Tarp Skunks finds success on, off the pitch | News, Sports, Jobs

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From Jacob Kindberg’s perspective, his first season as Director of Business Operations and Sales for Jamestown Tarp Skunks went pretty well.

Consider:

The team occupies first place in the Western Division of the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League.

¯ Attendance, which averages just north of 725 per game, is up almost 100% from three years ago.

¯ And the support from the business community has been strong.

OBSERVER Photo by Scott Kindberg Jacob Kindberg is the Director of Commercial and Commercial Operations for the Jamestown Tarp Skunks.

But that doesn’t mean Kindberg has been fearless.

“Our merchandise flew off the shelves. I can’t keep it in the store ”, he said last week. “We’re almost always outside. … It’s a good problem to have, because it means people are buying, but it’s a problem.

Take, for example, last week when a visitor from the Philadelphia area showed up at Kindberg’s office in Diethrick Park. The man wanted a Tarp Skunks cap that had “Jamestown” embroidered on the front.

“We were out of these hats” Kindberg said. “Again that’s a good problem to have because they’re coming off the shelves, but it’s a problem when the Eagles head coach wants a hat and you don’t have it for him.”

So Nick Sirianni settled for a hat with the Tarp Skunks logo on the front instead.

If Kindberg learned one thing this summer, it’s how to be audible for the next play.

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Kindberg, 24, was hired last September to lead the commercial side of Tarp Skunks’ operations, a daunting task considering the last time the team played a game was when they won the PGCBL Championship in 2018. COVID-19 canceled the entire 2020 season.

“I didn’t really know what to expect” Kindberg said.

But that did not deter him.

“It was just about having conversations from the start, reaching out to stakeholders and local businesses,” Kindberg said.

“I told them, ‘I know the COVID situation is uncertain, but this is what we can offer. Let’s continue to communicate as we get closer to the season and hopefully we’ll get some relief ”, which we ended up doing when the vaccinations rolled out and the restrictions started to be lifted. “

So when it became clear that there would be a season and that there would be fans allowed in the stadium, Kindberg had a head start.

“Having these conversations early before April and May was important to us” he said. “When we got there in April and May, that’s when we saw a huge rush. It is the work we have put in place up to this point that has allowed us to get there.

And June 10, the home opener, was the tipping point.

“It really started on opening night when we had 1,500 fans here and had the beautiful hatchback (party),” Kindberg said. “It was just a good start and set the tone for the season. … This momentum has brought us here. I am happy. I have had a lot of good feedback from the community so far. Granted, there are some things I would like to do differently next year, but overall we’re pretty happy where we’re at.

Greg Peterson, board member for Jamestown Community Baseball LLC, admits he couldn’t have imagined how well the first season went.

“It is a surprise to me the extent of the enthusiasm” he said. “I knew there would be excitement, but it’s for all ages. It’s not the old people, who love baseball for the sake of baseball, who would come out anyway. I’m watching the crowd now and half of them are 18 and under and wear Tarp Skunks hats. That makes me happy.”

Equally impressive was the game on the pitch.

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The Tarp Skunks, who were battered by rain on Friday night, are atop the West Division standings with a 22-11 record, five games ahead of second-placed Geneva and Batavia.

Much of the credit goes to the man who recruited the players to come to Jamestown in the first place – manager Jordan Basile, who is also from Jamestown.

“What’s remarkable for the purist is the way Jordan instilled the ‘little ball'” said Peterson. “We have won a lot of games walking and flying.”

Kindberg said Basil has been invaluable off the pitch as well.

“We were really lucky to have Jordan”, Kindberg said. “His connections to the community outside of baseball also help us on the business side. Whether it’s promoting on social media, which he does a great job of, he brings fans out. He has a very loyal collection of fans who are always behind the third base dugout in the rowdy stands. We love them.”

Kindberg said players are enjoying their time in Jamestown as well, thanks to the facilities available to them, among other things.

“The dorms at Jamestown Community College and the beautiful grounds well maintained by the city are two things that not all teams have,” he said. “I always like to hear that we’re sort of the norm. … It makes me proud of what we do here.

Bruce Dudgeon, JCB LLC board member, is also proud, especially since there was a lot of uncertainty about the franchise’s future after going 1,000 days without a game.

“The team performed well” he said. “Jordan does a great job coaching the team and making them a team. They have this attitude of never giving up, and Jacob puts people in the stands. … They’re just good guys. They have the right attitude, and I think trust makes the difference.

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On Wednesday evening, members of the Norden Club of Jamestown and their guests showed up for a tent party between matches in the Tarp Skunks doubles program with Niagara. During the picnic, Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame President Randy Anderson, who is also a JCB LLC board member, gave a presentation on former Jamestown resident Eric. “To crush” Erickson, who played in Major League Baseball for four teams in the early 1900s. The crowd was estimated at 100, which was just another example of how the community has embraced what is happening on Falconer Street this summer.

“With the board and local ownership, there’s a lot more of a sense of community. “ Kindberg said. ” Everyone knows each other. We try to be a community asset more than we are a private, profit-driven company. … The way we are structured now is much more conducive to becoming a community asset in the future.

“Without the Russ Diethricks, the Greg Petersons, the Randy Andersons and the Bruce and Julie Dudgeon, we wouldn’t be here right now. Kindberg said. “From a business perspective, it makes it easier for us to market the team because we already have those connections to the community. The fact that there is a team here is completely theirs.

Peterson predicts other good things on the road.

“We are young,” he said. “We only have one month as an organization.”

In other words, the future of the Tarp Skunks franchise looks bright.

Now, if they could only keep enough merchandise on the shelves to meet the demand.

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