Good crowds like this one from the 2013 home opener were more common this summer at Wahconah Park. That is what helped get Pittsfield Suns general manager
Good crowds like this one from the 2013 home opener were more common this summer at Wahconah Park. That is what helped get Pittsfield Suns general manager the Futures League executive of the year award. (Eagle file)

PITTSFIELD -- The Pittsfield Suns have yet to win a playoff series in two Futures League baseball season. This year, though, their general manager hit a home run.

Kevin McGuire was named the Futures League's executive of the year. The awards are voted on by personnel from each of the nine teams in the league.

"Kevin was able to overcome countless obstacles, ranging from establishing a new brand in a discerning baseball market, to dealing with the unique hurdles specific to Wahconah Park," said Jeff Goldklang of the Goldklang Group, owners of the Suns, "in helping to create a sustainable and successful franchise."

McGuire joined the Suns in 2012 from the Goldklang Group's Hudson Valley team in the New York-Penn League. Last year, he was the assistant general manager but moved up for 2013 when GM/field manager Jamie Keefe resigned to take an assistant coaching position at UMass-Lowell.

"It was a great honor to get that," McGuire said, praising assistant general manager Jackie Wendling and the squadron of interns who worked at Wahconah Park this summer. "It doesn't come without a lot of help.

"After all we went through, it's nice to have some positive things come out in the wash."

The Suns finished third in the Futures League in attendance, averaging 1,297 fans per game. The team did set two records. The crowd of 4,775 on July 4 set a league record, according to the release, while 3,297 fans went to Wahconah Park for the second Futures League All-Star Game. That total doubled the inaugural All-Star Game crowd of 1,634 in 2012 in Nashua.

For his part, McGuire said that 2013 was an improvement from the first season. He said the number of Division I players and advertisers both were increased from 2012. One other thing that increased was the number of rain days. Flooding and rain storms in late June and July washed out home dates as the Suns had only 22 openings in 2013. One game the team played, only 100 people were allowed inside the park because of flooding issues. That number included players on both teams.

"It was a tough year with the weather. Losing the second week of the season was certainly tough," he said.

As important to McGuire as winning the executive of the year award is his perception that the Suns have reestablished summer baseball in the market.

"We've continued to make very strong inroads," he said. "You see more and more fans coming every game and people are excited about our return next year and have already told us they can't wait to buy season tickets.

"It took some people a year-and-a-half to two years to give us a chance to see what we were all about. By and large, the reaction has been very positive from the community."

To reach Howard Herman:
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