Frank Remesch has brought big acts to Baltimore — Bruce Springsteen, Beyonce, the Rolling Stones — and he's got the baseball bats to prove it.
Yes, baseball bats.
Remesch, 49, general manager of Royal Farms Arena — and a baseball lover — inadvertently started a tradition 10 years ago.
"Ozzy Osbourne came in, and he signed a baseball bat for me. So every time now an artist comes in, they sign a bat," Remesch said. "The stars love it. It's unique, it's fun for them."
"Several years ago, Bruce Springsteen wrote: 'Hey Frank: To glory days.' I think the bat won him over."
The general manager since 2004, Remesch books acts and ensures the building — which opened in 1962 as the Baltimore Civic Center — remains in good working order.
His job is to keep the talent, promoters and fans happy. He's booked almost every pop star he's wanted except Paul McCartney and Jimmy Buffett.
"You try to make the regional promoters feel good," Remesch said. That can often involve something as simple, he said, such "as having a refrigerator on hand for a show. You might know the dude likes Gatorade or a certain brand of scotch."
Remesch started at the arena in 1988 as an electrician and later was operations manager. Royal Farms, the convenience store chain, bought the naming rights in 2014.
Remesch is passionate in defense of the building, which is sometimes described as antiquated.
"I don't get the concept of people bad-mouthing it all the time. Give me $450 million and I'll build you a new building," Remesch said.
Besides concerts, the building has hosted monster-truck events, mixed martial arts, Baltimore Blast soccer and occasionally basketball, among other events. This spring it will be home to the Baltimore Brigade, the new Arena Football League team. Neil Diamond and Tom Petty are booked for concerts later this year.
It continues to attract A-list acts even as civic leaders have talked for years of razing it and building a larger facility. It seats between 10,000 and 15,000, depending on the event.
"It doesn't have all the bells and whistles," Remesch said, "but ask people where they want to see Springsteen or the Rolling Stones — this place or a bigger arena — and they'll choose us."
Title: General manager of Royal Farms Arena
Family: Mary Beth (significant other)
Education: Overlea High School
Hobbies/interests: Baseball, lifting weights