Collegiate baseball team has big goals

HAMILTON — Mike Brennan believes the time is right.

He has stepped aside as president and general manager of the Hamilton Joes, the third-year summer collegiate baseball team that Brennan and Darrel Grissom built from scratch.

“I don’t know how much longer I can continue,” said Brennan, 69, who had a cancerous lump removed from his knee last March. “You have to have somebody with a great deal of focus. I’m still helping the team as much as I can, but with my situation, we needed to make a change.”

That change was twofold. Joshua Manley, the Joes’ assistant GM two years ago and a coach last season, is the new general manager, while Grissom has added the title of president to his head coaching duties.

“We don’t want to lose Josh Manley,” Brennan said. “He’s proven that he can do the job. Why not give him a future in baseball locally?”

Manley, a nine-year U.S. Army veteran who spent 15 months in Iraq, is moving ahead full bore with the day-to-day operations of the organization.

“Right now, I’m constantly working with community leaders and working to ensure that we can keep this thing rolling here at Foundation Field within the city limits,” said Manley, a 1998 Franklin High School graduate. “We’re trying to drum up more support in the community, get our name out there.”

Manley has big goals. They include:

• Increase home attendance from the 200-plus average of 2010 to at least 300 this summer.

• Sell beer at every home game. It’s not a done deal, but he’s optimistic.

• Attract more sponsors and set up community events with player involvement.

• Make Foundation Field more like a minor-league park.

• Have more variety in on-field promotions.

“I want to try to keep things from being stagnant,” Manley said. “People that have been involved with us have been excited and telling more and more people. Word of mouth is the best advertising.”

Manley is seeking host families and wants to bring in a large number of interns. Anyone interested can email him at

He would like to continue coaching this summer, but said that depends on the kind of people he’s able to bring in to the organization.

“I hope that I don’t have to stop coaching,” Manley said. “I love it.”

For Grissom, the role of president shouldn’t be a major burden.

“I’m in charge of paying all the bills now,” he said. “I’ve been in business all my life, so I’m not scared of paying bills. I understand how the rules of business work.”

Just like the pros

The Joes are hosting the GLSCL All-Star Game on July 13 at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m.

The only other summer collegiate league that uses a major-league park for its all-star contest is the Cape Cod League, which plays at Fenway Park in Boston.

Tickets for the GLSCL game are $10. They’re available on the Joes’ website (

“We have connections with Walt Jocketty, GM of the Reds,” said Grissom, who has Jocketty’s son, Joe, on his Miami University Hamilton and Joes rosters. “We’re paying a fee, but basically we just had to ask.”

Hamilton had to bid for the game first. The Cincinnati Steam hosted the first two all-star affairs at Western Hills High School.

“We wowed people with our bid,” Manley said. “Who doesn’t want to give these kids the experience of playing at Great American? That’s awesome.”

Buying tickets

Hamilton’s ticket prices haven’t changed — $5 for general admission, $4 for seniors, military personnel, students and groups of 20 or more, and $3 for children under 12. Kids under 2 are free.

Season tickets and multi-game packages are also available. The team website has full ticket information and the 2011 schedule.

Summer-ball notes

Adam Grissom, Darrel’s son, has joined Hamilton’s coaching staff this year. ... The GLSCL has one less team in 2011 — the Delaware Cows are gone. Darrel Grissom said a team from the Morehead, Ky., area may be joining the league in 2012. ... The Joes will have a feeder team this year, the Cincinnati Stars. Coached by Rick Blyberg, that squad will play its home games at Northwest High School. ... All Joes games can be followed via Internet radio and real-time updates this season. Links will be on the Hamilton website.

About the Author