Is former MLB general manager, president
Tuesday, July 12, 2005 - Peter Bavasi wanted to make one thing clear Tuesday afternoon during a press conference to announce him as co-managing partner with his brother, Bob, of the Yuba-Sutter Gold Sox.
“This team is not really owned by the Bavasis, it is owned by the community,” the veteran baseball executive said inside the council chambers at Marysville City Hall. “Bob and I are just caretakers for this civic asset.”
The appointment of Bavasi was spurred by the untimely April death of local businessman Don McCullough, a co-owner with Bob Bavasi.
“Peter shared with me a vision for the Gold Sox that our Marysville City Council established, has encouraged and continues to enthusiastically support, as did our late partner and friend Don McCullough,” Bob Bavasi said in a prepared statement.
Peter certainly brings a stacked resume to the collegiate wood-bat organization.
His sports management career spans more than 40 years, including as general manager of the San Diego Padres; the founding president and general manager of the Toronto Blue Jays; and president of the Cleveland Indians, where he was appointed to major league baseball's ruling Executive Council. He is also the founding president of ESPN's SportsTicker news and information service.
Bavasi said he plans to nurture the organization and build on its success with his brother.
That includes boosting attendance figures by upholding the exciting and fun baseball atmosphere for the fans, while also improving the experience and level of play on the field by tweaking the Horizon Air Summer Series.
“Nothing in major league baseball comes close to the beauty of baseball that we see in Marysville,” he said.
Bavasi points to his success with rebuilding the Cleveland Indians franchise as a guide for the Gold Sox, which he said won't be going anywhere, anytime soon.
“(The Indians) owed millions and millions of dollars when I took over,” Bavasi said. “All of a sudden, with a little hard work and an understanding for the business, we worked through that. Pretty soon, the Indians were able to break even, make money and win games.”
The Gold Sox aren't deeply in debt or hurting for fans - drawing nearly 1,200 a game - but Bavasi does have plenty of ideas for improving the franchise and boosting those numbers.
“A mentor once told me, ‘you don't draw fans in bunches',” Bavasi said. “He said, ‘you draw them one at a time, and then if they have a fun time, a good experience, they will want to come back again and bring a person with them, and then it multiplies from there.' It's a slow row, it takes time to build. Once you have all the elements in place, success and attendance then grows.”
There is still a bad taste in the mouth of many Yuba-Sutter baseball fans who were burned by the Feather River Mudcats' sudden bankruptcy in 2000 and the Feather River Fury's in 2001.
Peter Bavasi is certain past baseball failures will not happen again.
“From 1950 to present, one or another Bavasi has been a major league baseball executive,” he said. “Our life is baseball. We are like blacksmiths. We were trained young to run a baseball team. We respect the game, respect the institution of baseball and American culture, and we would never think to betray that trust...
“It is a simple game but a complex business. That is the reason past owners have failed. They thought it was a simple game and a simple business.”
Appeal-Democrat reporter Justin Miller can be reached at 749-4796. You may e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org