Thursday, December 17, 2009

picked up a few DII pitchers

Check out our website re: two new pitchers that we just signed: http://wallawallasweets.com/news/stories/index.html?article_id=12

Excited to find talent in diverse places...

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Season Tickets

We have just brought on a talented student intern to finish building the remainder of the pages on the website, including season tickets. It should be ready to be public by the middle of the week. Price ranges for season tickets will be between $85-$215, and we are accepting 25% deposits at this time. And to dispel a rumor that has started (I am not sure how) that single game tickets will be $25/game (what!!!), while we will not release single game pricing until early in the spring, I can say this: single game ticket pricing will range between $4-$8.

We are also ordering more hats (not the Inaugural Season variety, but new styles) as well as awaiting t-shirts and golf shirts in time for the holidays. We are in the process of building desks and finalizing the office space (located in the basement of the Struthers Building in downtown Walla Walla - entrance is next to T-Maccarone's on Colville Street and follow the signs). Hopefully we get to start our meetings with Renovation Specialists this week to go over the plans for the permanent office and team store at 109 East Main in downtown Walla Walla.

We announced the signings of (4) players from Cal Poly, the program that produced Ozzie Smith (who started his pro career in WW). Signings are rolling in, look for the releases in coming weeks.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving


A favorite day of mine for sure - I am thankful for a lot of things, and one of them is being part of the Walla Walla community.

A progress report: players are getting signed (will be announcing more in the next 10 days), we reached an agreement with Mark Michaud to be our pitching coach, and the seating manifest is almost built, meaning we can start seating those who have paid deposits on season tickets. We have a few hats remaining from the initial launch ($12 + tax, call 509.522.BALL if you want one - they will be the only hat with "Inaugural Season 2010" embroidered on the cap), and working to have a select order of golf shirts and t-shirts (men and women) for the holidays.

Check back soon! Have a safe holiday...

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A quick post


So that you know I haven't checked out...we announced our first three player signings yesterday - bringing 3 Big XII guys in from the University of Kansas - a pair of solid middle infielders who can contribute offensively and a catcher who saw some significant playing time for a program that was a NCAA Regional contender out of a great baseball conference. You can read the release here: http://wallawallasweets.com/press/transactions/

We are excited to get a little Rock Chalk in Walla Walla.

Friday, November 13, 2009

And We Are Now Official...

Had a great launch yesterday. John, Jeff, Greg, Peter, and Scott flew in from Seattle, and our league president Ken Wilson joined us as we launched in front of over 500 Sharpstein Elementary School students and teachers. We are officially the Sweets, and here is a great story in the Union-Bulletin:

http://www.union-bulletin.com/articles/2009/11/13/sports/091113s1sweets.txt

Here is the Studio Simon-created Brand Identity:




I think we have made an onion look good!

Now we are 24/7 with ticket sales, sponsorships, and player development. I will start with player announcements early next week. Before signing off, many thanks publicly need to be sent to the folks at Sharpstein Elementary and WWPS - a dynamic public school system that was enthusiastic about being a part of this launch...

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Murphy's Law...

States that when you are prepared to address 500 school-age children and the media, that you get bronchitis. Of course...

Sunday, November 8, 2009

SBC Meetings In Charlotte, NC

I am in Charlotte, NC for the SBC (Summer Baseball Conference) Meetings. It is in essence the winter meetings for teams that are at our level of play, except a bit smaller of a scale. I actually like the fact that it is a little smaller because I get to really pick the brain (and share ideas with) owners and GMs of other franchises, more so than we ever did at the Baseball Winter Meetings (plus the food is better). You can read more about here: http://www.summerballconference.com/.

We are down to less than a week before our launch. We are putting the finishing touches on the press conference now, and look forward to unveiling the name and the brand there. It should be fun - we will have over 500 students at Sharpstein Elementary School in Walla Walla plus dozens of community leaders, the media, etc.

I am excited to actually start using our name and brand - it has been two months in the development process, it is time to start sharing it. I will share this: Studio Simon is the design firm we used, and you can see their work here: www.studiosimon.com. It will be fun.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Local Sponsors & Business Update

Sorry for the fluff posts recently. I am starting to get into the 12-hr a day mode, and am excited to be closing a few projects that will allow me to hire staff, finalize a roster, and start preparing the team for Opening Day in June. The reality of this as in any professional sports franchise is that Opening Day comes whether you are prepared or not, so it is nice that there is pressure in the deadline but at least it doesn't float.

Updates:

OFFICE SPACE: We are in the final stages of negotiation on a lease in downtown Walla Walla. I am excited that we will be downtown and that we will be relatively close to the stadium. It is one of the old buildings that has recently been renovated, and I think fans and community members will like how we fit in downtown. Good retail space as well, which is key...

BRAND LAUNCH: The date is official - we will launch the official team name and brand on November 12, 2009 at Sharpstein Elementary School at 2:00 PM with 450 of our closest elementary school friends. Finishing touches on the program will be put on next week, and I am excited to hear a gym full of kids cheering for the team. We will also officially announce our field manager at that time, and launch the website.

PARTNERS: We have started to finalize partners within the community, and we will start to roll those out when the team name is announced. We have some great local and regional partners that will help create an affordable family entertainment venue.

STADIUM: Finally, you are due some updates on the stadium - the dugouts are nearing completion, they have started building the new grandstand and backstop, and we are starting the plans to improve and update concessions and points of sale within the ballpark. I will have pictures for you next week.

Don't forget to enter to win season tickets...you can enter to win at our splash page: www.wallawallabaseball.com.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Yankees or Phillies?

History vs. current success? Most complete team in the majors (the Phillies) or the most expensive (Yankees)? Leave your pick and in how many games in the comment section...

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Roster Updates

For those of you wondering why we haven't started announcing roster signings, here it is: I want to have the brand first, then the players. But I will say this: We will be well represented by the major conferences around the country. Verbal and contract commitments include players from the Pac-10, Big XII, Big East, Ivy League and some great D-II and NAIA programs that are consistently producing pro prospects and players that are drafted. Some of the guys will be from the Pacific Northwest, others will be experiencing this part of the country for the first time, but our goal is to bring in the best players from all over the nation, and I feel that we are the right track.

Friday, October 16, 2009

What will we be...?


The time to announce the name of the team, the brand identity, and the official website is drawing near! We are targeting the middle of November as the launch date. I received my first drafts from the designer today and I can't tell you how excited I will be to roll out our plan. We have received fantastic ideas from the community and very good feedback. As with anything, not everyone will get what they want, but I am sure that the community will be excited about the presentation and how it represents our city and region. If you haven't shared with us your thoughts, you can still do it (and enter to win season tickets!) by clicking on www.wallawallabaseball.com.

It is funny as I try to explain to people that I can't just pick any name. It has to be unique (meaning no other team can legitimately lay claim to it and that I can trademark the identity), marketable (so that the masses will enjoy it, not just a select few), and color schemes have to allow me to work with what vendors already have so as to not incur massive production charges on items like uniforms and merchandise. It is something I look forward to sharing with people as soon as we release the brand.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I don't know how to change the flowers

That was NOT intentional. Anyone know how to change the flowers on the bullets?!

Players are starting to commit

This is a short post, but a few quick updates.

  1. Players are beginning to commit. As soon as we announce the team name and official website, we will start announcing signings. We will have a very good and very competitive club. 
  2. Speaking of the announcement, we will be announcing the team on November 12, 2009. Stay tuned for a location and time - it is a very unique place and will be fun for the community.

      Remember to visit www.wallawallabaseball.com to add your two cents as to team name and colors. Submissions will end at the end of this week...we are getting there!

      Sunday, October 11, 2009

      Bing Bang Rally Gang?

      Greg Shaw is guest blogging for Zachary.

      *  *  *

      I recently stopped by a great baseball collectors store on Queen Anne in Seattle called Brown’s Cooperstown. I found a stack of old Walla Walla Padres and Blue Mountain Bears programs and score sheets from 1982 and 1983.

      It was fun to thumb my way through a dozen or so of these well-preserved programs. I bought them and look forward to sharing them with the community soon.

      Old timers around Walla Walla will remember some of the highlights:
      • The 1982 Padres cover was sponsored by Pastime CafĂ© (“where good friends meet for the fine food and drink). I see Walla Walla Wine Woman remembers it fondly.

      Ron Mihal was the field manager in 1982.

      Pat Nelly was the owner and GM. Bill Legg was the assistant GM.

      • Remember the Bing Bang Rally Gang? That was the fan club back then.

      Saturday, October 10, 2009

      Remembering the WW Padres and Bears

      This is Greg Shaw guest blogging today for Zachary. If it were not for blogging I would not be one of the owners of the new Walla Walla baseball franchise.

      It was through my own blog, CodBall (the unofficial blog of the Cape Cod Baseball League), that I first got excited about participating in the West Coast League.

      The very first person I interviewed when I began doing research on a team in the Northwest was Bob Bavasi. At the end of 1983 Bob and his wife Margaret bought the independent Blue Mountain Bears of Walla Walla and moved them to Everett where they became the Aqua Sox.

      When the first pitch is thrown at Borleske in June 2010 it will be 27 years since a professionally-run team has played there.

      Bob emailed me just after we announced the Walla Walla team. Here are some fun excerpts:
      “When I got out of college in 1976 I worked for the San Diego Padres. One of my jobs was working on the rookie league spring training. We had the club in Walla Walla during that time. I remember picking up Ozzie Smith at the airport when he got there and dropping him at his host family. At the time who would have known what a star he'd become.

      The Padres sent a terrific manager there for many years, whose name was also perfect for the name of the town. Cliff Ditto.

      By the time Margaret and I bought the club at the end of the 1983 season it was an independent team. The uniform colors were light blue, navy blue, and red.
      We never played there. We moved it to Everett shortly after we bought it with an affiliation with San Francisco.”
      Maybe Bob would come and throw out a first pitch one night next summer?

      Thursday, October 8, 2009

      There are A LOT of college programs out there...

      I have been, along with Jeff (one of the owners), working the phones introducing ourselves to college programs across the country. It is a fun sales call to make - and it IS a sales call. We are trying to get young men to commit to a nebulous idea, a dream...because we don't have anything to compare it to. I can't say, "well, last year we did..." because there was no last year.

      A couple of good leads on guys from top-level programs in the West, the Midwest, and working on the East coast tomorrow. I am confident that we will have a very good roster of players that represent not only different parts of the country, but are programs that compete regularly for a national title.

      More tomorrow...time to create a few sales proposals for sponsors. Which reminds me - if you know of companies in southeastern Washington or nationwide that are interested in an affordable option to creatively reach approximately 25,000 - 30,000 fans this summer, please have them shoot me an email: Zachary.Fraser@pacificbaseballventures.com.

      Wednesday, October 7, 2009

      Great Baseball!

      To be frank, I am not a Minnesota Twins fan, but I do like the Twins - they play hard, smart baseball and despite not being in a "big" market, draft well and compete.

      As a kid, I remember that I was in awe with the Metrodome - it was so loud! I loved the homer hankies, and watching Dan Gladden and Kirby Puckett play the plexiglass outfield wall like hockey players playing the boards. Plus, two cities that have been home to me - Salt Lake City, UT and Rochester, NY - have been the Triple-A home for the Twins for the past 15 years or so.

      Watching the game last night, it brought back some of those memories...I couldn't get over the fact that there is always amazing October baseball in that building. What made it even more special was that Alexis Casilla was a player that I knew in the minor leagues - I was a broadcaster in Provo (UT) with the Angels when he was a second basemen who helped us win a league title. His hit made up for his less-than-stellar base running in the 10th.

      We will never have 55,000 people in Walla Walla (the whole region has about 45,000) at a ballgame, but watching last night reminded me of how exciting baseball can be and how good it is for a community.

      Sunday, October 4, 2009

      League Updates

      Good stuff at the league meetings. It is great to be around owners and league leaders that are this passionately committed to good baseball that benefits their communities.

      Look for our team to do more in terms of driving the way with social media - blogging, micro-media tools such as facebook and twitter, and bringing baseball to the fans of Walla Walla that is actually affordable. It's a novel concept.

      What are ideas that you want to see incorporated into Borleske Stadium next year? Would love your thoughts...

      Friday, October 2, 2009

      Two more links

      In the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin: http://tiny.cc/SVMBt
      In the Whitman College Paper: http://www.whitman.edu/content/news/borleskebaseball

      Enjoy...

      At the league meetings...

      In Portland, OR at the hotel Monaco for the league meetings...Very fun and exciting for the next few days. I'll share some insights as what is being discussed - but in short, this league is prepared for some fantastic growth, great affordable baseball, and what will be a strong reason to come to the ballpark for families in Walla Walla.

      Thursday, October 1, 2009

      Check out some photos of the construction that is underway


      LAND BEING CLEARED FOR NEW GRANDSTAND SEATS


      3rd BASE DUGOUT GETTING, WELL, DUG OUT.
                                              

      Today it is official...

      This morning, we issued the press release that officially started the franchise. Read below:

      PRESS RELEASE

      FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

      October 1, 2009

      JOHN STANTON, JEFF CIRILLO AMONG GROUP
      TO BRING SUMMER BASEBALL BACK TO WALLA WALLA
      Group awarded an expansion franchise to compete in the West Coast League


      Walla Walla, Washington (October 1, 2009) – After nearly 30 years, summer baseball in picturesque Walla Walla will be back at Borleske Stadium in 2010.

      Pacific Baseball Ventures, LLC (PBV), a group of investors with strong ties to the Walla Walla community, announces today that they have been granted an expansion franchise in the West Coast League (WCL). The team will begin administrative operations in Walla Walla in November of 2009, and will play a full WCL schedule starting in June 2010. They will play home games at historic Borleske Stadium, bringing minor-league style baseball back to the park for the first time since 1983, when it last hosted the likes of Hall of Famers Ozzie Smith and Tony Gwynn.

      The club is welcoming community feedback in preparation for the official team name and colors. Starting October 7, fans can go to http://www.wallawallabaseball.com/ to provide their ideas, with the chance for one local family to win season tickets for 2010. The official team name, brand, website, ticket prices, and leadership staff will be announced at a date to be determined in the fall.

      PBV is led by wireless communications pioneers John Stanton and Theresa Gillespie. Partners of the group include former Major League Baseball All-Star Jeff Cirillo, former Microsoft executive Greg Shaw, Peter Van Oppen and Mikal Thomsen. Both Van Oppen and Thomsen are partners in the investment firm Trilogy Partnership of Bellevue, WA.

      In addition to playing their home games at Borleske, PBV is partnering with the Borleske Stadium Association, the entity that oversees management of the field, to make capital improvements to the facility that will enhance the baseball atmosphere. Improvements for 2010 will include new grandstand seats behind home plate, new dugouts, and improved fan amenities. Additional improvements will be announced in the spring of 2010.

      “I remember going to Borleske as a student at Whitman College, watching future major leaguers,” said Stanton, the managing director of PBV and a Whitman graduate. “I can’t wait to see who the next big league prospect to play there will be. We look forward to fielding a competitive and aggressive ball club, offering unique and fun promotions, and making Borleske an exciting place to once again bring your family.”

      “We are excited to see minor league-style baseball returning to Walla Walla and to have a terrific ownership group with ties to the local community,” said WCL president Ken Wilson. “Many in southeast Washington and northern Oregon remember the likes of Smith and Gwynn, and we look forward to creating new memories.”

      About the West Coast League
      The West Coast League is quickly developing into one of the best collegiate wood-bat leagues in the country, as the nation’s top collegiate baseball players are drawn to the beauty and strong communities of the Pacific Northwest. Collegiate wood-bat leagues allow college players develop their skills in professional settings and stadiums without sacrificing their college athletic eligibility. Players such as Jacoby Ellsbury (centerfielder for the 2007 World Series Champion Boston Red Sox) and Jeff Francis (pitcher for the 2007 National League Champion Colorado Rockies) began their careers in the West Coast League. For more information, please visit http://www.westcoastleague.com/.

      About Pacific Baseball Ventures, LLC
      Pacific Baseball Ventures, LLC is a group of civic-minded individuals with strong ties to the Walla Walla region and to the game of baseball. PBV will strive to provide their fans, sponsors, business partners, and investors with the very best in competitive baseball and entertainment, including atmosphere, comfort, food & beverage, safety, competition, fun and value. For more information, please visit http://www.wallawallabaseball.com/.

      Pretty fun stuff! We had a few local news outlets pick it up - which is kind of fun. Here are the links to the stories:

      http://www.bellinghamherald.com/601/story/1095848.html
      http://www.tri-cityherald.com/945/story/738470.html

      It's still early in this news cycle so I will see what pops up over the next few days. Very exciting - now we need to start signing some players!!

      Monday, September 7, 2009

      Working...on labor day...

      Yep. A lot to do over the next 6 months, so no Labor day break here - that's ok, I celebrate 2 next year. The irony deepens - I am working on job descriptions for our field manager, office/sales manager, CR/Promotions intern, PR/MR/Broadcast intern, and stadium operations/concessions manager. Good times.

      We should be signing our field manager this week, so that is exciting - and just a few weeks away from the press release announcing the formation of the franchise.

      Walla Walla ___________________ - what will it be? Stay tuned...

      Monday, August 31, 2009

      For those that didn't believe me...

      http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page3/story?id=1739264

      Love the old-school ESPN.com page.

      And so it begins...

      Actually, it started August 17th, but baseball is back in Walla Walla. Not since the days of Tony Gwynn, Ozzie Smith and Kurt Russell (yep, that Kurt Russell) has pro baseball been played at Borleske Stadium in Walla Walla. Well, we're bringing it back.



      As the GM of the team, I will chronicle the progress of creating the franchise to play in the West Coast League - from starting in the basement of my home (yep, that is where this post is being authored), the the name of the team, to the signing of a field manager and players, to Opening Night in 2010, this journal will hopefully give everyone a glimpse into the creation of a team.