NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The North Adams SteepleCats are starting off the season with fundraising spaghetti dinner on Monday, a return to their traditional logo — and Slider.
A move to somewhat reinvent the New England Collegiate Baseball League team last year is being modified based on fan feedback. Matt Torra, who came in as general manager last spring, has taken the lead in rebuilding the board of directors and reformulating the team's brand.
"We will be having the blue and white and add some color ... It will be a blend of both," Torra told a meeting of 'Cats fans and supporters this winter. "I hope you understand ... we found the best we can do is to bring back some of the old and keep some of the new. ...
"As a committee, we really took everything you said to heart."
The team's colors had been flipped to from yellow and black to blue, black and white (a play on Drury High's colors) and more assertive big cat mascot. The revamped logo is now blue and yellow and sports one of the city's steeples for which the team is named.
New manager Michael Dailey, director of baseball operations at Radford University, and Torra are building a team they believe will have a high level of play. And they're hoping the fans will return to support them when the season opens with a home game against the Sanford Mainers at Joe Wolfe Field.
"We want to make it fun, we want people to come out to the game," Torra said. "I want the players to have fun, I want the fans to have fun ... The kids in the community look up to us, it's something I want to continue."
Among plans are working with the Pittsfield Little League, reaching out to schools and youth summer programs with free tickets and activities, and adding specialty nights for the community. The 'Cats are also bringing the concession back in-house, including ice cream.
And Slider, the team's mascot, will be back in a new costume. "We know they did want Slider back," Torra said of fan input.
The SteepleCats will be sharing Joe Wolfe Field with the LaFesta Baseball Exchange as well, with the collegiate team playing during the day and LaFesta kids taking the field in the evening.
"LaFesta will be the same day so it's how to meld that to get a big crowd there," said LaFesta organizer and 'Cats volunteer George Canales. "The Boston kids will be coming early to see the SteepleCats."
Torra said the organization also wants to do more team-building activities so the players headed for North Adams for the summer have a memorable time, such as weekly dinners to give the host families a break and activities on non-game days.
"We want a better experience for them on arrival and for the family weekend," he said. "We're moving in the right direction ... We're trying to make it all work."
The team's spaghetti dinner will be held Monday, April 8, beginning at 4:30 p.m. at the Bounti-Fare in Adams. Tickets are $10 and there will be a 50/50 raffle and a chinese auction.
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