Sunday May 5, 2013

PITTSFIELD -- Pittsfield Suns general manager Kevin McGuire says he's sorry about the clutter in his Wahconah Park office.

A little bit of clutter aside, things are going along much more smoothly for McGuire and the Suns as the team prepares for its second Futures League baseball season in a month.

"It's very hard to wrap my head around that," McGuire said. "It's been a very long off-season. it's been so long at times that it felt like the season was never going to come back around.

"It's good to see the grass green and the sun shining. That's for sure."

But come around it will, and on June 6, the Suns will take the field under first-year field manager Tom Conley. That night, Pittsfield will host the Torrington Titans at 7 p.m.

Twelve months ago, McGuire was the assistant general manager under G.M. and field manager Jamie Keefe. When Keefe left the team in the fall for a college coaching position at UMass-Lowell, McGuire moved up to become the off-season face of the franchise.

The general manager said that he's been extremely busy since the season ended last year, but with an entire off-season to prepare and handle the business chores, things are far ahead of where they were a year ago.

"It's tremendously" better, McGuire said. "Last year, this community and the fans were very apprehensive about the kind of product we'd put on the field. It was a very big ‘show me,' prove to me that you can do it.


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I believe we did that."

Ticket sales and sponsorships are up compared to last year. McGuire said the biggest increase in ticket sales has come through group sales and groups wanting to have picnics at Wahconah Park.

The number of returning players has grown to six as Pennsylvania's Ryan Deitrich and Manhattan's Brendan Slattery have committed to playing this summer. They'll join UMass-Amherst's Rob McLam, Chad Funkouser of Brevard, Steve Dill of Harvard and Jason Condit of Illinois Central as returning veterans.

"I think [the compete level] is going to be very good," said McGuire. "The whole league, the talent has gone up. That's happened here in Pittsfield too. We went from five or six Division I players to now, I think we have [19] at this point."

That number doesn't include the four UMass-Lowell players, who will be moving to Division I next year. It also doesn't include former Mount Greylock player Mike Geannelis, who will attend UMass-Amherst next year or Bobby Skogsberg, who will attend Boston College.

To reach Howard Herman:
hherman@berkshireeagle.com,
or (413) 496-6253.
On Twitter: @howardherman.