While there have been many changes to the Joliet Slammers baseball team over the past year, Coal City's Ken Miller has been asked back by the Frontier League team.
It will be Miller's third year in the organization and he will be back as Director of Special Projects.
"Nothing is beneath me. I will do whatever they want me to do," Miller said. "The last couple of years I've worked a lot with fundraising groups. Working with the not-for-profit groups so that they can make some money and come out to enjoy a ballgame. I've also gone out and spoken to several groups and done some PR work. Whatever they need me to do."
The ownership group changed hands and a new general manager was named in former Redskins player Chris Franklin. Still, there are a few holdovers from last year in addition to Miller. He says that everyone is still getting to know each other at this point.
"We're getting to know each other. Kelly Drechsel and Aaron Morse and Guy Massaro are the others coming back from the last group," Miller said. "We're meeting new people. These guys are young kids. It's fun assimilating that. I hope that we can get back to where we were last year. It was like a family last year. Everybody helped everyone else out and I think the more we get to know each other, I think that's going to happen. I think that's what Minor League baseball is all about."
Franklin said that he is looking forward to the chemistry the Slammers are going to have, starting immediately.
"It's been great, it really has. The staff that we have retained has done an excellent job. We're adding new pieces and I'm really comfortable with the chemistry we have," he said. "And that's a big thing, both on the field and in the office. I'm really big on chemistry. If everyone's working together, we should get better results. I'm very pleased with the transition and everything so far."
One of the top priorities is getting to know the team's new CEO Josh Schaub of Joliet Baseball Community Entertainment.
"I've been very pleased with Josh. We've had a good working relationship and he's very easy to work for. It's been really good," Miller said. "I've been really pleased. I've worked with Josh and I'm really pleased and excited about the direction that things are going."
Miller said that he also enjoys getting to work side by side with someone from the area in Franklin.
"We've talked about a lot of things. I'm excited about him being here. He has the local connections and he knows what's going on," Miller said. "That's important because you have to realize what the politics of Joliet are and what we need to do in order to attract people into this ballpark. Local is a good thing. We have a different market than the people of Chicago. We need to get out into the Lockports, the Bolingbrooks the Morris' and the Coal Citys and the places to get people in here."
One of the ways Miller sees that growing is by the continual incorporation of community nights.
"I'd love to get community nights for all of them," he said. "We've had a Morris night before. We've had a Wilmington night and several different cities and I'd like to get one for Coal City. We need to get those communities involved."