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Q&A with Renegades GM Zach Betkowski

Get to know the new GM of the Renegades
Zach Betkowski was named the seventh GM of the Renegades.
October 19, 2023

Recently, the Renegades announced a new General Manager, Zach Betkowski. We had a chance to catch up with the new GM and get to know more about him. Hudson Valley Renegades: Appreciate you coming on down and taking some time out of your day here to to chat with us

Recently, the Renegades announced a new General Manager, Zach Betkowski. We had a chance to catch up with the new GM and get to know more about him.

Hudson Valley Renegades: Appreciate you coming on down and taking some time out of your day here to to chat with us and help us all get to know you a little bit better. You're the new guy in charge for the Renegades, but fans who have been around have seen you around the ballpark for the last three seasons, including last year as the assistant GM. But could tell us a little bit more about your your career path in baseball before coming to the Renegades that kind of got you up to this moment?

*Zach Betkowski: *Sure. I actually just finished year 10 working in baseball. Prior to my time with the Renegades I worked in Allentown, Pennsylvania with the Lehigh Valley IronPigs. For those of you that aren't Minor League Baseball diehards, the IronPigs are the Triple-A affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies. I was there for almost five years, and it was a great experience super successful team. They are very much known throughout MiLB for their unique promotional calendar and their unique promotions. So I wanted to bring some of that flavor here to the Renegades. Prior to the IronPigs, I spent some time working against a former New York-Penn League opponent, the Vermont Lake Monsters for two years. I know the Renegades did get the upper hand on the Lake Monsters in the [NYPL] Championship in 2017, which was the year after I left. It has been a really fun career working in minor league baseball, but I'm very happy to be closer to home in New York.

*HVR: *What was it about the Renegades that that made it the right move at that time to leave Lehigh Valley? Like you said they are a very successful team that does a lot, and is one of those teams that a lot of people within MiLB look to as a leader, to come here to the Renegades?

ZB: I think it was twofold. For me, there was upward movement in my career just to take a step up into management and get a little bit more responsibility. But I think probably the most attractive thing was just being closer to home. You know, even though Pennsylvania or Vermont for that matter aren't terribly far from New York, it was very attractive to be a hop, skip, and a jump from the Capital Region, which is where my folks are, my wife's folks are, too. So we have family that is about an hour away and we can call on them anytime we need them.

HVR: How nice is it to be close to home like that?

*ZB: *It takes a great support system to be successful in this career. Quite honestly, it's not for everyone, and there's a lot of hours. But when you have a strong support system at home, and a strong support system locally, it makes the hours and the grind of Minor League Baseball a little bit easier. You know, a lot of times I'm here 14, 15 hours a day, when you have parents and cousins and other family members that are very close to home and they can assist you at home while I'm here that makes it a little bit easier to manage.

HVR: What have you found you've enjoyed the most about the Mid-Hudson Valley?

*ZB: *The proximity to home definitely sticks out to me, but I think I like the fact that we are in New York, but we're not in the chaos of New York City. I know this can be a commuter area for a lot of people that do work in the city. I like the fact that it feels very suburban, but it doesn't have that you know that absolute super, super speed of New York City where everyone's beeping at each other and walking all over each other. I think it's very spread out and there's a lot to do and you're very close to a lot of things in the Hudson Valley.

*HVR: *You've spent the last two years learning a lot from previous Renegades GMs Steve Gliner and Tyson Jeffers. What were the biggest takeaways you learned from them about how to succeed as a Minor League GM?

*ZB: *I've been very fortunate in my 10 year career to have many influential mentors, and Tyson and Steve are definitely near the top of the list of people who have taught me a ton and continue to teach me. I think that's one beautiful thing about this game, even though Tyson's leaving for a new opportunity, his opportunity is within Diamond Baseball Holdings, so he's just a phone call away. And Steve has been tremendously helpful in this transition while Tyson is moving his life to South Carolina. I think if I had to pinpoint one thing that the two of them have taught me, it's that I don't always have to be the one to make decisions. I think there's a lot of trust that we have in people -- in fans, in partners and in our staff to empower them to tell us what the right decision is. Just ask the right questions so that people can make the decisions that are best for the organization.

HVR: What has been your favorite thing about working in Minor League Baseball?

*ZB: *A lot of people will ask me almost daily, it feels like you know, don't you want to just one step closer to being the Yankees GM or the Mets GM. And quite honestly, I really don't have any desire to do that. I really enjoy the local community flavor that Minor League Baseball offers. I think it's much easier to build personal relationships with fans, partners, and your staff. Whereas at the corporate MLB level, it can be a little bit more hyperfocused, you don't get as many opportunities to truly build a relationship and truly understand what makes people tick. I like Minor League Baseball because it's a little bit more intimate and it does provide that platform.

*HVR: *How important is continuing the Renegades commitment to improving the community and continuing to grow the Renegades involvement in the local community to you?

*ZB: *Community impact is very much near the top of my list of things that are important. I come from a community relations background. So the impact that the Renegades can make on the community is doesn't go unnoticed by me and the staff. We look forward to continuing to volunteer our time, continuing to donate resources, and making sure that the non-profit partners we have and even individuals in the community know that the Renegades are a business, but more importantly, we're community stewards and we want to be pioneers in the Hudson Valley community.