Saturday June 3, 2017
By: David Sibony; DCGrays.com Press
WASHINGTON D.C., Antonio Scott has been a part of the DC Grays since 2005 – first as a co-founder of the “old” DC Grays in the now-defunct Clark Griffith League and now as General Manager of the DC Grays in the Ripken League since 2012. Antonio is in charge of all baseball operations for the Grays – and in this role he oversees the coaching staff and is primarily responsible for roster construction. He has also taken on an additional challenge this season – to oversee a new community outreach strategy for the team to generate more attendance and enthusiasm for the team. He sat down for an interview recently with Grays intern David Sibony.
Sibony: What do the DC Grays mean to you and this community?
Scott: I’m not sure I can speak for the community – that’s one of our goals for the season… to connect the Grays more closely to the community here in Southeast. As far as me, the Grays mean the world to me! They’ve been a big part of my life for years. I guess that makes me a little crazy, but I passionately believe in what we stand for and what we want to accomplish as an organization from the college level team down to our new DC Grays RBI youth program.
Sibony: Talk to me about the RBI program?
Scott: I want people to understand that the Grays are reaching to kids from Little League age on up. Yes, the primary team in my view will always be the “Big Grays” as I like to call them, which is our summer collegiate team in the Ripken League. However, our DC Grays RBI program now gives this organization a platform to help groom and develop DC kids to become better ballplayers, get into college, and possibly play for the Big Grays someday. That is the vision.
Sibony: What is your favorite part of your job?
Scott: I love recruiting… I love connecting with the college players and coaches and putting our roster together. Then I follow them in the college season all spring. It’s exciting to anticipate what type of player we are getting in a guy and then helping him succeed at bettering his game. I have always loved analyzing stats so I assess players the best I can through paying attention to their numbers during the college season.
Sibony: What are you and the front office doing to elevate the Grays to another level?
Scott: There is a lot going on. I have to give recognition to our Board of Directors. I’ve never worked with a more dedicated group of people in my life. I mean that. Everyone has taken on specific roles – we’ve formed committees that focus on specific areas of our operation. Mike Barbera, our team president has orchestrated it all so well – and we have been able to make significant strides each year to our ultimate goal.
Sibony: There are lots of young men on this team and a few HS graduates, what’s the thought process about recruiting such a young team?
Scott: Ultimately we would love to have more upperclassmen players. As a league we compete with several other top-level summer college baseball leagues around the country. The Ripken League is viewed by professional scouts as an excellent developmental league for younger players. Our team is young because many college programs see the league as a good first summer option for a young freshman or sophomore player. They know they will face top competition and get great coaching.
Sibony: How do you feel you compare to other teams in the league on and off the field?
Scott: I myself don’t like to even compare us to any other team. Ideally I see us as a model organization. Very few summer college teams do what we do – recruiting African-American ballplayers, supporting black college baseball. There are only a handful of teams in the entire country doing that. Now we have a youth baseball program aimed at inner-city kids that is second to none. But let’s be fair – we’ve been a playoff team only once in our first five years in the Ripken League and we’re always trying to improve in the standings. I’m confident we are heading in the right direction in all areas of our organization. Our summer college team continues to improve and our DC Grays RBI program gives us a way to bring baseball and softball to kids in Wards 6, 7 and 8. That program has an extremely high ceiling of potential and we’re excited about that.
Sibony: What are some of your assessments and/or outlook for the players you have this season?
Scott: For starters I got to say that I feel that this is the deepest team we’ve had from a non-pitching standpoint ever. I feel that we will be competitive night in and night out. I’m excited about Lamar Briggs coming back for a third season with us from Jackson State. He finished as a first team all-conference player in the SWAC this year and we expect him to be a leader and very productive in the line-up. Other returning players from last year include outfielder Vinnie Catanza, and pitchers Matt Dalke and Trey Congleton. They were all solid contributors last year, and I each expect productive seasons from each of them.
Although everybody else is new to our team, there are a few players that made some big-time contributions to their college teams this spring season. That excites me to see if it will transfer over to the Grays season. We are too deep on the roster to mention all the guys, but Isaiah Kearns had a terrific freshman year at West Virginia going 5-0 as a pitcher this year in 7 starts with a 4.78 ERA. Michael Parsons also had a good freshman year at Dartmouth posting a 4.30 ERA in 13 appearances as a reliever.
I’m excited about all of our guys in all honesty. Can’t wait to see what each one of them bring to the table.