NORTH ADAMS -- Daniel E. Bosley labored for 24 years as a state representative, and on Friday morning he became president -- of the North Adams SteepleCats.
Bosley, who has been involved with the team since its inception in 2002, took over the unpaid position from David Bond, who held the post the past two years and remains on the SteepleCats’ all-volunteer, nine-member board.
"I’ve enrolled in a class at MCLA so I can be the team’s closer this year," Bosley said with a hearty laugh after being introduced by General Manager Sean McGrath. "If David Wells [a former All-Star Major League pitcher] can be a fat old guy and pitch with a balky back, so can I."
The move, officially announced at a Friday morning news conference at SteepleCats headquarters at Mass MoCA, coincides with the team’s 10th anniversary in North Adams, making it the fourth-longest tenured squad in the New England Collegiate Baseball League behind the teams from Keene, N.H., Newport, R.I., and Danbury, Conn.
On the heels of the SteepleCats’ most successful season to date, which featured a franchise-record 26 wins, their first division title and a trip to the playoffs that left the team one win from advancing to the championship round, the SteepleCats felt Bosley was the perfect guy to represent the organization.
He loves baseball with a passion, and says he has a keen sense for what it takes succeed in the role.
"This community is what makes the SteepleCats," Bosley said. "The people of North Adams support the team, but it takes more than just that to run an organization. There are a lot of volunteers, from the people you see at the games down to the host families. We also need to raise money, because let’s face it -- the SteepleCats are an integral part of summers in North Adams."
McGrath also announced that he will be unveiling a new website in the next two weeks, complete with an updated roster, 2011 schedule and a place to sign up for the Cats’ e-newsletter.
Mayor Richard Alcombright is an avid SteepleCats supporter, as evidenced by his consistent appearances at home games. He sat in on the news conference and gave credit to everyone involved in making the SteepleCats a cozy, "family-friendly" environment.
"If it wasn’t for John DeRosa and his ability to press on, I’m not sure where we’d be," Alcombright said. "Whenever there were issues of any kind, he’d find a way to make it work."
DeRosa, a former team president, now serves as president of the baseball league and has allowed the SteepleCats to use part of his law offices at Mass MoCA as the team’s headquarters.
The biggest issue facing the SteepleCats this season is the same as it is every year -- funding. The organization’s chief financial backer is Hoosac Bank, and the financial institution’s president and chief executive officer, Stephen Crowe, was on hand for Bosley’s introduction.
"Baseball is a fabric of this country’s past," Crowe said. "I can say that I am very excited to work with Dan. I think our 10th season will be as good or better as the previous nine."
McGrath said new promotions are in the works for the upcoming season. Among other things, the SteepleCats gave away a high-definition television last season.
McGrath’s father, Tom, was a big inspiration to Bosley. He related a story about the elder McGrath, longtime baseball coach in North County, being a big part of the reason the home dugout is on the third base side at Joe Wolfe Field: He knew the head coach wasn’t allowed to coach third base during games, so he set it up that way so he could communicate with whoever was on third.
"He just had a lifelong love for the game," Bosley added.
The central theme to the meeting, however, was that the SteepleCats cannot survive without strong support from the local community.
"A lot of people don’t realize just how much the SteepleCats do for North Adams," Bosley said. "The players do community service and are role models for the kids, and there a whole bunch of volunteers who do a great job."