Tuesday, October 8, 2013

First managerial opening

We know at least one Frontier League team will have a new manager in the 2014 season.

The Joliet Slammers have announced that Mike Breyman will not return for a second season.

Breyman, who played five seasons for the Gateway Grizzlies and was a coach for Gateway and River City, replaced Bart Zeller as Joliet's manager this year. The Slammers had a 38-57 record and finished in sixth place in the West Division, 20 1/2 games behind first-place Schaumburg.

We also have been told that Lake Erie manager Jeff Isom was working on a one-year contract with the Crushers. There is still a chance that Isom could return to Lake Erie in 2014. Last month, Gateway announced that Phil Warren will be back for his eighth season as manager of the Grizzlies, and River City signed Steve Brook for his fifth season with the Rascals.

Here is the link to the Breyman story from the Herald-Times http://heraldnews.suntimes.com/sports/22941687-419/joliet-slammers-manager-out-team-searching-for-replacement.html


Anonymous Natural Grass said...

Any chance Isom could come back as the Washington manager?
With Isom, they may have a chance to make the playoffs. He know the league and even more so the players to win in this league.

October 12, 2013 at 10:33 AM  
Blogger Chris Dugan said...

Zero chance he will be the manager here next year.

October 12, 2013 at 11:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Also, zero chance the Wild Things will be any better next year!

October 13, 2013 at 8:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chris, if you owned the Wild Things, what would you do to build a winner? What would you do differently then what the Zavacky bunch do?

October 14, 2013 at 4:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No matter what he would do it would have to be better than whatever Wacky Zavacky will ever do. How many chances has that guy had to prove he can't handle the job? Too darn many.

October 15, 2013 at 5:35 AM  
Blogger Chris Dugan said...

The first thing I would do is make Chris Blaine the pitching coach (not serious about that one. It's a long-running joke between us). And if I owned the team, judging by my bank account, I'd tell the employees that we'll be missing the next payroll.

In frankness, the first thing I'd do is try to get Ross Vecchio to return and run the baseball operation. His track record of putting together competitive teams speaks for itself. He has connections, and in that job it's who you know not what you know.

In independent baseball, everything comes down to finding the best players, and Washington hasn't been able to find enough good players over the last 4 to 6 years to sniff a playoff race. One area in which the Wild Things have a poor track record is finding rookie position players. The exception to this, obviously, is Stewart Ijames, who was one of the best hitters in the league last year though he had no previous professional experience. Signing him was a coup.

However, the rest of Washington's true rookie hitters combined for a .207 batting average last season.

We all know how the many rookie hitters fared under Chris Bando. Do I need to go over this again? And under Darin Everson it was even worse. Only one player he signed out of college produced more than four career hits with Washington.

Keep in mind that the top two hitters (in terms of batting average) in the league last year were rookies.

The Wild Things also need to do a better job of managing the salary cap. Word from around the league last season was that Washington overpaid for many players, which caused some cap problems. As one manager told me, "you need to find experienced players who are desperate enough to play for $800 or $900 a month."

There are many other things I'd try or not try, and there's no guarantee they will work. Some have nothing to do with the on-field product. For example, I'd return to the red & black color scheme. The Wild Things have the largest logo in baseball on the turf behind home plate, and its in red & black, but the team wears royal blue uniforms. That not only doesn't make sense, it's just plain stupid.

I'd also lower the parking fee and lower the soda prices, and try something different like school nights. Have a Canon-Mac night, a Trinity night, a Wash High night, etc. Offer discounted tickets for students and employees of each school on these nights and recognize a team or athletes from the school prior to the game. That last idea just popped into my head. Getting the high school kids back into the park should be a priority. Look around CEP these days and the crowd is elementary school-aged kids, their parents and senior citizens. There are no high school and college kids. This the age group used to hang out at Wild Things games but no longer attends.

One thing I would never do is put free tickets on windshields of cars at Wal-Mart. I can't believe the season-ticket holders didn't raise a stink over this two seasons ago. Once you give away free tickets by the fistful, then people aren't going to buy tickets because they know they can wait and get them for free later in the season.

I'd also look for a mascot guy who, get this, has a gymnastics background and a personality. What made Jason, the original guy in the costume, work so well was he could flip over the railings, take falls and give a personality to the mascot. This has been missing for years.

Well, I'm rambling. Better stop here.

October 15, 2013 at 4:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks Chris, I appreciate that. I agree with you on all those things. I don't get why Stu has to be so cruel. He loves to torture us. I hope he realizes that no one likes him and he should just sell the team to people who care about baseball and winning. Go buy a prospect league team and run that into the ground.

October 15, 2013 at 4:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are not rambling Chris, everything you say is so true. More people would come back to the games if it was run legit! We as season ticket holders do bitch about giving away tickets. It doesn't work, they say they can do whatever they choose - it's their ballgame. It isn't even right to give them to kids who win the "games" between innings.

October 16, 2013 at 8:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Stewart Ijames, who was one of the best hitters in the league last year though he had no previous professional experience. Signing him was a coup." No, more likely just an accident!

I agree about the uniforms. That's why everybody calls them the Wild Cubs

If I were Stu Williams I'd also try to get Ross to come back BUT, I doubt that will happen. I think Mr. Williams does not have the "necessaries" to operate a baseball business. I feel the Wild Things would be better off if he just hired the right people that know baseball and allow himself to have confidence in those people. Stu has made some really stupid mistakes - remember giving Chris Bando a five year contract? That was laughable from the get-go!

Free parking? Free tickets at Wal-Mart? Some of season ticket holders (including me)did raise hell, but the Wild Things felt it is their prerogative to do whatever they wanted to do. Since they already had our (season ticket holders) money, AND since they have a NO REFUND policy, we were just screwed! So, these freebie tickets holders sat in box seats for free while we had to pay full price! (Note: the ushers just allowed them to sit there rather than have move them to the general admission section where they belonged.) What a way to run a railroad or, in this case, a base ball operation! As for free parking - forget about it..to hear the Wild Things story, there is too much maintenance cost involved - Yea, right!

The Wild Things also have a 'we will listen to you but we won't change anything' policy. The results of this are what you see - an empty ballpark and pissed-off people that are staying away in droves.

However, after missing all the 2013 season, except for one game because of physical problems, We have renewed our season tickets for the 2014 season. I know, I'm just a damn fool! I expect NOT to get screwed again but, if the past is prologue, and it usually is, I'm reasonably sure something will pop up. It seems the Wild Things just can't help themselves when it comes to mishandling things

Just my two cents worth!
Ima Fraid

October 16, 2013 at 8:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chris, I was tlod by a very well liked employee they are going back to the Red and Black uniforms.
That is why they auctioned all the Pin Strip jerseys at the last game.
Also Chris Blaine should the field Manager.

October 16, 2013 at 2:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wild Things got their new closer for 2014 Jonathan Kountis. How much money do any of you want to bet he'll be gone by the time spring training is under way even though Bart Zeller said he will be the closer. Same thing that happened to Ryan Turner last season

October 16, 2013 at 6:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why the hell should any paying customer ever return to CEP after the jerks gave away free tickets?
The WT have learned the art of smiling in your face and stabbing you in the back.

October 17, 2013 at 7:21 AM  

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