NORTH ADAMS -- As the New England Collegiate Baseball League enters its 20th season, the league's gain is the North Adams SteepleCats' loss.
Sean McGrath, who just completed his ninth year as the executive vice president and general manager of the SteepleCats, will relinquish that position as he has been named commissioner of the summer college baseball league.
"I'm honored and humbled to be named the commissioner in a league that has been a big part of my life," McGrath said.
McGrath replaces Mario Tiani, who retired as commissioner in November. Tiani has been commissioner for six years, and has a 19-year history with the league as a general manager and as an assistant commissioner.
McGrath has a similar history. He played for Tiani's team in Danbury during the 1996 and 1997 seasons. McGrath, who was a baseball standout at Drury High School and at the University of New Hampshire, joined the SteepleCats organization in 2002 as a coach.
"I think it's good for him and good for the league," said SteepleCats president Dan Bosley. "He's meticulous in his thinking and he's got such a wonderful wealth of experience. He's done a nice job for us. So it's very good for the league.
"He's bubbling over with ideas for how we can do things better in marketing, in execution. I think he's excited about that."
The center of power in the NECBL now resides in North Adams, as former SteepleCats president John DeRosa is the president of the league.
"Our general manager operated differently than most of the general managers in the league," said Bosley. "He focused a lot on the baseball operation and with a lot of teams, the coaches do that. Having both the experience with baseball operations and having experience on the operational side, makes Sean uniquely prepared to do the job as the league commissioner."
As general manager, McGrath has been front and center in the recruitment and selection of players to wear SteepleCat uniforms. Manager Bryan Adamski, an assistant coach at Amherst College, may become more involved in that.
McGrath said he wasn't looking to make the move. After Tiani announced his retirement, a search committee was named and it quickly zeroed in on McGrath. The new commissioner was approved during a November league meeting.
"Mario always joked that I'll be following in his shoes," said McGrath.
McGrath's father is Tom McGrath, a member of the Massachusetts Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame.
Bosley said the organization will continue to meet throughout December to figure out how to proceed.
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