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Shapiro to head San Rafael NAL team

North American LeagueMike Shapiro, who has spent many years in the front offices of the San Francisco Giants and Atlanta Braves, will be heading up the new independent North American League team in his hometown, San Rafael.

Shapiro has been named president and general manager of the new franchise set to play its home games at Albert Park in San Rafael beginning in May 2012. He previously served as vice president and general counsel for the San Francisco Giants, senior counsel for the Atlanta Braves and senior vice president of the Washington Nationals. He is a 12-year Marin County resident and has also coached in the Twin Cities Little League program, served on their Board of Directors and was frequently seen grilling sausages and hamburgers at Joe Wagner Field.

“I’m thrilled with the opportunity to launch this new franchise in my hometown,” he said “This will give me the chance to utilize all of the experience I’ve had at the major league level, particularly with respect to operations and customer service, and bring it to a smaller, very local scale. As one of my mentors, Stan Kasten, pounded into my head: it’s all about putting a good product on the field, creating a great fan experience and integrating the team with the community. I fully intend to follow Stan’s teaching.”

“Mike championed the efforts to bring this franchise to San Rafael,” said the team’s principal owner, Brian Clark, CEO of Centerfield Partners. “I give him a lot of credit for sticking with it.  With Mike at the helm I’m certain we can do something very special and make this a real asset for the local community.”

Among Shapiro’s first duties will be to spearhead a sponsorship drive. “This team can’t survive without a lot of support from the business community,” Shapiro said. “Because we only have 800 seats at Albert Park we need to make up a lot of lost ticket sales revenue with sponsorships.  We can offer a lot of fun and unique benefits to sponsors who want to partner with us in this historic endeavor.”

Also high on the to-do list will be to name the team’s first manager: “We’ve been talking to a number of quality baseball people and there’s a lot of interest out there for this job. Our highest goals are to find the right field leader who has experience at the independent league level, is enthusiastic about working in the community and is on board with our goal to build a consistently competitive team.” According to Shapiro, the team hopes to name the manager in early November in order to get him immediately involved in the team’s marketing and promotional efforts and to start the process of recruiting and signing players.

Shapiro lives in Corte Madera with his wife, Jane, counseling secretary at Tam High, and his sons Harry and Jackson, who both play baseball at Redwood High.

RELATED STORIES: San Rafael approves one-year NAL lease for Albert Park; San Rafael ballpark proposal scaled back to 800-seat facility; San Rafael delays decision on NAL ballpark, as citizens class over merits; San Rafael debates NAL ballpark at Albert Park


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