Robert E. Bruchey II, the former mayor of Hagerstown, has been hired by the Hagerstown Suns as Director of Sales, Marketing and Community Affairs, a team official confirmed Monday.
“(Bruchey) comes from an extensive sales background and brings a vast knowledge of the local business community,” Suns general manager Bill Farley said in an email. “We expect him to help increase revenues in both sponsorships and company/group outings. We are looking forward to a great 2013 season.”
Bruchey, a vocal supporter of the club and champion of a proposal to build a multiuse stadium to house the team in downtown Hagerstown during his final year in office, served as mayor from 2006 until he was ousted in the 2012 election by current Mayor David S. Gysberts. Prior to that, he served a four-year term as mayor from 1997 to 2001.
“I am excited,” Bruchey said Monday. “I think it’s a great opportunity for me, for the Hagerstown Suns and for the City of Hagerstown.
“... Minor league baseball is a whole different world. I’m learning some things and I’m very excited because this will test my skills and my abilities, and I like that,” he added. “I like the challenge of a new opportunity and this is one I feel I could contribute to the Hagerstown Suns and bring our minor league team up to the next level for attendance and things of that nature.”
Previously employed by Hagerstown Ford, Bruchey started his position with the Suns on Monday, Jan. 14, he said.
Bruchey said he will oversee four sales teams for the club as well as seek out additional opportunities for events to be held at Municipal Stadium when the team is away or during the offseason.
“There was a lot of talk during the last, probably, year about what could happen in a facility and we’re exploring different options,” he said.
On the community affairs side of the job, Bruchey said it seemed that some people, “whether it’s perceived or real,” did not think the Suns were very community-oriented. He said he plans to make the team more active in the community and to “put a face to the Hagerstown Suns.”
“We’re trying to really make the Hagerstown Suns a Hagerstown team,” Bruchey said.
Rumors began circulating about two weeks ago that Bruchey had been offered a job with the team, a Single-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals, but Farley would not comment on the hire when contacted then.
Bruchey attended the Hagerstown City Council meeting last Tuesday, where an out-of-the-area real estate development group presented a proposal to form a public-private partnership with the city for a long-term project that could potentially overhaul Hagerstown’s struggling downtown core.
A stadium wasn’t specifically discussed during the group’s proposal, but it could be a part of future discussions, an official with the Sora Development group said at the Jan. 15 meeting.
During the previous city administration, Bruchey said they had discussions with Sora, but his reason for being there last Tuesday was solely as a concerned citizen “because this is still my hometown.”
“But as far as anything else, I probably won’t have much communication with the mayor and council,” he said. “That will come through Bill Farley, the general manager. That’s the way that structure is already set up. Anything that we have to have approval from the mayor and council for at the stadium will come through Bill Farley.”
Bruchey said he has talked with some of the current city council members about trying to help make the Suns want to stay in Hagerstown because he still believes having a minor league affiliate is a rare amenity for any community and one that should be cherished.
“We’re one of only a few cities that have a minor league baseball team and I, for one, would like to retain that in Hagerstown, Maryland ... in the current location or whatever the mayor and council sees fit,” he said.
When asked if he viewed his hiring as some sort of payoff from the club for his continued support throughout his final term as mayor, specifically in pushing for the construction of a new downtown ballpark that some believe was the final straw that led to his removal from office, Bruchey called that “laughable.”
“As far as anybody’s preconceived notions of this is as any way, shape or form to have to do with ... the fact that I brought forth the project, is laughable actually,” he said. “It’s a job and one that I look forward to.”