Love of baseball keeps Hunt going
Torrington Titans manager, Gregg Hunt, has been a fixture at Fuessenich Park since 1997 and would have it no other way. His story by Patrick Tiscia.
The sun was pouring down on the batting practice cage at Fuessenich Park Wednesday, easily hitting the 90s on the temperature scale.
Despite the, at times, unbearable heat, Gregg Hunt, a summer fixture at Fuessenich since 1997, couldn’t think of a place he’d rather be - teaching his players the finer points of the game.
“Anyone could go to the beach, but not everyone can put on a baseball uniform,” said Hunt, in his second season as manager of the Torrington Titans. “To put this uniform on everyday is a big honor.”
The past four summers have been interesting to say the least for Hunt.
In 2008, a new ownership group took over the Torrington Twisters, raised ticket prices and were rumored to be looking for new locations to move the team. Those rumors turned out to be accurate as the Twisters packed their bags and headed to Massachusetts for the 2009 season.
Torrington was now without a summer collegiate team and Hunt took on a new gig – manager of once Torrington rival, the Manchester Silkworms.
Manchester closed up shop after the 2009 season, leaving Hunt to search for his third team in three seasons. Coincidentally, Torrington, after a year away, rejoined the summer baseball mix with The Our Baseball Haven ownership group. The Torrington Titans were formed, and Hunt, as voted on by the team shareholders, was named manager.
This Torrington team, however, was not a member of the New England Collegiate Baseball League like the Twisters were. The Titans joined the less heralded Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League and the summer, from travel to the field quality across the league, was a grind to say the least.
Despite the struggle, Hunt led the Titans to the playoffs, but once again, Torrington summer baseball found itself in jeopardy. Our Baseball Haven ceased operations in January due to lack of ticket sales and Torrington was just a few weeks away from another college baseball-less summer.
However, an upstart league, The Futures League, was looking for a fourth team to round out its league and found Torrington to be the perfect fit. Each team is funded financially by the league and Year One so far has been a success, from attendance to quality of play.
For Hunt, after 12 years of stability with the Twisters, it appears he can take a deep breath and worry about just about baseball, and not the business of it.
“These guys running the league are committed to success,” Hunt said. “Obviously, it won’t come overnight and they know that. Next year, we’re hoping to expand the league by a couple of teams, and that will especially help with travel.”
As far as the past four years are concerned, Hunt’s love of the game kept bringing him back. And it’s that passion that kept him going.
“I had a great run with the Twisters and I really enjoyed my time with Manchester,” said Hunt, whose team entered Saturday in first place with a 12-6 record. “Last year, we had a good organization, but it was a just a different type of league when it came to the schedule and fields.
“For me, I love the teaching before the games and the competition during them. It’s why you put on the uniform.”