(Mahoning Valley, OH) “This attitude that losing is acceptable must end now.” GM Jesse Stollings opened the team news conference with this emphatic statement. Stollings continued, “I was brought in here to build this team into a championship team. But they seemed to be willing to accept these dismal losses and the only “scrapping” that seemed to go on was within the team itself.”
Stollings was joined by owner Don Adkins who explained the reason for the news conference in one simple statement, “Attitude reflects leadership. Jesse is dedicated to this organization, and that is what we were lacking, but I cant help but feel this dedication was not matched in other facets of the management team.” He set out what he has seen with the team. The team started the season 5-5, but then endured two 10 game runs where they went 1-9. During that time period they had to suffer through an 8 game losing streak and an even worse 11 game losing streak.
At this point the midnight oil was being burnt at the team office complex trying to figure out how to address this downfall. Manager Torey Lovullo felt the way to deal with the turmoil in the team was to attack the media, but it goes much deeper than that. The team didnt seem to have any focus or passion. They appeared to just be going through the motions.
General Manager Jesse Stollings was meeting with Don Adkins almost every day asking for permission to make some changes in the team management, he had been overheard many times saying that he knew the team would struggle this year, but there was no excuse for this dismal of a record. Adkins finally agreed to let Stollings look at replacing one of the position coaches to see what impact it would have on the team. The first change was the firing of Pitching Coach Chris McClure and the hiring of Marty DeMerritt. There was an immediate change in the pitching for the team, they continued to lose, but the pitching had greatly improved.
The issue that finally pushed Adkins to allow Stollings to make major changes was when the attendance reports came out, the Scrappers attendance was down over 10% from last season. At that point, Adkins agreed that management changes were needed.
Stollings started the axe by demoting manager Torey Lovullo to Bench Coach and promoting Barry Larkin to Manager. The whole-sale changes continued with the firing of Hitting Coach Allan Trammell and the hiring of Joe Cannon.
The short term response to the changes was the first winning streak the Scrappers had experienced as they won 3 in a row. They did lose last night, but they still played a tough game against division leading Dayton. The Scrappers now hold a 10-27 record and hope to add to their win totals.