseball is Ernie Banks.
Tyler Vertin – Director of Marketing
Tyler Vertin was hired as the Director of Marketing for the Macon Bacon on August 7, 2017.
Tyler is a graduate of Northwood University majoring in Sports Management. He spent the 2016 season as an Marketing Intern in the Coastal Plain League Office.
Tyler is from Calumet, Michigan and is a fan of the Tigers and the Redwings. Yes, he is from the Midwest. So, he sounds a little funny.
He once had 14 stitches in his right ear due to a hockey puck to the head.
His all-time favorite baseball player is Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez.
Nick Jones – Director of Merchandise and Community Relations
Nick Jones was hired as the Director of Merchandise and Community Relations for the Bacon on November 1st, 2017.
Nick graduated from St. John’s University with a bachelors in Sports Management. He spent the 2017 season as the Merchandise Manager with the Florida Fire Frogs an Advanced A affiliate of the Atlanta Braves.
Nick is from Long Island, New York and is a fan of the Mets and Islanders. So he likes his pizza crust thin and bagels with butter. He once golfed with two time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning. His proudest moment during that was when Eli said he golfs better than Peyton.
His all-time favorite baseball player is R.A. Dickey.
Ben Upton – Corporate Marketing Manager
Ben Upton was hired as one of the Bacon’s Corporate Marketing Managers on August 2, 2017
Ben is a recent graduate of Mercer University majoring in Sports Business. While at Mercer, Ben was a first basemen and outfielder for the Mercer Bear’s baseball team.
Ben was born in Houston, Texas and is a big fan of the Astros and the Rockets.
He was roommates with Mariners 1st round pick Kyle Lewis in 2016. So, we see who got all the talent in that room.
His all-time favorite player in baseball is Lance Berkman.
Nathan Goldenberg – Director of Food and Beverage and Group Sales Executive
Nathan Goldenberg joined the Bacon on Sepetember 5th, 2017. Nathan is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati majoring in Sports Administration. While at school, he was a Student Assistant to the men’s basketball team.
He also interned with our rivals, the Savannah Bananas. He mainly did operations and concessions. He can now give us all the Banana’s dirty secrets.
Nathan is from Boca Raton, Florida and is a big fan of the Atlanta Braves and Hawks.
In 2006, Nathan was TIME magazine’s Person of the Year. Crazy right?
His all-time favorite player is Vladimir Guerrero.
Brittany Middleton – Group Sales Executive
Brittany Middleton joined the Bacon on September 5th, 2017.
Brittany is a graduate of Newberry College majoring in Sports Management. She also has an associate’s degree from East Georgia State. While at school she pitched for her schools softball team.
Brittany is from Lizella, Georgia and is a big fan of the Atlanta Braves and Falcons. Nothing like having a hometown girl on the team!
She also batted 1.000 in college… with one at bat, but she earned an RBI so we’ll count it.
Her all-time favorite baseball player is Hank Aaron.
Sarah Leo – Director of Partnership Activation and Entertainment
Sarah joined the Bacon on January 5th, 2018.
Sarah is a graduate of Full Sail University, earning her bachelors in Sports Media and Marketing. She also received her masters in Public Relations.
Sarah is from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and is a big fan of the Red Sox and New England Patriots. Don’t get her started on 28-3 and what is or isn’t a catch in football.
Her all-time favorite baseball player is David Ortiz.
Jon Spoelstra – Co-Owner
Jon is generally known as the father of modern sports marketing. He was General Manager of the Portland Trail Blazers for 11 years, selling every single ticket to every single game the Trail Blazers played in his time. He helped the Blazers set the modern professional sports team record for consecutive sellouts at 814. Later he became president of the New Jersey Nets.
Jon then became President of Mandalay Baseball Properties, the largest operator of Minor League baseball teams in the country. At Mandalay, Jon oversaw the launch of numerous teams including the Dayton Dragons who broke Jon’s Trail Blazers sellout streak and have now sold out more than 1,200 straight games.
He is a Wall Street Journal best-selling business author writing Marketing Outrageously, Ice to the Eskimos and Success Is Just One Wish Away, a business fable.
- Marketing Outrageously, a Wall Street Journal best seller by Jon Spoelstra.
Steve Delay – Co-Owner
Steve got his start with the Cleveland Indians and then linked up with Jon at the New Jersey Nets. Steve went on to be VP of Sales for two NHL teams. Later he linked up with Jon again at Mandalay as Chief Marketing Officer overseeing all the revenue streams for seven different teams including the Dragons, Roughriders and teams in Scranton, PA, Staten Island, NY, and Oklahoma City, OK.
He spent extensive time in Winston-Salem, NC as Mandalay’s point person on the building of a new stadium and the launch of the Winston-Salem Dash.