A lot of Orioles fans may not know Brian Shallcross' name. He is the general manager of the Double-A Bowie Baysox. This former William and Mary kicker has been with Bowie since 2003.
He's one of the good guys that works hard, most of the time behind the scenes, to keep his organization humming. The Baysox have a first-rate staff and they love their fans and community.
I recently chatted via Zoom video with Brian about several topics. At the of the end of this blog, you can click to watch the video and see the whole interview.
"I've been here so long that one of our players (Buck Britton) is now the manager," Shallcross said. "That is one of the cool things. It's seeing families come up to me and say, 'I came here as a kid.' That means I'm getting old, Steve, but it's special that it means so much to the families that they are developing the next generation of Baysox and Orioles fans."
Minor League Baseball means so much to local communities. Shallcross and the Baysox are trying to help now even without seeing their fans at games.
"It's difficult," he said. "You feel helpless at times because the way we help the community is getting out and also bringing people to the ballpark. Helping raise money for nonprofits. Helping student programs in the local schools. Not able to do that right now. So we're looking for other ways that we can help.
"We're picking the brains of other minor league teams. How we can help the community and our hospitals? And you know, simple things like a rain poncho that we've been donating in care packages. Things you would never think would be of value in this community. All the sudden people want rain ponchos for medical staffs. We're just trying to do what we can to help while most of our staff is at home. It at least makes us feel like we are doing something."
Shallcross said even though no one knows when baseball will return at the major league and minor league levels, he is already looking ahead to that day.
"We have to plan," he said. "We understand that at some point in time, when the communities are opened back up, we need to be an asset to the community. How do we do that in a safe manner? So there is conversation already.
"The beauty of Minor League Baseball is we don't compete with each other. So it's 160 teams and general managers communicating with each other on best practices. Certainly, how our business and baseball will change once we open up. It's important to be forward looking. A lot of things are on the table. It's important to evaluate the different plans and different courses of action our ballpark will take when we open up."
In the first year of the new Orioles regime, led by executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias, Bowie had a winner. The 2019 Baysox went 76-64 and advanced to the Eastern League Championship Series for the second time in club history, losing to Trenton.
"I enjoy the honesty and vision," Shallcross said of working with the Baltimore front office. "They are going to tell you what they are going to do and how they are going to implement it. This is the vision and this (the Bowie team) is an important part of that vision. That is really what means a lot to us. We are a relevant part of building the Orioles back up.
"We saw some of the fruits of the labor last year you are not seeing in Baltimore right now, but it's here, it's ready, it's getting there. So that is the exciting thing from our perspective. The administration right now really values Double-A and Triple-A. Really values the minor league system. From my perspective, I'd much rather see the youth and the draft picks as opposed to signing free agents that might now have the buy in. These guys have the buy in. They're all in. They believe in the system. We believe in the system, I've seen it work. We are certainly encouraged that we are part of the solution."
During the baseball shutdown Bowie has started its greatest player tournament at their Baysox.com website. Also check out what they've got going on Facebook and Twitter.
Check out the video where Shallcross me told some minor league stories, reflected on the 2015 Eastern League champs and more.
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