STATE COLLEGE - The State College Spikes introduced the club's restructured management team Monday, a move brought about in part by the sale of the Altoona Curve to its original owners.
Chuck Greenberg, who was Spikes president since the team was brought to State College by his ownership group, now holds the title of chairman and managing partner of the Spikes. His partner in Altoona, Todd Parnell, becomes the team president and Rick Janac, the only general manager the Spikes have known in their three seasons, has been promoted to executive vice president.
Taking Janac's place is Jason Dambach, who spent a decade in broadcasting and media relations with the Curve. The team also will have a new assistant general manager, former ticket sales director Chris Phillips.
"We had seven wonderful seasons in Altoona and enjoyed every minute of it," Greenberg said as he introduced the change. "We'll always be Curve fans."
But, added, this is the same point in the lifespan of the franchise - just before the fourth season - that he became hands on in Altoona, and he expects big things for the future in State College.
"With all of our best athletes, so to speak, under the same roof at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park, the end result will be an even better overall operation, including a dramatically expanded imprint in the community and a further enhanced fan experience at the ballpark," Greenberg said in a press release distributed at the event.
Despite three struggling seasons on the field for the short-season Class A Pittsburgh Pirates affiliate, the club has exceeded expectations at the box office. Under Janac's leadership, the Spikes have seen growth in season-ticket and single-game sales each of the three years the team has been here. Janac's biggest achievement may be the fact that this season's New York-Penn League all-star game will be hosted by the team.
"With the all-star game coming here in August, it's a great opportunity to take this organization to the next level," Janac said. Of his successor, Janac said, "He brings a lot of new talent to this position."
Greenberg paid tribute to Janac for his success at the joint effort represented by State College and Penn State University, and said the new vice president will continue to be the point man in that regard.
"Of the many tremendous things that Rick has done, one of the most important is the relationship he's built on an everyday basis with the university," Greenberg said. "The entire nature of the relationship that the Spikes and Penn State has is really without parallel. That's the core of how this ballpark was built and how it's operated."
Parnell, whose 20 years in minor-league baseball make him the veteran on this roster, said his new role is simply to make a difference, and his goal is just to make a positive impact on the club.
"So many things I do that I don't even realize I'm doing can be helpful," he said.
Once introduced in his new role - the biggest change of the four - Dambach echoed Parnell's sentiment that he has the chance now to make positive change in people's lives. But then, he's experiencing just such a change through this transition - two months ago, he explained, his goal was to be a Major League Baseball broadcaster, and was preparing for an 11th season in Blair County.
"This is not a position I had ever really aspired to," he admitted. But he knows what he has to do in this job: "We're not in the baseball business, we're in the entertainment and memory-making business."
Also announced Monday were several key dates on the Spikes' calendar, including:
Spikesfest, on Feb. 15, a carnival-like event for the team and the community. It will take place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Penn State's multi-sports facility.
Opening days for Penn State (March 20) and the Spikes, who will host cross-state rival and Phillies affiliate Williamsport in the season opener on June 19.
The NYPL All-Star Game, which will be played Aug. 18 at Medlar field.