We have personnel news today from the Frisco RoughRiders (Class AA; Texas League), the Fast Forward Sports Group and the Green Bay Bullfrogs (summer collegiate; Northwoods League).
In Frisco, Sam Torres is the franchise’s new Chief Sales Officer. Torres, who will oversee the team’s corporate partnership development, joins the Riders’ executive team after 3 1/2 years as a General Manager for IMG College. Most recently, Torres served as General Manager of Sports Properties at the University of Texas El Paso. From 2013-14, he was the GM of IMG College’s Rice University property in Houston.
“Sam was identified as one of the top corporate partnership executives in the country and a rising star in the industry,” said General Partner & CEO Chuck Greenberg. “We are thrilled that someone with such a proven track record of success, along with a passion for building unique and dynamic partnerships, will be joining President Scott Sonju, Executive Vice President/GM Jason Dambach and Chief Operating Officer Scott Burchett on our RoughRiders’ senior management team.”
Torres’ career in sports also includes stints as Senior Account Executive of Corporate Sales for Major League Soccer’s Houston Dynamo (2009-12) and Director of Corporate Sales with Arena Football’s Corpus Christi Sharks (2006-09).
“I’m excited to take this next step in my career as the new Chief Sales Officer with the Frisco RoughRiders,” said Torres. “I’ve been able to create long-lasting partnerships and drive revenues with all of the organizations I’ve worked for, giving credit to the fans and sponsors that supported each team. I know the RoughRiders have that same support with the City of Frisco and throughout the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex.”
Fast Forward Sports Group LLC founder and chief executive officer Ken Babby named Akron RubberDucks (Class AA; Eastern League) general manager and chief operating officer Jim Pfander as its president.
Fast Forward Sports Group (FFSG) is the parent company of the Eastern League’s RubberDucks and the Southern League’s Jacksonville Suns. In his new role as FFSG’s president, in addition to his Akron duties, Pfander will oversee the operations in Jacksonville led by general manager Harold Craw. Pfander will remain based in Akron and he will continue serving the RubberDucks in a general manager/chief operating officer capacity.
“Jim’s proven track record of more than 16 years as a seasoned Minor League Baseball executive prepares him perfectly for these expanded responsibilities,” said Babby, who is also the owner and chief executive officer of the Suns and RubberDucks. “His able leadership, passion for our organizational growth goals, and commitment to delivering the finest in affordable family fun in the communities we serve, is unmatched.”
Pfander was Babby’s first hire upon his purchase of the Akron franchise in October 2012. Under his leadership, the franchise completed an identity change, remade its game-day presentation, remodeled Canal Park with more than $6 million of privately funded improvements, and helped the team increase attendance by a record 27.7 percent by the 2014 season. In addition, the franchise has made major steps reconnecting with the Northeast Ohio community and making Canal Park the area’s home for affordable family fun.
“I am humbled and honored that Ken Babby chose me for this new role within the organization,” said Pfander. “I am extremely proud of the work we have done in Akron during the last three years setting our core principles based around families and affordability, but there’s more work to do to finish what we’re building there. The Suns franchise already has a passionate fan base and is an establishment in Jacksonville area, so I am excited to work with Harold see what we can build there in this new era with the terrific staff we have assembled and the fun new ideas we’re bringing.”
The Akron native is a graduate of Archbishop Hoban High School and Ohio University. During his 16-year career in baseball, he has served as general manager of the Charlotte Stone Crabs of the Florida State League, assistant general manager of the Charleston RiverDogs, and held positions with the Brockton Rox and Spokane Indians. He began his baseball career as an intern in the Cleveland Indians broadcasting and special events department in 2000.
Derek McCarty has been promoted to General Manager of the Green Bay Bullfrogs. McCarty has spent the last two seasons with the Bullfrogs as a Corporate Account Manager and has made a significant impact on the business and community. In two seasons with the Bullfrogs, McCarty has led the ticket sales department as the Bullfrogs have increased attendance 55 percent since taking over the franchise from the previous ownership group in late November 2013.
“I am very excited and thankful to be part of this organization and to receive such a great opportunity,” said McCarty, “I look forward to continuing to build on the foundation that has been started, and continuing to create something special in the Green Bay community.”
McCarty will be taking over for Liz Kern as General Manager. Kern will be taking a position with the parent group to the Bullfrogs, Big Top Baseball, to work with the company’s Northwoods League franchises in Kenosha, Wisconsin Rapids, Madison and Green Bay. Kern will relocate to Madison to begin her role within Big Top Baseball.
McCarty started his career as an intern for the Bullfrogs in 2011. After graduating college in 2012, he spent a year as part of a successful ticket sales staff for the Cincinnati Cyclones (ECHL). Following his time in Cincinnati, McCarty was hired by Legends, a sports ticket sales and consulting company founded by the New York Yankees and Dallas Cowboys, to be a part of a record setting ticket sales staff for the University of Nevada-Reno.
McCarty is a St. Norbert College graduate and was a member of the St. Norbert College football team. He is originally from Rapid River, Michigan. McCarty currently resides in Green Bay and is committed to continuing to build the Bullfrogs brand in the greater Green Bay area.
“We are excited for Derek and for the future of the Bullfrogs,” said Bullfrogs Chief Operating Officer and Managing Partner Conor Caloia. “The community has really embraced our product since we took over the franchise in late 2013. After a record-setting attendance season this year featuring 17 sellouts, we are confident the best days for baseball in Green Bay are ahead of us. Derek’s energy and passion for providing affordable, family entertainment to the community make him the right person to now lead the organization.”