Daubach gets early start in Hagerstown

January 18, 2011|By BOB PARASILITI |
  • Hagerstown Suns manager Brian Daubach
Hagerstown Suns manager Brian Daubach

HAGERSTOWN — For Brian Daubach, there is more to baseball than playing the game.

“I’m just a baseball fan,” said Daubach, the new manager of the Hagerstown Suns. “I was a baseball fan even before I became a player. I just love being around the game.”

That is part of the reason Daubach spent the last week in Hagerstown. He showed up 2 1/2 months before his players to help with the other passion he has in the game — the front office.

The former Boston Red Sox first baseman and outfielder got a taste of the organizational side of the game while managing and working as the acting general manager for Pittsfield (Mass.) in the independent Can-Am League.

“It was a lower level, but I learned and enjoyed it,” he said. “I have been at a lot of different parks and have seen a lot of creative things that have been done and I can give ideas of things that work and don’t.”

Daubach’s trip from Illinois for the week was two-fold. First, he took the opportunity to lend a hand to a new, young Suns front office, which is preparing for its first season of operation after the sale of the team last summer.

Second, he wanted to see the lay of the land and make acquaintances with the people he will be working with when the season begins and he starts wearing the Suns uniform.

“I wanted to meet the people I will be working with and I want to do anything I can do to help make the team successful,” Daubach said. “There is an excitement around here with everything that is happening — the chance that Bryce Harper will be playing here, the new ownership and the new video scoreboard that is being added.”

Daubach helped with some of the planning for the season and went out on a few sales calls to get some familiarity with the fans and the area where he will be spending six months of his life.

“It helps to get the manager and the players out to meet the public,” Daubach said. “I was working to find ways to get the players out to make some public appearances. When the season starts, we don’t always have a lot of time, but it is great experience for the players because they have to learn how to handle it.”

Daubach’s primary focus still will be with the team on the field, but he says he realizes there is more to a game than the product on the field.

“Sometimes, it’s not all about baseball,” he said. “In the minor leagues, it isn’t all about winning and losing. We are here to develop players … and yes, we want to win. But baseball here is about the fan experience. There are some people who come to the park who are not baseball fans. You have to have entertainment for them, too, and then hope they will remember the game.”

The Suns will be starting from the ground level when it comes to their field presentation.

The entire Municipal Stadium playing surface has been upgraded and there will be a new look to the seating arrangements, including individual seats in the main grandstand behind home plate. The team also will be installing a new video scoreboard and message center to add to the atmosphere of the stadium.

“The video board will be interactive,” Daubach said. “There will be fan cams and things that will put the fans on the board. Everyone always wants to be on TV and it will provide things that the fans will enjoy.”

After one week, Daubach isn’t immersed in Hagerstown, but he says he has a good feel for the town for when he comes back in April.

“Any time an area has affiliated baseball for a long period of time, it means they are doing something right,” Daubach said. “There are a lot of diehard, longtime fans who follow the team. Now there is local ownership for the team and that can’t hurt. They are working to make the team be successful and want to keep it here for a long time.”

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