We have personnel news today from the Schaumburg Boomers (independent; Frontier League), the Washington Wild Things (independent; Frontier League) and the Bellingham Bells (summer collegiate; West Coast League).
In Schaumburg, Andy Viano stepped down as President/General Manager of the Boomers after a successful three-year run. Pete Laven, President of Salvi Sports Enterprises since 2013, will slide over to handle the day-to-day duties as President/GM of the Boomers for the 2015 season.
“I am so grateful to Pat & Lindy Salvi for the faith they have in me, the support they have given me, and the things they have taught me over our many years working together,” said Viano. “They are wonderful owners and true supporters of minor league baseball. The fans of the Schaumburg Boomers could not ask for better people to lead this team for years to come.”
“The impact the Boomers have made during the club’s first three years speaks volumes about Andy’s vision and leadership,” said Boomers Owner Pat Salvi. “The award-winning staff he assembled will continue to carry on the tradition of fun, affordable entertainment in the northwest suburbs for years to come.”
Viano steps aside after guiding the franchise to back-to-back Frontier League Championships in 2013 and 2014 as well as Frontier League Organization of the Year honors in 2013. The Boomers also led the 14-team league in per game and annual attendance for the first time in the club’s three-year history in 2014.
“While I am extremely excited for the new opportunities that await me, I would be lying if I did not add how much I will miss the people I have met and the relationships I have developed in Schaumburg,” Viano added. “I have often talked about the Boomers being a family, and that is what all of the amazing people I have had the opportunity to work with and interact with feel like to me, from the outstanding staff to the great community partners and, most certainly, the dedicated fans of Boomers baseball.”
Laven, President of Salvi Sports Enterprises since 2013, will serve as the President/General Manager for the 2015 season. Laven steps into a familiar role for his 24th season in professional baseball having served as the Interim GM for the Gary SouthShore RailCats (independent; American Association) in 2014 and General Manager of the Arkansas Travelers (Class AA; Texas League) from 2007 through 2012.
We have a new GM for the Washington Wild Things: Steven Zavacky. As General Manager, Zavacky’s role has grown over the years and includes all aspects of player development and ballpark operations at CONSOL Energy Park.
“We are really excited about Steve continuing his growth in taking on this recognition and title,” Frani Williams, co-owner of the Wild Thing and Rebellion said. “He came into the business when we first started in 2002 and has learned the business and lived through it. We couldn’t be more proud and excited for him.”
Zavacky, who joined the Wild Things in 2002, has been part of the front office staff for the past thirteen seasons. His responsibilities over the years have included ballpark operations and maintenance, food and beverage, corporate sales, and player operations.
Kyle Crooks is the new Voice of the Bellingham Bells for the 2015 season. Crooks will provide play-by-play commentary for all 56 games during summer 2015.
“We are thrilled to have Kyle as voice of the Bells for 2015,” said Bells general manager Nick Caples. “He is a terrific talent on the air that I know our fans will really enjoy listening to throughout the summer.”
A 2014 graduate of William Paterson University in Wayne, N.J., Crooks comes to the Bells with an impressive resume in communications. He began his career in 2012 working for the award-winning WPSC-FM, the student radio station of William Paterson University. At WPSC-FM, he acted as the station’s Sports Director and also acted as the lead play-by-play broadcaster for the school’s football, basketball, baseball, and softball teams.
While at WPSC-FM, Crooks won a national award for play-by-play, and was nominated for another award for his morning sports talk show, in addition to being recognized by the WPU communication department as “Best Sports Broadcaster.”
“This is an incredible opportunity to work for a first-class organization with very high expectations,” Crooks said. “This is a chance to not only help shape my broadcast career, but also create relationships for life. I look forward to providing Bells fans with the action the way they have grown to expect with excitement, quality, and esteem.”
“He is a high character and high integrity young man that we know will represent the Bells well during his time with us,” Caples added. “Our coaches, players, and community members will really enjoy working alongside Kyle this summer.”