In Marin / CURRENTS
9 QUESTIONS FOR
As the San Rafael Pacifics enjoy a second season in sunny Albert Park, the team’s
general manager and president, Mike Shapiro, finally has time to sit in the stands and
enjoy a hot dog. His team has found a home. A new league,
a new venue, a new market and a handful of noisy detractors all
posed challenges for the Pacifics last year, but none of these
obstacles prevented the team from cinching the 2012 North
American League Championship. While the success was a group effort, much
of the credit can go to Shapiro. Over the past 25 years, Shapiro has worked
with some of the most famous athletes in the country. No stranger to egos,
regulations and the need for capital, Shapiro was a natural choice for general
manager of Marin’s first and only professional sports team. MIMI TOWLE
1Why Marin? Most independent minor league teams ucceed in a place where there is not much else
going on, like Oroville. That does not describe Marin,
but so far, so good.
makes him the heart and soul of the team.
And Steve Detwiler, No. 15, a great player
from San Rafael, was MVP in the college
world series and his dad, a contractor, has even
helped out around the field.
2Are your kids sporty? Yes, my oldest son, Harry, was a pitcher for Redwood High School and is playing in college. My youngest is on the football team at
Redwood. I met my wife, Jane, while working for the
Giants — I guess you can say we’re a sporty family.
3What’s in the name? It’s basically a confluence of culture and geography. I wanted to respect the tradition of baseball names like Athletics and Nationals, as
well as respect our surrounding environment.
7If you were to compare a team member to a Ferrari, who would it be? I have to pick a few.
Chase Fontaine, No. 2, plays left field — he’s got
the name — was a high draft choice, drafted by the
Braves, dashing, the complete package. Christian
Scholl, No. 9, a classic pitcher from the Angels who
will give Fontaine a run for his money, as will Brodie
Downs, who has a mean submarine pitch. And then
our closer, Colin Allen. I could go on.
4Who are your mentors? Two in particular: Corey Busch (S.F. Giants) and Stan Kasten (Atlanta Braves
and Washington Nationals), two of the most brilliant
minds in the sports business. And in a short stint with
Tiger Woods back in 1997, I learned just how dedicated
someone has to be to at their craft to achieve his status.
I was also caught off-guard by his obsession with junk
food. For such a healthy kid, he loved his Taco Bell.
8Besides hot dogs, what else is on the menu? My wife runs the concession stand Jane’s First
Base Cafe, where she sells barbecue tri-tip sandwich,
slices from West Brooklyn Pizza and a chili unique to
Cincinnati, the birthplace of professional baseball,
called Skyline Chili.
5Best part of watching a game at Albert Park? When you walk through the gate you’ve gone back
to the 1950s, a time of good old-fashioned fun and good
6Whom should we watch for? Two returnees from last year top my list. Maikel Jova, No. 10, everyone calls
him Papi. He has escaped twice from Cuba on a raft, he’s
31, a big burly guy who plays right field; his great attitude
9What are your goals? In my business we work to create the ultimate fan experience. At the
end of a game we want that proverbial family of
four to leave the field after having a great night
— young kids playing wiffle ball, Mom enjoying
a glass of wine, Dad has his beer and someone
says, “Oh, who won?” The game is the centerpiece but it is not the entire experience. M