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Diary of a Mad Sportswriter: Phillies looking to reload successful program in off season

Diary of a Mad Sportswriter

Stan Hudy is a sportswriter for The Saratogian and Community News. He covers high school and youth sports in the Saratoga County area as well as writing a weekly book review on sports books. He's not just a "stick and ball" sportswriter, he's willing to take on any sport as well as any subject.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Phillies looking to reload successful program in off season

Even though the majority of the Saratoga Phillies staff has packed their bags and returned to their home towns prior to going back to college for fall baseball, the ownership duo is already looking to next season.

Co-owner Keith Rogers said that he has made more than a dozen phone calls to college baseball coaches looking to sign talent for the 2008 season.

With a roster of 25 players allowed, Rogers knows now that six names will not be back for another season of wood bat baseball in the Spa City.

Jason Downey (Rutgers), Mike Fiers (U of Cumberlands), Joe Zongol (RPI), Jon Nicolla (Duke), Jake Willis (Siena) and Tyler Zeronda (LaFayette) are all entering seniors and are draft eligible next June for the 2008 MLB Entry Draft.

One player also not returning will be 6-foot-4 right-hander Mark Lamm.
The Vanderbilt hurler is headed to the prestigious Cape Cod Collegiate Baseball League.

One face that Rogers and Scaring hope to see on the bench next season is its second-year skipper Garett Baron.

According to Rogers, the job is Baron’s as long as he is interested in it. The challenge for Baron is balancing the summer coaching job along with the recruiting responsibilities he has with the Great Danes.

Rogers is anxious for the NYCBL to finalize its 2008 player agreements so that he can begin getting players to sign on the dotted line. The agreement secures a player to compete for the NYCBL club, confirming his commitment and eliminating the player from playing with another collegiate team.

Some things have become easier for Rogers and Scaring, capturing an NYCBL title in only their second year of existence in 2007, playing summer baseball in Saratoga Springs and making it an enjoyable experience.

Word has gotten out about the quality of host families, work opportunities during the summer with the Phillies and the investment the owners make each season in equipment, uniforms and travel accommodations for the college baseball players. Summer in the Spa City is not a bad gig for any college student, even better for a baseball player.

NYCBL commissioner Dave Chamberlain has requested that two additional light poles be added to East Side Rec for the outfield and Rogers said Scaring was meeting with the city to discuss potential improvements to the baseball facility.

Changes could be on the horizon for the NYCBL, all on the positive side.

The NYCBL could be adding an Eastern Division team in the Saugerties area. The last team located nearby was the Kingston Dodgers Class C franchise that left in 1950. With expansion, the NYCBL could return to a three-division format along with more contests out of the division.

This year the Phillies were scheduled to play eight games against their East Division counterparts, enough to wear on any team’s nerves. The expanded schedule would put more financial strain on the club’s ownership, but Rogers is all for it.

Fund raising for the 2008 Saratoga Phillies has already begun and look for an announcement for the Hot Stove Silent Auction to benefit the team in January along with a golf outing.

Most importantly, stay tuned for the next crop of Phillies to sign for next year.

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