The Executive Board of the British Baseball Federation has confirmed that Jason Greenberg will be the new General Manager of the Great Britain Senior Baseball Team.
The appointment is the latest development in the BBF's effort to restaff the programme following the resignations of former GM Alan Smith and Head Coach Stephan Rapaglia at the end of February.
However, the Board has asked Alan Smith to serve the senior national team in an advisory capacity to support Jason Greenberg, and Stephan Rapaglia has been invited to continue as Performance Director for the full GB National Teams programme.
Smith and Rapaglia will help to spearhead the search for a new Head Coach for the GB Senior Team.
GB Senior Team at the 2009 Baseball World Cup
The BBF Board has also appointed Head Coaches for the GB Youth Teams.
Paul Vernon, also the BBF Southern Youth Leagues Commissioner, will carry on as the Head Coach of the GB Junior Baseball Team, while Will Lintern will remain as Head Coach for the GB Cadets.
These staffing decisions have been made against the backdrop of this summer's European Baseball Championships in Stuttgart, Germany from July 23 to August 8. The BBF has informed the Confederation of European Baseball (CEB) that Great Britain is committed to fielding the strongest team possible at the tournament.
But the composition of the squad, how much money is available for travel and what kind of pre-tournament opportunities the team can afford to take part in are just some of the questions that Jason Greenberg must now confront together with Alan Smith, Stephan Rapaglia and the as yet unnamed Head Coach.
GB vs. Holland at the 2009 Baseball World Cup
Preparations for this summer's national team competitions have been the first order of business for the new BBF Board that was elected at the AGM on February 28. The new National Teams Programme Official, Marty Cullen, wasted little time in assembling a committee to address the issues and conduct a search for a new General Manager and Head Coach.
Sitting on the committee with Cullen, Alan Smith and Stephan Rapaglia are BBF President Mark Salter and James Pearce, BBF Development Official and MLB's World Baseball Classic Tournament Director.
It was Alan Smith who recommended Jason Greenberg to the Board as his possible successor.
Greenberg works in London as a full-time employee in the BSUK Operations Department. He is a US/UK dual national who grew up playing baseball near Seattle, attended Williams College in Massachusetts and holds a Masters degree from Kings College London and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.
Since 2005, Greenberg has been a member of Herts Baseball Club in Hemel Hempstead, serving as Adult Programme Director and Manager of the Herts Falcons since 2008.
“The GM appointment is a great honour and an immense responsibility,” Greenberg said. “I have so much respect for the magnificent work that Alan and Stephan have done since taking over the GB Senior Team six years ago. They have left very, very big shoes to fill — and it was heartening to learn that they have agreed to stay on as consultants to the programme.
“It is imperative that we field a competitive team in Stuttgart,” Greenberg continued. “Alan and Stephan led Britain to a world ranking of 21st place and it is our goal, at the very least, to maintain that level of success. Nothing would propel GB baseball to the next level of international recognition as quickly as a high EC placing and, if all goes well, a bid to compete at the 2013 World Baseball Classic when the field expands to 24 teams.
“The ripple effect of competing on that kind of world stage will benefit every UK team, both at the adult and youth levels, by helping more and more people in Britain to get excited about baseball.”
GB Senior Team at the Belgian Trials, 30-May-2009
Of course, just getting the GB Team to the European Championships this July will require a daunting fundraising drive by the GB programme.
The BBF National Teams Committee has set a target of £50,000 to be raised over the next four months, or roughly £500 a day. Such a sum would allow players to travel to Stuttgart from locations in Europe and North America, as well as provide for a pre-tournament training camp consisting of practice sessions and exhibition games.
“I must be mad to take up this job when there is so little time to fundraise and prepare,” Jason Greenberg said. “And I have no illusions — it will be a massive uphill battle just to get to Stuttgart, let alone with a squad that can compete with the best teams in Europe.
“But I have confidence in my ability to plan and help coordinate the efforts of all the great people who are now involved in making this dream a reality. No one could do this alone, and having Alan and Stephan as part of the team and having Marty, James and Mark guiding this work at Board level will help immensely.
“These are bright, capable volunteers who all share the same vision for baseball in this country. So I'm inspired and encouraged and proud to be working with them.”
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