David Martin is the first hire of the new Gastonia independent Atlantic League team set to begin play in 2o21. As Chief Operating Officer of the club, Martin will oversee all business operations related to the team and ballpark, including construction and buildout, staffing, food and beverage, programming, sales, marketing and community engagement.
Martin brings more than 25 years of experience in professional sports, and professional baseball in particular, having led operations and opened new ballparks for teams in Sarasota, FL; Winston-Salem, NC; Fresno, CA; and most recently, High Point, NC, where Martin helped to launch the High Point Rockers. Martin has also spent time working with professional motorsports clients, including NASCAR and several of its tracks and drivers.
“As a lifelong fan of the game, and after many years working in professional baseball, I am extremely honored and excited to take the reins and launch this new franchise in Gastonia,” said Martin. “Gastonia has a rich baseball history, and while we have a lot of work to do to get ready for the 2021 season, I am confident the family-friendly entertainment we will deliver at the FUSE will be very well received by the entire community.”
“David brings tremendous skills, expertise, and most importantly, passion to this role,” said Gastonia Team Owner Brandon Bellamy. “As COO, David will be a critical component in building a club with incredible bench strength on and off the field. In addition to delivering a world-class baseball experience, David will oversee the operations for FUSE, which will host year-round athletic, music, and entertainment events while providing an intimate fan experience in a family-friendly atmosphere. I could not be more pleased to have him on our team.”
In Kenosha, Steve Malliet is the new president of the Kingfish. Malliet, who has 27 years of minor-league baseball leadership experience, comes from the Midwest League’s Lansing Lugnuts.
“Kenosha deserves a first-class affordable family fun experience and I am excited to build on the success of the last seven years,” Malliet said. “We plan on bringing a lot of new events, and special promotions to Kenosha this year. I am excited to be a part of the Kenosha community!”
Malliet, originally from Neenah, Wisconsin, brings more than twenty years of professional baseball experience. His background includes stops with the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, the Milwaukee Brewers, the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, and most recently as Vice President of Lugnuts. Malliet was the Midwest League Executive of the Year in 1995 as the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers went on to win the Bob Freitas Award as the most outstanding Minor League Organization.
Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks General Manager Matt Rau has been voted the 2020 American Association Executive of the Year. Rau was selected for the award in a vote by the league’s managers, media representatives and team executives.
Rau led the RedHawks organization during an unprecedented season where they served as the home to two clubs in 2020: Fargo-Moorhead and the Winnipeg Goldeyes. With the Canadian border closed, the Goldeyes operated as a home club out of Newman Outdoor Field and the RedHawks and Winnipeg combined for 51 games over the course of two months.
The RedHawks finished the 2020 season with a record of 28-32 in a season that was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Playing to limited capacity and socially-distanced crowds, the RedHawks averaged nearly 1,300 fans per game at Newman Outdoor Field.
Rau, a Fargo native, took over as General Manager of Fargo-Moorhead prior to the 2018 season. Previous to joining the Fargo-Moorhead organization, Rau worked for Learfield Communications in St. Cloud, MN as the General Manager of St. Cloud State Sports Properties. Rau also worked for the Kinston Indians (High A; Carolina League), Omaha Storm Chasers (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League) and the Dubuque (IA) Fighting Saints of the United States Hockey League.