Suns GM Kevin Maguire, left, is pictured with Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman, center, and Suns owners Tyler Tumminia and Jeff Goldklang.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Pittsfield Suns ownership said it is committed to staying in the city for the long term as Berkshire County residents greeted a New York Yankees great on Thursday.
Jeff Goldklang, representing the ownership group of the city's latest tenant of Wahconah Park, said he is interested in striking some type of deal with city officials for a long-term commitment to keep the Suns in Pittsfield, during a promotional event at the Colonial Theatre.
"2014 and beyond — We're going to have some conversations with the city, hopefully. If they want us here, we'll sign as long a deal as we can to be in Pittsfield."
The event entailed an interview session with Yankees Senior Vice President and General Manager Brian Cashman on the theater's main stage and an earlier cocktail hour with the longtime executive for the more than 100 people who paid an additional cost of admission.
Rival fans had reason to cheer when Suns General Manager Kevin Maguire announced that the Boston Red Sox World Series Championship trophy would be on display at Wahconah Park on Thursday, June 26. The team will host other promotional events throughout the season, similar to past offerings, like fireworks displays and free jersey night.
Members of the Futures Collegiate Baseball League, the Suns enter their third season as the city's hometown team, following a list of at least four teams in 13 seasons, since the Major League affiliate Pittsfield Mets relocated.
During a panel discussion prior to the Cashman interview, Goldklang said he grew up watching players like Rafael Palmeiro and Manager of the Yankees Joe Girardi play at Wahconah Park, ultimately sparking his interest in placing a team there.
"I've spent my summers in Pittsfield and the Berkshires since I was 3 years old. Since we've been in baseball in 1989, it's always been my dream to own and operate a ball club out of Wahconah Park. There were a lot of successful ball clubs that have gone in through that ballpark for the last 30, 40, 50 years. Heck, the last 100 years. We had some times in the last decade or so where I don't think Pittsfield really got what it deserved," Goldklang said.
Cashman took questions from the audience.
According to Goldklang, his ownership group held a limited partnership in the Pittsfield Cubs when it fielded a team in the storied park in the mid-1980s. The Goldklang Group, chaired by his father, Marvin, is the largest minority owner of the Yankees, as the Steinbrenner Family has controlling interest over the franchise Forbes estimates is worth $2.3 billion.
Suns ownership seems to be playing on both sides of the proverbial fence that separates Red Sox and Yankee fans in Berkshire County though, as part owner Tyler Tumminia celebrated the 2013 World Series Championship with her husband, Ben Cherington, executive vice president and general manager of Boston.
Cashman's retrospective interview focused on his rise from an intern in the Yankee organization working under George Steinbrenner to his current role as senior vice president in the winningest organization in Major League Baseball history.
Since Cashman was an assistant GM in 1995, the Yankees missed the postseason twice, including in 2013. Cashman has won four World Series titles in his 17-year career as GM, his latest coming in 2009.
Along with stories about taxiing The Boss into dead-end highway exits in New York City and the intimidating work environment Steinbrenner created, Cashman answered questions from the crowd about new instant replay rules, filling out the current five-man pitching rotation and the difficulty of composing a 25-man roster.
He also gave advice to a group from the University of Massachusetts, evoking a story of a young bat boy and girl in the Oakland Athletics organization during its championship run who grew to become MC Hammer and owner of the Ms. Fields baked good company. Cashman said it is important to simply get a foot in the door.
"You never know whose watching you do what you do when you're doing it."