By JULIE E. GREENE
9:24 PM EST, February 18, 2013
Former Hagerstown Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II has been named interim general manager of the Hagerstown Suns, effective March 1, the team announced Monday.
“The interim position will be for the 2013 season, and we’ll re-examine that at the end of the season,” Bruchey said in an interview at the Suns offices at Municipal Stadium.
Asked if he was in the running for or applying for the GM position, Bruchey said the interim position was a surprise and, “I guess we’ll see what happens this season and how well we do.”
Bruchey, who lost his bid for re-election as mayor last November, began working for the Suns on Jan. 14 as the team’s director of sales, marketing and community affairs.
Bruchey was a vocal supporter of the club and champion of a proposal to build a multiuse stadium to house the team in downtown Hagerstown during his final year as mayor.
Asked about the Suns’ move to appoint Bruchey as interim GM, Hagerstown Mayor David S. Gysberts said “nothing surprises me anymore.”
“I just have no expectations,” the mayor said, adding that he’s “staying positive” with regard to future discussions about a new stadium and keeping the team in town. “I wish him and the Hagerstown Suns nothing but the best of luck.”
Gysberts, who defeated Bruchey in the November general election, said the former mayor reached out to him on Valentine’s Day via text message, and the two have made arrangements to “have a chat” over breakfast.
“No hard feelings,” Gysberts said. “Like I said, I wish him nothing but the best of luck.”
Asked if he expected any awkwardness working with the new mayor and City Council as well as other city officials, Bruchey said he expected his interactions with them to be “pretty limited.”
Lori Kendall and Josh Mastin also were promoted, to interim assistant GMs for the Suns, effective March 1, team officials said.
“I think they have the capabilities to be able to ... go and to be able to present to mayor and council anything that we need here,” Bruchey said.
Any stadium negotiations would be handled by Suns majority owner Bruce Quinn, Bruchey said.
In an email Monday night, Quinn said Bruchey will remain focused on “driving Suns revenue and fan experience” for the upcoming season.
“... He will not be responsible or involved with any business negotiations involving the City of Hagerstown or future stadium discussions,” Quinn said in the email.
Asked if he was afraid people would think he got the interim GM job for the Suns because he was such a vocal supporter of a new downtown stadium while he was mayor, Bruchey said, “I certainly can’t stop people from thinking what they’re going to think.”
Bruchey said Quinn knows he has deep roots in the community, that he’s been involved with many community affairs and groups in the county, and that he can reach out and garner support for minor league baseball in the city.
As interim GM, Bruchey will oversee the daily team and business operations, according to a Suns news release.
Suns GM Bill Farley is resigning, according to the release. Bruchey said Farley will be available for consultation.
Farley was named general manager of the Suns in October 2010 after an extensive search by the franchise’s ownership group. Farley had been hired two months earlier as the team’s assistant GM.
Bruchey said he will work to make sure Suns fans have the best possible time and to encourage groups to use the stadium for events other than just baseball.
One such event is Dublin at the Diamond, which will feature vendors, Irish music and dancers at the stadium after the city’s 5K run downtown March 16, Bruchey said.
“The whole thing is, is that if we can create more activity here, the better it is for the City of Hagerstown,” Bruchey said.
The Suns lease Municipal Stadium from the city year-round, Bruchey said.
The Suns also are making some changes at the ballpark and adding a flat-screen TV giveaway at Friday home games, Bruchey said. Spichers Appliances & Electronics will sponsor Flat Screen Friday, which will be incorporated into a bingo game fans can purchase, he said.
The Suns also are adding a kids zone near the entrance that will provide better protection than the former kids zone behind the third-base line, where foul balls could end up, Bruchey said.
The new kids zone will have a bounce house and a radar pitching machine, he said.
The team store in that area will become an arcade, and a smaller team store will open, he said.
Staff writer C.J. Lovelace contributed to this story.
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