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Suns give Flannery reasons to return

November 24, 2008|By BOB PARASILITI

Bob Flannery has run the gamut when it came to sports administration.

He has worked in minor league baseball, minor league hockey and most recently with a college program.

He has been on the East Coast, in the Deep South and the Midwest.

There was one thing he knew.

"I thought I would be back in baseball someday," he said.

Monday was that day. The opportunity and location came together at the right time as Flannery was named the new president and general manager of the Hagerstown Suns by team owner Mandalay Baseball Properties.

"There are only so many affiliated teams and there are only so many of them that are full-season teams," said Flannery. "I looked at it and it is in a great part of the country, I saw the team had a local affiliation and I have never lived in the Mid-Atlantic. I thought it was a great time to get back into to it. I'm a baseball guy."

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Flannery replaces Will Smith, who left in September after two seasons as Hagerstown's general manager to take a similar position with Double-A Trenton in the Eastern League. Flannery, in fact, hired Smith to his staff when he was the general manager of Double-A New Haven (Conn.) in 2001.

Flannery will take over in December, taking a Suns team which will be entering its third year as the South Atlantic League Single-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals and which plays in one of the oldest stadiums in the country.

"I'm thrilled to be joining one of the most accomplished and successful sports management groups in the nation in Mandalay Baseball Properties," Flannery said in the Suns' press release. "I look forward to becoming part of the Hagerstown community and I am honored to become part of the rich history of professional baseball here. When you get the opportunity to work in a ballpark that has hosted minor league baseball for nearly 80 years, you are proud to share in that tradition."

Flannery has worked as a general manager in Columbus, Ga., and New Haven and had an executive role the Double-A team in Midland, Texas, and its sister team, the Odes Jackanapes of the Central Hockey League. He has spent the last four years as the assistant athletic director/corporate sales and marketing at the University of Nebraska-Omaha.

"Robert brings wide-ranging experience in sports management and administrations to the Suns organization," said Art Matin, Mandalay's chief executive officer. "He has had the opportunity to manage staffs in a variety of sports marketing environments at the professional and college levels and we are pleased to add his leadership skills in Hagerstown."

Flannery said he will take things step by step, first meeting the Suns staff and corporate sponsors before taking any actions. He has a background in promotions and is always on the lookout for new, innovative ideas, which made him pay attention to the Suns in the past.

But Flannery said the goal will stay primarily the same, especially in the current climate.

"The one mission we are going to have is the same," he said. "We want to provide first-class, affordable family entertainment while keeping our national pastime thriving, especially in the economic times we are facing."

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