Lakewood BlueClaws introduce new General Manager
One of the first moves Shore Town Baseball has made as new owners of the Lakewood BlueClaws is naming a new team president and general manager.
Joe Ricciutti whose resume features stints as GM and Team President of the New York Yankees Single-A affiliate, the Staten Island Yankees says he and the new owners share a lot of the same goals and philosophies for the Phillies Low-A affiliate.
“We’re all on the same page with making sure the organization is ingrained in the community and is a fixture in the community and continues to be so,” said Ricciutti.
He worked with new owners Art Matin, Bill Luby and Bob Tamashunas in the Mandalay Baseball Group while helping shape the Yankees A-ball team in 2007.
Ricciutti served as Staten Island Yankees GM from 2001-2004 and President from 2007-2011, during which he was named the Minor League Baseball Executive of the Year in 2008 by Ballpark Digest.
He was also the Assistant Vice-President of University Event Management at Columbia University from 2004-2007.
A Staten Island native, he’s spent the last 25-years in Lavalette during the summer months.
The General Manager’s duties tend to include such things as managing the roster and in the case of affiliated minor-league baseball it includes working with the major league team to learn and understand their plans for the prospects on the farm.
The GM is also tasked with putting together the roster and helping to ensure the development of the prospects or players takes place in accordance with the plans of the organization so that these players do reach their potential. Transactions are also included at times in a GM’s role.
So in a sense, Ricciutti will work at times with Philadelphia Phillies GM and Vice-Preisdent Matt Klentak as well as President Andy MacPhail as the big club continues to revamp their roster from within by using these prospects one day in the future, like current rookie Mark Lester Jr. who used to play with Lakewood.
The BlueClaws have had success since inception winning 3 South Atlantic League Championships, with the last one being in 2010.
Ricciutti says he’ll give the same instructions to BlueClaws skipper Marty Malloy he did to his manager in Staten Island….to be cognizant of the fact someone’s always watching.
“I’m not going to be the guy in the dugout whispering in your ear what you should do or shouldn’t do,” said Ricciutti. “But I will be the guy making sure that whatever it is that you do, there will be a stadium full of people watching.”
He says that includes the fans but also sponsors.
Ricciutti says one of his assignments as an executive is to evaluate the in-game experience for fans.
“I look for very specific signs of engagement with fans that tell me where the organization is with their commitment to the fan experience,” said Ricciutti.
He says it was how he was treated by the gameday staff upon a recent trip to the ballpark that convinced him this was the place to be and that was already a great fan experience he doesn’t need to do much tweaking to.
“It was remarkably positive,” said Ricciutti. “They were attentive and friendly and made me feel really at home.”
That’s what he wants for all fans coming to the ballpark.
Aside from developing prospects, he says his roles is also about making sure the fans enjoy their time at the ballpark.
“It’s offering somebody a four-hour reprieve from their day where they can spend some time with their family or friends and enjoy something collectively,” said Ricciutti.
His goal for fans is to enjoy themselves from the time they arrive until they leave.
“It’s things like watching the in-between innings stuff, watching Buster do goofy stuff, having cotton candy, watching fireworks, kids running the bases or watching a baseball game and then leave with a smile on your face,” said Ricciutti.
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