Dave Roy: Thanks Steamboat community for making the Storm a success
June 12, 2018
On May 11, John F. Russell wrote an article updating the status of the Steamboat Storm college summer baseball operation informing our community of the suspension of both the Storm and the Mountain West Summer Collegiate League.
As the team’s business manager I want to summarize the extremely positive results of the three years of its operation.
In those three years, over 65 accomplished college baseball players and six coaches from 14 states and Canada spent a total of six months in our town. Forty families served as hosts to give them a home-away-from-home environment. They played 70 fast-moving, highly competitive games, half on Emerald Field. which was professionally set up and maintained by Parks and Recreation employees. All home games were officiated by local professionally-trained and experienced umpires.
The Storm won over 60 percent of these games, finished second in the league twice and lost a heartbreaker by one run in the league championship game last year. They spent many hours on the road traveling to the other five league towns and had time to conduct six formal two-day baseball skills clinics for our youth baseball program and an untold number of one-on-one “backyard” sessions with the youngsters of hosts and their friends.
In their spare time, some took part-time jobs to pay expenses. Most worked out at a local training facility to follow fitness and weight-lifting regimens prescribed by their college coaches. With all this there was still time to raft, hike, bike, ice skate and pursue the ‘Boat’s summer attractions.
Their visiting families took advantage of our warm days and cool nights and those same activities. All have become ambassadors of goodwill for Steamboat. Many local businesses enjoyed the players’ presence and offered discounts to stretch their dollars.
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In those three years, there were very few unfortunate events, none of which were serious. The most expensive incident was a smashed rear window from a hard-hit line drive to an SUV parked in the Emerald lot.
The bottom line is that all of those players returned to their homes as more mature and experienced young men and baseball players. I have personally followed the careers of several Storm players. Their performance at their college or university was much improved. Some will be drafted or signed as free agents by Major League teams. All are grateful for their Steamboat experience.
Two Steamboat natives, Billy Clark and Jesse Pugh, will graduate in 2019 with college degrees after playing four years of collegiate baseball.
I want to thank all the host families for sharing their time and homes with these young men and the baseball fans who attended our games.
I would like to acknowledge several local businesses who donated time and resources to this program: Steamboat Parks and Recreation, Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp., Safeway, Bucking Rainbow, Steamboat Motors, Rex’s Family of Restaurants, KBCR Radio, Ace at the Curve, Peak Fitness, The Egg and I, The Flour Mill Hotel, Steamboat Springs Chamber and Resort Association, Yampa Valley Youth Baseball, The Downtown Spa, Steamboat Springs Pro Rodeo Series, The Steamboat Pilot & Today and the Alpine Slide.
It has been a pleasure for me to have worked with all the facets of the Storm and its interface with our community.