We have some personnel news to report, including Kurt Hunzeker‘s return to baseball, staff additions for the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (Class A; Midwest League) and a GM for the new Danville team in the summer-collegiate Appalachian League.
Hunzeker returns to baseball as Vice President, Minor League Business Operations for Major League Baseball. He previously was Vice President, Marketing Strategy & Research for Minor League Baseball between January 2015 and June 2019 before leaving the sport for the startup XFL. Though the league quickly folded, Hunzeker’s stint as president of the St. Louis BattleHawks was considered a success, as the team surpassed expectations. His time with MiLB was marked with some notable successes, including the development of the popular and profitable Copa de La Diversión promotions.
In Grand Chute, Hilary Bauer has been named as the Vice President of Marketing/Assistant GM for the Timber Rattlers, while Justin Peterson has been promoted to the Director of Stadium Operations.
Bauer has been with the team since January of 2013 and previously held the title of Director of Marketing/Assistant General Manager. She will continue to oversee the marketing department while working to strengthen the brands and grow attendance for the Timber Rattlers, the Fond du Lac Dock Spiders, and the Fox Club Banquet Facility. Bauer will also take on additional leadership responsibilities within the organization.
“Hilary is a key member of our leadership team and has been instrumental in the growth of the Timber Rattlers and Dock Spiders during her time with the clubs,” said Timber Rattlers President and CEO,\ Rob Zerjav. “We are excited to see her continue to excel within our organization as we look to welcome fans back in 2021.”
Peterson joined the front office in the fall of 2018 as the Stadium Operations Manager. In his new, expanded role, Peterson will work to ensure the ballpark is well-maintained both in look and function, including providing a safe, clean environment for fans attending games and events.
“In his short time with the team, Justin has stood out for his knowledge, attention to detail, craftsmanship and hard work,” said Zerjav. “He has performed exceptionally well, and we look forward to his further contributions to our organization in his new position.”
Austin Scher is General Manager of the new Danville team in the summer-collegiate Appalachian League. Scher will work alongside team owners Brittany and Ryan Keur to lead the organization into its inaugural season.
“From the moment I met Austin in 2015, I knew he was going to do special things in this industry. I’ve had the luxury to work with him for the majority of the past six years and cannot overstate the growth he’s experienced both personally and professionally,” said Ryan Keur. “He embodies everything that sport should represent and understands the impact that sport can have on a local community. As a baseball team, we pride ourselves on being active, engaged and strong community stalwarts.”
Born and raised in Durham, NC just three miles from Durham Bulls Athletic Park, Austin fell in love with the hometown baseball experience before he could walk. His first full season in baseball was in 2015 when he interned with the Burlington Royals while he was a student at the University of Wisconsin.
“As someone who began my baseball career as an intern in the Appalachian League, I am beyond proud to now be the general manager of an Appalachian League organization,” Scher said. “I love this league and the communities that make it up, and I look forward to ushering in a new era of Danville baseball.”
In Port Charlotte, Dan Moeller will take on all responsibilities of operations at Charlotte Sports Park in addition to his Head Groundskeeper role at both Tropicana Field and the spring training facility. Moeller is also a key advisor and consultant for the fields at the Rays Dominican Republic Academy and the Rays Field Renovation program.
“Dan has long contributed to the success of our organization as head groundskeeper,” said Rays President Matt Silverman. “His skills and character are a great fit to also take on our management of Charlotte Sports Park.”
Entering his 24th season with the team and 20th as head groundskeeper, Moeller adds year-round management of security, ticketing, promotions, sponsorships and budget, in addition to field maintenance, landscaping and coordination of major and minor league spring training, extended spring training, Gulf Coast League, instructional league and county-sponsored tournaments held at the park. His official title is now Head Groundskeeper, Tampa Bay Rays/Director of Operations, Charlotte Sports Park.
“I’m honored to take on this role at our facility in Port Charlotte,” said Moeller. “I look forward to working with the Charlotte Sports Park personnel and further strengthening the relationship between the Rays organization and Charlotte County.”