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Summit Junior Baseball

Board of Directors Meeting—Thursday, 12/10/09-7:30 PM

Meeting Minutes


In Attendance:  Zusi, Calabrese, Bonomo, Douglas, Miller, Meyers, Aguilera, Guida, Huck, Kaufman, Fulton, Donatacci, Griffith, Hoesly, Berson, Melendez, Luciani, McDonald, Supran, Schaffer, Lenz, Fuoti

  1. Minutes from November 19, 2009 Board of Directors Meeting were approved.  Several presentations and updates followed:
  2.  Stewart Douglas—Director—Evaluations/Draft

Mr. Douglas provided and overview of plans for baseball player evaluations and recreation league drafts.  Player evaluations will be held at Summit HS on the following dates:  2/6/10 from 3 PM to 9:30 PM, 2/8/10 from 7 PM to 9 PM, 2/16/10 from 6 PM to 9 PM, and 2/20/10 beginning at 3:30 PM.

Recreation league drafts will be held on Sunday, 2/28/10---location and times to be determined.  Mr. Douglas indicated he was still collecting player evaluations from last year’s recreation league coaches for purposes of enhancing the data used to evaluate players at the 2010 drafts.  He indicated he had collected evaluations from approximately 50 percent of the coaches and is hoping for an 80 to 90 percent return rate. In response to Mr. Douglas’ overview, concern was expressed regarding sensitivity to coaches’ evaluations of their own children.   Mr. Douglas indicated that he expected guidelines for the draft process to be finalized within the next several weeks. 

  1. John Calabrese---Director--Softball

Mr. Calabrese indicated the softball board met the previous night, focusing on the tri-town league being planned for the older softball age groups.  He indicated that Mr. Hoesly was developing an enhanced clinic format and experience for all softball players, including learning opportunities at the softball Pizzafests.   He indicated that that fliers for softball clinics and Pizzafests would be online by the end of the week.

Mr. Calabrese indicated that the softball program was offering helmets for sale (at cost--$40) online in conjunction with the registration process and also at the softball Pizzafests.

A discussion followed regarding the possibility of conducting a glove and cleat donation drive and exchange.  The discussion focused on where donations might be gathered (e.g., at the winter clinics, the YMCA, the Fire Dept.) and the possibility of coordinating such an effort with other community organizations and/or other towns.  Although most felt donations would be abundant, there was concern expressed about whether anyone would take anything as part of the exchange, given the experience of other organizations with similar efforts.  Others pointed out that any excess could be donated to charity.   A suggestion was made that someone should contact Jesse Herman, who had experience with a similar initiative.

There was additional discussion regarding the status of sponsorships.  Mr. Hoesly indicated they were being proactively sought and that 3 more had been received today.  It was agreed that there should be a list published of who had been contacted for sponsorships (baseball and softball), so that merchants and other potential sponsors were not solicited on multiple occasions.  Those responsible for sponsorships (including Mr. Hoesly) will prepare this list.

  1. Greg Mayes—Director-Field Operations----No Report
  2. John Floegel—Director-Operations---No Report
  3. Brian Kaufman---Director—Personnel

Mr. Kaufman and Mr. Melendez provided an overview of the newly formed Coaches’ Committee and its anticipated initiatives and focus for 2010.  Among other things, they indicated they expected the committee would focus on (i) ensuring open communication and dialogue among league directors, coaches and parents, (ii) identifying 5 major issues and opportunities for the committee to be at work on during 2010 as a result of such dialogue, (iii) assisting in the development of the criteria for selecting coaches, participating in the selection process, and developing and/or identifying coaching “certification” learning programs to enhance coaching skills, (iv) ensuring there is a Coaches’ Committee member assigned to each league (a Committee “point person”), (v) developing guidelines and tutorials for age appropriate drills for each age level, and (vi) assisting in a revision and updating of the SJBB Rulebook.

Mr. Kaufman indicated that the Travel Committee would be at work developing  recommended criteria for the selection of travel team coaches as well as assessing, for purposes of spring travel, whether (i) there should be 1 team at each age level and (ii) there should be a 7th grade team.

Mr. Kaufman indicated league director meeting would be held in the near future and that more was going to be expected from league directors in the future, particularly in terms of ensuring the implementation of age appropriate skill development by coaches at each level.  He indicated that age appropriate guidelines will be developed and disseminated (electronically and hardcopy) to coaches.  He indicated Mr. Donatacci would lead the development of these guidelines.

Mr. Kaufman spoke briefly as well about the Suburban League program and the need to upgrade that experience to ensure continuing and increased involvement in baseball by middle-school age children, particularly those who do not have the opportunity to play travel or middle school baseball.  

He also noted that the details of the 6th grade 50/70 program were still in development, particularly the possibility of playing some number of unofficial or informal inter-town games with other communities that have developed or are beginning to develop 50/70 programs for 6th graders as well.

Finally, Mr. Kaufman noted (i) the Chuck Fox clinic that will be held in Murray Hill on 1/31/2010 (Mr. Kaufman was to talk to Mr. Fox about the possibility of an advertisement on the SJBB website) and (ii) the large high school and college baseball coaches’ clinic at Mohegan Sun in CT on 1/19/10 through 1/21/10.  He encouraged everyone with an active coaching interest to attend if at all possible.


  1. Purchasing/Marketing Report

Mr. Schaffer provided an update/overview regarding the anticipated equipment purchasing process.  Mr. Schaffer indicated that an equipment inventory was underway and that he was looking for any ideas or opinions regarding how the equipment procurement and return process could be improved as well as any ideas regarding additional equipment needs.  Mr. Calabrese was to coordinate with Mr. Shaffer regarding ideas for better organizing the equipment shed. 

Mr. Shaffer indicated an addition e-mail blast would occur reminding coaches to return their equipment (Mr. Shaffer to provide Ms. McDonald with a date and time and to coordinate with Mr. Kovar, who was leading this initiative for the softball program).  He indicated that he expected equipment orders would need to be completed by mid-January 2010 in order to ensure timely delivery before the beginning of the season.

Mr. Melendez noted the need to refurbish/recondition helmets and volunteered to help with that.  Ms. Burson noted the need to constantly remind players to take good care of their equipment generally.

There was a discussion of the need to better track equipment returns in the inventory process (there was a suggestion to contact Dave Grewcock, who had particular experience in that regard).

There was a brief discussion regarding the relevance of bat quality (in terms of bats distributed to teams).  There was a general consensus that the quality should be modest and cost-efficient, since most players invested in their own bats in any event (which tended to be shared among teammates).  There was a suggestion that SJBB should explore an affiliation or sponsorship arrangement with a bat company.  Ms. McDonald indicated that she would explore involving 8th graders in the equipment gathering process (in exchange for community service hours).

The actual equipment distribution process was discussed briefly.  Mr. Shaffer suggested the possibility of a “Distribution Day”, coordinated with other activities or competitions that might run simultaneously.   It was noted that in the past, distributions typically occurred on four different dates.

Mr. Fuoti provided an update on Patriot’s Night plans.  The event will be held on Saturday night, 5/8/10 (a fireworks night at the stadium).  He indicated there would be no direct coaches’ involvement in the ticket distribution process, although coaches were expected to promote the event.  He indicated that he expected tickets would be sold on-line and at a temporary station set up at the stadium on game night.   A suggestion was made to involve Rex Ryan in the promotion of the event.    Concern was expressed about ensuring there was not excessive conflict with scheduled SJBB games.

8.       President’s Update/Overview (Keith Zusi)

Mr. Zusi thanked Mr. Kaufman for preparing and disseminating the Independent Press article regarding the election of the new SJBB board and related developments.  The article will be posted on the website.  Mr. Kaufman apologized that all board member names were not mentioned in the article, although he requested that all names be mentioned.

Mr. Zusi described briefly the new mandatory coaches’ background checks for this coming season.  Cost is $20 (good for 3 years).  He noted that teachers and policy officers were exempt from the process.  Concern was expressed about the logistical difficulties associated with the process, which may involve travelling to a vendor location to complete the background check.

Mr. Zusi described briefly the anticipated evening with Rick Wolf, a noted author and youth sports expert, who would provide a presentation to the community focusing on the most important priorities in youth sports.   He indicated that he was working with Judith Josephs at the Dept of Community Services (who was working with Overlook Hospital) to try to identify potential sponsors (and advertisers) for the event, in order to defray costs.

Mr. Zusi described briefly the anticipated evening of appreciation for the outgoing/former SJBB board members.  He indicated that the date was still uncertain, pending feedback from Rich Apostolik.

Mr. Zusi encouraged everyone to get to know Ike Welsh, the Summit Middle School coach.  Mention was made of the need to ensure that Kevin Zaleski was on the SJBB Board distribution lists.

  1. Other Business

Mr. Douglas emphasized the importance of trying to pursue commercial/vendor sponsorships before the end of the year, since there might be a greater incentive to pay for a sponsorship in 2009 in order to obtain a 2009 income tax deduction.  Mr. Fuoti noted that solicitation was actively underway.  Concern was expressed regarding the need to ensure that sponsor appreciation plaques are distributed on a timely basis.  There was also a discussion of the need to develop a more comprehensive and structured game plan for soliciting and promoting sponsorships and providing sponsor acknowledgements.  There was a brief discussion of the degree to which coaches’ should play an active role in this process.

Mr. Luciani discussed briefly the idea of Summit/SJBB sponsoring regional summer baseball tournaments during the summer of 2010.   He noted that in the past, such tournaments had been sponsored in Summit for 14Us and 12Us.  Mr. Luciani agreed to explore possibilities in this regard for 14Us.  Mr. Huck agreed to assist in exploring possibilities for other age groups as well.  Mr. Luciani described generally how the process might work (10 to 12 teams, beginning at 9 AM on Saturday, finishing late in the day on Sunday, perhaps over two consecutive weekends.  There was a discussion regarding the skill levels for which such tournaments might be developed as well as a discussion of the need to ensure appropriate coordination with other summer travel baseball activity as well as broad-based advertising of the event.  Discussion indicated that it would be best to explore possibilities for early to mid-July or perhaps Memorial Day weekend.

Ms. McDonald noted that baseball and softball registration was now open.  200 children had already registered.  Concern was expressed regarding the need to reach out through other/additional means (not just electronically) to private school children and their parents as well as children new to the program and school system (particularly K and 1st grade).

Mr. Fuoti noted that the Pizzafest dates had now been set: 3/21--grades 2 to 4 in the HS cafeteria, 3/24--softball—HS location (gym or cafeteria) TBD, 3/25—grades 5 and 6  in the Middle School cafeteria, and 3/29—grades K and 1 in the HS cafeteria.  There will be no Pizzafest for grades 7 through 9.   It was noted that the Pizzafests should be used as an opportunity to explain to parents in advance the expectations for the program at each age level.  Ms. Burson indicated that the development of age appropriate parents’ guides (as tool in this process) was underway.    

Noting no further new business, the meeting was adjourned at 9:05 PM.