Rawhide Front Office Staff
Top of the Third - Ownership
The family ownership group of the Visalia Rawhide, Top of the Third, is led by Kevin O'Malley and Tom Seidler. The seven-year period has been marked by stability, growth in attendance (2007's attendance of 83,452 was the highest in 61 years!), and cooperation with the City of Visalia on improvements to Visalia's historic ballpark at Recreation Park. The Ballclub and the City of Visalia have a ten-year lease, the longest in franchise history, and worked together on the first major renovation to the ballpark since the 1960's.
Tom Seidler - President
Club President Tom Seidler moved to Visalia two years ago to take a more active role in the day-to-day operations of the ballclub. Tom has added several front office positions to better serve fans and players, and the larger staff led the ballclub to great improvement in 2007 and 2008, with a 35% boost in attendance (the #1 attendance increase among 180 minor league clubs in the country).
Seidler has been involved in professional baseball for 17 years. After graduating from the University of Notre Dame in 1990, Tom began his career in baseball administration with ballclubs in Vero Beach and Kissimmee, FL; Mesa, AZ; and Caracas, Venezuela. Tom earned his MBA at Vanderbilt University in 1994 and then served three years as the General Manager for the Great Falls Dodgers (Pioneer League). Baseball America awarded the club the 1995 Bob Freitas Award for Operational Excellence.
Tom served as President of the Stockton Ports from 1998-2000, earning California League Executive of the Year in 1999.
Jennifer Pendergraft - Executive Assistant
Jennifer greatly enjoyed her 2nd year working for the Rawhide, and is proud to call the city of Visalia her new home. Originally from Salem, Oregon she attended school at Lee University in Cleveland, Tennessee and graduated in December 2006 with a degree in Business Administration. Jenn also played four years of collegiate-level softball, including an Elite Eight finish at the NAIA level tournament in her senior season.
A California girl at heart, and now by residence as well, Jennifer stays loyal to former Rawhide Barry Zito, the Raiders, and her blood runs green and yellow in support of the Oregon Ducks.
Dan Besbris - Director of Broadcasting
Dan Besbris joined the ballclub in May of 2007, and has assumed the duties of lead broadcaster.
Hailing most recently from San Francisco, Dan has spent his entire life in the Golden State. With his move to Visalia, Dan has lived in all three sectors of California -- Southern, Northern, and now Central.
Dan graduated from the University of California, Berkeley in 2005 with a degree in Molecular Biology and originally planned to become a doctor. After realizing his passion for sports broadcasting, Dan worked as a sideline reporter, color commentator and play by play broadcaster for U.C. Davis. Though Dan has spent the last six years by the bay, he wishes only poor fortune upon the San Francisco Giants and all of their farm teams.
Donny Baarns - #2 Broadcaster and Media Relations Manager
Donny Baarns joins the Rawhide as #2 broadcaster after recently completing his Bachelor's Degree in History from Occidental College.
Donny has been interested in sports broadcasting since he was a kid, when he religiously listened to Vin Scully calling Dodger games every night. Donny was a color commentator and occasional play-by-play man for Occidental Football and Basketball, and was the Voice of the Alaska Goldpanners of the Alaska Baseball League last summer. Donny played college baseball at Pierce Community College (which produced Barry Zito and Coco Crisp) and at Occidental, and while he feels more at home in the press box than on the field, he is grateful for the first-hand experience and insight he gained from playing the game.
Like Dan, Donny also hails from Los Angeles, and is enormously relieved that Visalia has an In-N-Out Burger.
Elizabeth Martin - Sales Manager & Legal Counsel
Liz comes to Visalia by way of Chicago where she recently graduated from DePaul College of Law. During Law School she interned at the Minor League Baseball head offices in St. Petersburg, with the Visalia Rawhide and the Oakland Raiders.
She is relocating to the area with her husband Chris, who works in IT and is a graduate of Indiana University.
Stephanie Skulstad - Marketing Coordinator
Another Midwesterner turned Californian, Stephanie joined the Rawhide in the late Fall of 2007. Rawhide fans will get to know Steph quickly, as she will not only handle marketing, but will lead the Rawhide graphic design operation. Keep your eyes pealed for her stunning artwork throughout the 2008 season, as it's sure to blow you away.
Skulstad comes to California's Central Valley for the first time from Granite Falls, Minnesota. She graduated from Minnesota State University-Moorhead, receiving a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with an emphasis in Graphic Design. Stephanie's endeavors in higher learning also included a Minor in Marketing, which should assist in her Oaks-related efforts. Steph's list of experience is equally impressive, as she has worked on graphic design and marketing with a casino, an entertainment complex, a non-profit company, and an architectural and interior design firm.
Stephanie also becomes the second frequenter of the Metrodome to join the Rawhide since the conclusion of the '07 season.
Mike Candela - Ticket Manager
Mike has decided to escape the chilly weather in Brooklyn, New York and relocate 2,871.53 miles away to join the Rawhide. He is a graduate from St. John's University with a degree in Sports Management. The only things he will miss about New York are authentic pizza, and being at Shea Stadium, though Mike ranks Recreation Ballpark at a close second.
Brandon Benson - Head Groundskeeper
Brandon is the local on the staff, hailing from Lemoore. He moved to Visalia at August's inception, but still considers himself a "Lemooreon".
The former Rawhide Press Box Deejay is currently taking classes at the College of the Sequoias in Landscape Management. Brandon is an avid Braves and Cowboys fan, and loves all type of sports. He has been a long time fan of the local teams: Fresno State, the Fresno Falcons, Grizzlies and of course the Visalia Rawhide. In his off time one can find Brandon in the desert racing his Baja Bug, and his job with the Rawhide is his first in professional baseball.
Ken Weisenberger - Team Photographer
Ken has been the Rawhide team photographer for two full seasons, and has quickly become a household name. His work has garnered wide-spread attention in Baseball America, as well as throughout Minor League Baseball's official website. Ken has also donated pictures to media guides at prestigious universities (UCLA, William and Mary), and is looking to expand his portfolio through off-season work with local football teams.
For those of you who thought you saw Ken building the Recreation Ballpark pitching mound two years ago, you did. Ken is not just a photographer, but an all-around stand-up guy.