It’s official: Hall stepping down as FCBL commissioner
Chris Hall was at one of the two games in the Futures Collegiate Baseball League championship series this past August and oddly enough the commissioner felt he might not be in the right place.
A youth baseball team he coached all summer, that included his son, was playing in a tournament semifinal and Hall wasn’t able to be there.
“My son was vry disappointed, very upset,” Hall said on Monday. “And so were some other kids on the team as well.”
That helped push Hall toward the decision, strongly rumored for the last month, that he made official on Monday: After eight seasons in charge, he will no longer be the FCBL Commissioner as of January 1.
“It’s time for (the owners) to have a different voice,” Hall said. “But it’s still my baby.”
Yes, he will, as was also rumored, likely remain with the league in an advisory capacity. Remember, Hall, the former Nashua Pride general manager, was one of the founding fathers of the FCBL back in the late fall of 2011.
“I’ll still be an advisor, I’m still going to be a voice,” he said.
Hall said Monday he does not know yet what he will do in the coming year besides being able to spend more much-needed time with his family. Then why step down without a sure thing to move on to?
“It’s very hard,” he said, “to do this job while you’re looking for something else.”
Hall, 46, has plenty of unfinished business to attend to between now and the end of the calendar year, namely the configuration of the FCBL for the 2019 season.
Two key things: One, the league, he said, is about to welcome in a new ownership group that is hopeful to field a new franchise for the 2019 season. Also, Martha’s Vineyard, despite strong rumors to the contrary, will play in the FCBL this season, Hall confirmed. That will give the league an even eight teams for the upcoming season.
Hall added that the league, with various club officials making known their preferences, etc., is beginning work this week on the 2019 schedule. It it should be ready either by late this month or in early January. That is relatively late compared to other years but it’s clear that bringing in the new franchise has something to do with that.
The next question, who will be Hall’s successor? The league will be conducting a national search, seemingly headed by Worcester owner John Creedon, Jr., who is the chairman of the FCBL Board of Directors. The release making Hall’s resignation official states that interested candidates should email their information to Data@WorcesterBravehearts.com.
“They’re doing a national search,” Hall said. “Whether they go with one person, two people, it’s going to be up to (the owners) and the board.”
Hall certainly has had successes to hang his hat on, mixed in with just a few rocky times. The league began with just four teams, including the Nashua Silver Knights, and grew to as many as 10 three years ago under it’s for-profit business model before now being reduced to seven last season.
However, the FCBL had the second best average attendance for summer collegiate leagues last season, has had about 150 players drafted by Major League teams and several others playing professional independent league ball. Also, two alums – former Silver Knights first baseman Chris Shaw (Giants) and former Torrington hurler Tyler Bashlor (Mets) made their MLB debuts this past summer.
“The impact that the Futures League has made under Chris’s leadership in such a short time – not only in the baseball world, but also in our teams’ host communities – is truly special and remarkable,” Creedon said. “As we conduct and complete the search for our next Commissioner, that person will certainly be standing on the shoulders of a giant.
“And I’m happy to state that Chris Hall will continue to be an important voice for us in a new capacity starting in 2019 as an advisor while he also explores new expansion franchise opportunities for the League.”
Sources say the Silver Knights are still working on their front office configuration/new general manager decision. Team accountant/assistant GM Victoria Cookson is running things locally for now and there were, sources said, interviews conducted at the team’s Holman Stadium offices this past week. It seems a matter of getting a good fit with Cookson as well as figuring out specific titles and how duties will be divided, etc.