Front Office Feature: Generals GM Marcus Sabata
Under the standard scope of a minor league season, May is a month of many works hours, little sleep, and daily baseball on the diamond. For a general manager at the helm, opening the ballpark in the early morning hours, and securing the padlocks at night is commonplace. Yet during
Under the standard scope of a minor league season, May is a month of many works hours, little sleep, and daily baseball on the diamond. For a general manager at the helm, opening the ballpark in the early morning hours, and securing the padlocks at night is commonplace.
Yet during a time of the year that should find the Jackson Generals in the middle of a ten-game home stand, the daily routine for general manager Marcus Sabata is anything but ritual. There are no tickets to total, no concessions to inventory, no game-day meetings to lead. Instead, the second-year GM distributes time helping power wash the park, or hoping on the zero-turn to give the stadium grounds a fresh mow.
The daily maintenance continues, but after the Southern League announced on Monday the cancelation of the league All-Star events in Jackson, the question swells: Will the baseball-ready Ballpark see baseball at all?
“No official decision has been made on the 2020 Minor League season, however, I’m not very optimistic that a season will be played,” Sabata said. “Not playing is obviously very disappointing, not only for our fans, but also our staff. Baseball is what we do so not having it makes for a very empty feeling but it’s nobody’s fault and we will do the best we can.”
Minor League Baseball must await the instruction from Major League Baseball if it hopes to resume in 2020. So despite business and public venue restrictions being lifted across Tennessee, the decision to take the field is out of the Generals’ hands. The organization is repurposing it’s efforts in the meantime, and has set plans to host community events during baseball’s vacancy.
“We have been asked by the Jackson Madison County School System, as well as the City of Jackson, to host a few graduations at the Ballpark,” Sabata explained. It didn’t take us long to say “yes” and because we are keenly aware of the financial situation created by COVID-19, we will host the events at no charge to the school district and are donating all our staff time to ensure that the graduates have a memorable day.”
The Generals community efforts go beyond just the reutilization of the facility. Front office members recently spent time at the Regional Inter-Faith Association, a group pressed for volunteers while facing increased demand for meals they provide.
“We see ourselves as a community asset,” Sabata said. “We want to be a partner when times are good but when times are tough, we want to make sure the community knows that we are here to assist if they need us.”
With the 2020 season very much in doubt, and an MLB contraction discussion still needing resolution before the 2021 season can be played, Sabata hopes that the local narrative begins to shine a more positive light on the impact of the franchise in recent years.
“With our partnership with the city getting so much attention, it is easy to forget that the Generals have achieved some great things over the last few years that we are very proud of,” Sabata pointed out.
In addition to winning the Southern League Championship in 2016, 2018, and 2019, the Generals were honored with the Tennessee Pro Sports Field of the Year in 2017 and 2018, voted the 8th most accomplished Minor League franchise of the 2010’s by Baseball America, voted the “Best Sporting Event’ in West TN in 2019 by the Tennessee Magazine, and were also honored to receive the 2019 Pro Sports Team of the Year, along with the Memphis Redbirds.
“These accomplishments are a great source of pride to Jackson,” Sabata acknowledged. Like other sports franchises, we are constantly looking for ways to improve our product, but I think our resume stacks up very well with anyone.”