New owner, logo, mascot on tap as Valley Blue Sox re-boot for 2023
|Published: 11-02-2022 10:00 AM
The Valley Blue Sox are entering into a new era of baseball, headlined by a new owner and a new-look team and mascot.
After working with the team for 13 years, Fred Ciaglo sold the Valley Blue Sox to Matt Drury prior to the 2022 NECBL season. The Hadley native was named the Blue Sox general manager in 2018, and was a part of the organization’s first two championships, once as a coach and once as GM.
“My family’s been involved for the last 13 years being a host family, I’ve been a coach... so I’ve been on the road a lot. Taking over from the ownership side really was a lot of work,” Ciaglo said. “We really enjoyed doing it, but we couldn’t do things in the summer we liked to do as a family.”
Ciaglo didn’t want to sell the team to just anyone. He wanted to make sure that whoever took over from him also had local ties, and would make sure to keep the Blue Sox on an upward trajectory.
“We didn’t want just anybody to re-take it over. We wanted somebody with ties to Western Mass.,” Ciaglo said. “It really seemed to be like a perfect fit.”
Enter Drury, who has family from the Springfield area and went to high school at Williston. The sale to Drury happened just prior the 2022 season, but the team used the most recent season as a transition year so that Drury could learn the ropes before fully taking over as the team’s owner.
“I've been a baseball guy my whole life, so when the opportunity came available, I jumped on it,” Drury said. “We kind of just went through everything as it was, just so we could see it, learn and adjust from there. I think we had a good season last year, but I think there's a lot of stuff that we can bring in and help them continue to progress the franchise.”
Though the New England Collegiate Baseball League (NECBL) season ended just a few months ago, Drury and his team are already hard at work preparing for the upcoming season. Most notably, Drury and general manager Tyler Descheneaux have been working on a team rebrand, unveiling a new logo and working on new uniforms that are currently being developed. Most notably, the uniforms and logo will feature a lighter powder blue, hearkening back to when the Holyoke Millers patrolled the grass at Mackenzie Stadium.
“We want to put our stamp on things (and) that's the most outward way to do it, obviously, but it should be fun,” Drury said. “Freshen it up, make it a little different.”
The Blue Sox are also holding a fan contest to help name the club’s new mascot; people can email name nominations to the team (email@example.com). In addition to the new logo and uniforms, Drury is planning on other improvements for both the team and fans.
“We've already been working pretty hand in hand with the city on what the future is going to look like, improvements to the field,” Drury began. “We're going to add a new live audio experience in the park where people can get radios and headphones and listen to the broadcast live without delay in the stadium. We're adding a new team room/locker room for our players as well.
“It's a franchise that's been run the right way,” Drury continued. “We're not trying to reinvent the wheel here. We're just trying to see what we can do and improve upon it.”