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Jason Smorol named General Manager
Chiefs hire former Auburn Doubledays ('02-'04) G.M.
10/16/2013 6:49 PM ET
New Chiefs G.M. Jason Smorol speaks to reporters at NBT Bank Stadium.
New Chiefs G.M. Jason Smorol speaks to reporters at NBT Bank Stadium. (Herm Card)

From John O'Brien / syracuse.com:

SYRACUSE, NY -- The Syracuse Chiefs have hired a new general manager - someone known in Central New York for turning around struggling professional baseball teams.

Jason Smorol takes over for long-time Chiefs general manager John Simone, the president of the club's board of directors said Monday.

"They talk about five-tool players in baseball?" board president Bill Dutch asked. "Well, he's a five-tool general manager. He's got it all."

Smorol, 44, of Liverpool, was general manager of the Auburn Doubledays from 2002 to 2004, when the Single-A team's attendance rose and it captured three division titles.

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When Smorol was the Doubledays' general manager, he would jump into any job that needed to be done -- from wearing the mascot costume to cleaning bathrooms.

"I'll end up doing that here too," he said. "If someone goes down with a bum knee, I will jump in that mascot and I will dance my face off."

Smorol said he's already set goals for advertising and ticket sales. He wants to nearly double the season total attendance in three years.

"I know this stadium is going to have 600,000 people in it in my tenure," Smorol said in an interview Monday night. "Bam. There you go."

He said he'll get started right away looking for new revenue to pull the Chiefs out of debt.

"We're going to hit the streets," said Smorol, who grew up in North Syracuse. "We're going to pound the pavement. And we are going to generate revenue. We've got to. There's no alternative."

The Chiefs and Smorol are still working out his salary.

"He'll be comfortable," Dutch said. The team got the approval from its parent club, the Washington Nationals, and the International League, for hiring Smorol, even though neither was necessary, Dutch said.

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In an interview last week, before he was hired, Smorol called the Chiefs' general manager position his dream job. He said he told the Chiefs that when they interviewed him.

"I gave them my pitch, my energy, my connections, my passion for this team and this city and this area," he said last week.

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The Doubledays won an award from the New York-Penn League for its promotional work in 2003. The next year, the league nominated Auburn for a national award that goes to one minor league team for overall excellence.

The team's attendance rose from an average of 1,643 per game to 2,001 in Smorol's three years as GM at Falcon Park, which seats about 2,800.

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"I know that all we have to do is listen to fans and do the right thing," Smorol said of his plans for turning around the shrinking attendance. "We'll do the right thing and that place is gonna shine."

Before Auburn, Smorol worked in different jobs for minor-league teams in Watertown, Batavia and Staten Island. He left the sport in 2000 because he felt burned out, moving to Georgia to work in a bakery and as a shipbuilder. Then he worked at SUNY Cortland, teaching sports management. Since he stepped down at Auburn in 2004, Smorol has worked for Hilti Inc., a construction supply manufacturer as the company's account manager for central and northern New York.

"Every place I've gone, I've gotten results," he said last week. "I turned around teams. We had problems in Batavia, I turned Batavia around. We had to build a new team in Staten Island, they called me in and we did that. There was trouble in Auburn. I turned Auburn around."

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A link to syracuse.com's original article can be found here.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.
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