By Benjamin Upson
Futures League baseball has become a staple of the summer season in Pittsfield, Massachusetts for many years since the Pittsfield Suns became the newest team to play in the city beginning in 2012. Games still continue to be held at the famous Wahconah Park. It was built in 1919 and to this day, it still holds an endless amount of baseball history and has seen many different minor and independent league teams play on its grounds.
Pittsfield did not get to see any baseball in 2020. Despite games being played across the Futures League, the Suns did not take the field last season due to the COVID-19 pandemic which put a dent in many sports leagues last year with postponements and cancellations. The community will definitely be pleased to have one of its great summer pastimes return this week.
With the team’s hiatus comes new shifts in management. Sander Stotland has just joined the team and stepped into the general manager role approximately a month ago after being called up about the job as he lives in Iowa. “I got the call about 32 days ago from former FCBL commissioner Chris Hall and he asked if I wanted to help in getting Pittsfield off the ground,” said Stotland.
Before taking this new job, Stotland has been involved with the Futures League in the past as well dating back to 2012. He was involved with the Torrington Titans for a season when they were a member of the league in its opening seasons. He later moved back to Iowa before getting the call to Pittsfield.
The year off brings in many new players to the Suns. There are a duo of Kansas State and Long Beach State players that are headed for Pittsfield this summer. These are both schools located in the Midwest and West regions of the country which shows the wide range of areas that players come from to play in the FCBL. From Kansas State, sophomore pitcher Grant Nicholson and outfielder Brendan Jones represent the Wildcats. The Long Beach State duo consists of sophomore infielder Sean McLeod and junior outfielder Javier Rosales.
Rosales found success in a shortened spring season at Long Beach State. He recorded three home runs, 12 runs batted in and a .270 average over 18 games, and he only received the starting nod in just seven games and has potential to help boost this Suns offense.
Stotland believes that the scouting team has found a really good pitcher from a Division III school. He did not list his name but believes that he can bring a lot of talent to the Pittsfield rotation. “We may have a diamond in the rough here,” said Stotland, a great tease for the season.
Stotland is optimistic for the upcoming season and realizes the expansive history of baseball in the city of Pittsfield. “The citizens of Pittsfields are huge baseball fans and it has a long storied baseball background with affiliates of the Cubs, Astros, Mets, all those people who have walked through those clubhouse doors.”
The Suns opened the gates at Wahconah Park at 25 percent capacity for their opening night matchup against the New Britain Bees tonight. This number is expected to increase as the season continues along. Individual game and season tickets are available, visit pittsfieldsuns.com or contact the ticket office for more information at 413-464-0968.