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.
|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|
|League titles (2)|
|Division titles (3)|
|First half titles (2)|
|Name||Bowling Green Hot Rods (2009–present)|
|Ballpark||Bowling Green Ballpark (2009–present)|
|General Manager||Eric C. Leach|
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 as members of the High-A East.  They won the Southern Division title by ending the season with a first-place 82–36 record. They then won the first High-A East championship by defeating the Greensboro Grasshoppers, 3–2, in a best-of-five series. Jeff Smith won the league's Manager of the Year Award.
|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|
|2020||Rays||Season cancelled (COVID-19 pandemic)|
|2021||Rays||Jeff Smith||82–36, 1st place South|
|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||-||-|
|2021||-||-||W, 3–2, Greensboro|
Bowling Green BallparkEdit
- Address: 300 E 8th Ave, Bowling Green, KY 42101
- Opened: April 17, 2009
- Seating capacity: 4,559
- Dimensions: LF – 318 ft, CF – 400 ft, RF – 326 ft
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 Performance Food Service 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.
7-day injured list
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.
- Tampa Bay Rays
- Matt Moore
- Alex Colome
- Tim Beckham
- Enny Romero
- Kevin Kiermaier
- CJ Riefenhauser
- Kirby Yates
- Ryan Brett
- Andrew Bellatti
- Luke Maile
- Blake Snell
- Taylor Motter
- Ryan Garton
- Dylan Floro
- Juniel Querecuto
- Austin Pruitt
- Jose Alvarado
- Ryne Stanek
- Hunter Wood
- Jacob Faria
- Yonny Chirinos
- Johnny Field
- Willy Adames
- Jaime Schultz
- Diego Castillo
- Justin Williams
- Brandon Lowe
- Nick Ciuffo
- Nate Lowe
- Michael Brosseau
- Brendan McKay
- Ian Gibaut
- Kean Wong
- Josh Fleming
- Shane McClanahan
- Kevin Padlo
- Brent Honeywell Jr.
- Taylor Walls
- Wander Franco
- Vidal Brujan
- Joshua Lowe
- Shane Baz
- San Francisco Giants
- Arizona Diamondbacks
- Detroit Tigers
- Los Angeles Angels
- Texas Rangers
- Miami Marlins
- St. Louis Cardinals
- Kansas City Royals
- San Diego Padres
- Washington Nationals
- Baltimore Orioles
- Philadelphia Phillies
- Los Angeles Dodgers
- Colorado Rockies
- Toronto Blue Jays
- Seattle Mariners
- Oakland Athletics
- Minnesota Twins
- Cincinnati Reds
- New York Mets
- "Bowling Green Daily News". Nl.newsbank.com. January 8, 2009. Retrieved November 15, 2013.
- Czerwinski, Kevin T. "Lake County, Bowling Green shifting to MWL." Minor League Baseball. September 2, 2008. Retrieved on September 20, 2008.
- Fuerst, Hank "It's Official: BG Hot Rods Sold" Archived January 7, 2014, at the Wayback Machine WBKO. December 11, 2013. Retrieved on January 7, 2014
- Hill, Benjamin "Hot Rods claim year's best promo." Minor League Baseball. October 14, 2009. Retrieved on December 10, 2010.
- Spedden, Zach (September 28, 2018). "Sale of Bowling Green Hot Rods Approved". Ballpark Digest. Retrieved September 28, 2018.
- "Hot Rods Invited to A-Advanced in Minor League Restructure". Bowling Green Hot Rods. Minor League Baseball. December 9, 2020. Retrieved December 15, 2020.
- Mayo, Jonathan (February 12, 2021). "MLB Announces New Minors Teams, Leagues". Major League Baseball. Retrieved February 12, 2021.
- "2021 High-A East". Baseball-Reference. Sports Reference. Retrieved October 9, 2021.
- Avallone, Michael (September 29, 2021). "Bowling Green Rolls to High-A East Crown". Minor League Baseball. Retrieved October 9, 2021.
- "Postseason All-Stars". Minor League Baseball. Archived from the original on October 8, 2021. Retrieved October 9, 2021.
- "2011 Midwest League Media Guide" (PDF). MiLB.com. 2011. Retrieved 15 March 2018.
- minorleaguebaseball (December 13, 2019). "Bowling Green Gets Bat Dog – Meet Turbo!". Youtube. Retrieved June 18, 2019.