Bruce Johnston doesn’t know yet who will be on the roster for the Napa Silverados when they take the field in 2019, their second season in the Pacific Association of Professional Baseball Clubs. Johnston, the team’s owner, president and general manager, doesn’t know yet who will be the manager or who will be working with him on the administrative side of operations.
Napa won its final game of the regular season in late August, 14-4 over the Vallejo Admirals at Napa Valley College’s Storm Field. But the Silverados did not move on to the postseason after finishing in fifth place with a 31-49 record.
“Right now, there’s a lot of things that are up in the air,” Johnston said last week. “I think based on the way everything went last season, I’m going to have to significantly reorganize how the organization functions.
“We all anticipated that our attendance would be better than it was. On the attendance side, I take responsibility for that. We as an organization didn’t do a good enough job in getting in front of the promotions that we had. And I didn’t do a good enough job in making the community aware that we actually existed. It’s frustrating to me that there’s still people in Napa that have no idea that we played a full season of professional baseball in Napa. It’s just beyond me. I don’t understand that.
“I need to do a better job of getting out in the community. And we need to do a better job with getting in front of our promotions, because we need to drive that traffic. We didn’t get the ticket sales and merchandise sales that we wanted.”
Johnston said the contracts for Tito Fuentes, Jr., Napa’s manager, and Megan Castellucci, Napa’s assistant general manager, expired. They are each pursuing other opportunities at this time, said Johnston. Fuentes’ contract expired at the end of the season. Castellucci’s contract expired on Sept. 30.
“I am very grateful to both of them for what they gave to the club, what they gave to me,” said Johnston. “They both had significantly more expertise than I did, and throughout the whole process were very, very willing to share that. We wouldn’t be where we are today without the hard work and dedication that the two of those showed throughout the time that we were together.
“I’m very, very grateful for everything that they did. They were terrific to work with. They both work very, very hard. I can’t say enough about what they did for us as an organization in terms of getting us to where we needed to be, to put the team on the field.”
Castellucci, a 2011 Justin-Siena High School graduate, previously worked as the assistant GM for the San Rafael Pacifics. She was a community relations intern for the Oakland Athletics, assisting the organization with the implementation of community outreach initiatives while also contributing to the planning of various A’s Community Fund projects and events in 2016.
Castellucci informed Johnston of her resignation on Nov. 5.
“This season was one that can never be recreated, and that will be something that I will take away to the next journey. I learned so much about myself during this season, from all of the tests and challenges, to all of the successes, and of course those ‘once in a lifetime’ memories,” said Castellucci, a 2015 graduate of Cal State Fullerton, who received her degree in communications with an emphasis in public relations. She received her master’s degree in sport management from the University of San Francisco.
“This season was a season of growth and development, on so many levels. During this offseason, I was able to look back and be genuinely proud of the product I helped put together. While I am proud of the athletes that comprised the Silverados roster over the course of the 80-game season, I am truly proud of the team I put together off of the field, the tasks they had accomplished and the collaboration that came from them.
“I am proud of myself and the strength, poise, and confidence that came from this season. I gained so much confidence this season, self and career confidence both being huge factors for me and my success this season, while also being around people that believed in me, my methods, and gave me the opportunity to always be a student of this game and this business, and that is something I will never stop doing.
“There is something truly special about the game of baseball, and I am so privileged that I found my passion in it and that this is only the beginning.
“I am grateful for the opportunity the Silverados gave me … and wish them the best of luck in the future. But I am also excited in this next step of my journey and look forward to see where this game takes me next.”
Fuentes played baseball in his native Dominican Republic, for the A’s and Dodgers, in the Dominican Summer League. Born in Moca, Dominican Republic in 1967, he signed as a shortstop-second baseman with Oakland and spent two years, 1987-89, with the A’s organization, and was in Class A ball. He went to spring training with the A’s in 1989. He played two years of Class A ball, from 1990-1991, with the Los Angeles Dodgers organization.
He was the manager for the Vallejo Admirals of the Pacific Association of Professional Baseball Clubs in 2013-14. He has operated the Tito Fuentes Baseball Academy in Napa and provides clinics and private instruction. He has also managed several travel teams.
“I was very happy to be a part of the Napa Silverados,” said Fuentes. “I get a joy of starting new teams and getting young players second chances to keep playing the sport we all love.”
Each of the player’s contracts on this year’s Silverados team expired at the end of the season. Johnston is hopeful of getting some of those players to return in 2019. Many of the players stayed with host families in the area for the three-month, 80-game regular season.
“We had some terrific talent, some quality ball players, and a genuinely nice group of guys, too,” said Johnston. “They represented themselves well in the community. I was really just pleased to have such a good group of guys on the team. They were all quality individuals. They played for each other. I’m not disappointed in the effort.
“We delivered a great fan experience.”
The Pacific Association of Professional Baseball Clubs is a Northern California-based summer independent league that was founded in 2013 and consists of six teams. San Rafael, Sonoma, Vallejo, Pittsburg and Martinez are also in the league.
The San Rafael Pacifics won the title, shutting out the host Sonoma Stompers, 6-0, at Palooza Park at Arnold Field. It’s San Rafael’s fourth Pacific Association of Professional Baseball Clubs title in the league’s seven years.
Johnston said the first year with the Silverados has been a learning experience for him.
“We’ll go back next year and we’ll try every bit as hard again and see if we can make the playoffs. Now I know better how I think the team needs to be structured. I’m very optimistic that we are going to figure out a way to put an even better product on the field next year, put more people in the stands,” he said.