LETTER TO THE EDITOR: President of Northborough Baseball Speaks Out

Jim Forbush, president of Northborough Baseball and Softball, responds to the letters from earlier this week.

Submitted by Jim Forbush, president, Northboro Baseball and Softball Association, Northborough

I am not one to take my issues public but I need to defend the great work that is being done at Northboro Baseball and Softball Association (NBSA).

While I respect the passion and loyalty that drove Mr. Furlong to bring his thoughts public, the fact is that his letter grossly misrepresents what happened last week and the feelings of the coaches and leadership of Northboro Baseball and Softball.

Sean Durkin is still a well loved Northboro Baseball coach. Sean was and still is a respected member of Northboro Baseball and I hope he will continue to coach for many years. I’ve often said that Sean is likely the best coach that ever walked the fields of Northborough. The annual board election was not about his coaching. At no time was Sean’s coaching position ever discussed (at the meeting or since the meeting).

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As to the NBSA Board election, I need you to understand there is another man on the other side of this - Jeff Fontecchio. For the past two years, Jeff has been involved in every aspect of our program across multiple age levels. This past spring, he stepped up to lead 495 Babe Ruth when no one else would (including Sean). When we needed the Memorial Field scoreboard installed over two weeks this summer, Jeff led the way. On the Saturday in late-June when the new scoreboard rose, Jeff was there doing the hard work. Sean was standing on the hill by the dumpster for about 45 minutes and did not come down to assist or say hi. These are the type of key events that form opinions in our young coach/ parents' minds about the leaders of Northborough Baseball.

The election was not a testament to Sean's dedication over the years. It was a testament of Jeff consistently being there over the past two years when we needed him.

Craig Murphy stopped working the fields in April. For Craig Murphy, I agree 100 percent with the sentiments being expressed. The passion, time and energy that
he brought to the Memorial Field complex in the past was without compare. I have played and walked the fields for years and understand how lucky we were to have him.

Unfortunately, this past spring, Craig decided that he was no longer going to volunteer his time to Northborough Baseball. In February, he came to me with an ultimatum – he would no longer work the fields unless he was compensated for his services. I politely told him no. Northborough baseball is an all volunteer organization and simply cannot afford to take on that kind of expense and still offer affordable programs for our kids and families. On Opening Day in late April, Murph informed me that he would no longer be working the fields.

That is when Craig Robert, Jeff Fontecchio and Dom Rosa stepped up to fill Murphy’s giant shoes. I mention these guys by name because they were the ones I always saw down at the fields. The truth is that there are many volunteers that work to keep our fields looking great. Memorial Field gets all
the press, but I can’t tell you how many days Todd Calder sacrificed with his family to keep our softball fields looking great this year. It was difficult trying to replace Murphy, but it was a path he chose, not Northborough Baseball.

Chet Leonard is still revered. Chet Leonard will continue to be the Northboro Baseball official scorekeeper as long as he wishes. Chet’s position is not a board position and was not up for re-election. Chet’s involvement, understanding of the game and history of the organization is valued and we hope to continue to have his support. I received a call during the meeting indicating Chet and a couple of others had mistakenly gone to the Legion instead of the library. We all waited for them to arrive before continuing the discussion and holding the annual election.

This was no secret meeting. Lastly, I need to provide some facts on the NBSA annual meeting logistics and results:


  • This was not a secret meeting orchestrated by a few individuals.
  • The date, time and location of the meeting were publicly announced on Sep. 18 and open to all members of the Northborough Baseball and Softball community (an email was sent to over 500 families and coaches in our system, including Mr. Furlong). In fact, 40 parents and coaches attended the meeting.
  • Three people were not voted off the board. Only one person seeking re-election lost.
  • Prior to the public announcement, I reached out to the entire NBSA board to make sure that the date was not going to be a problem. No one on the board indicated it would be an issue.
  • After the meeting was announced to the public, Sean asked me to the move the date. I indicated that I could not move the date but asked if moving the time of the meeting would help. Sean never got back to me.
  • The vote on the Northboro Baseball VP position was 34-4 in favor of Jeff. This was clearly not a small group of people who orchestrated a secret result. Sean was represented at the meeting and everyone spoke very respectfully of him. I still scratch my head as to why Mr. Furlong did not come to the meeting and make his voice heard. He received the same invitation that every other coach and parent in our organization received.

We are very fortunate to have several parents step up this year to take a deeper role in the organization. This level of commitment is critical to ensure that Northborough Baseball and Softball will continue to thrive next year and through the next 50 years.

I take the role of Northborough Baseball and Softball president very seriously and would never let politics or gamesmanship trump over my integrity and the well being of our kids. I respect everything that Sean, Chet and Craig have done and will continue to do in service of Northborough Baseball and hope that the
readers of the Patch can carry the same respect in their posts regarding the election result.

Dave Lorenzi October 10, 2012 at 11:35 AM
Jim, please correct me if I am wrong but wasn't the meeting time and location, etched in stone for years, changed for this utmost important meeting and conflicted to a night you knew Sean couldn't attend? Haven't these meetings, for years never had more than 10 or 12 people show up, yet this time the room was stacked with almost 40 people, most of which were there to vote against Sean (hence there was no problem waiting for the 4 people who were still at the Legion to get over to the library)? After speeches to endorse the new VP didn't someone step up to endorse Sean and that person was cut off by Mike Hodge who moved for a vote? People involved have told me those are the facts. Lynn Winter was right about creating a board position for Sean. Why not? Why not deal direct with Sean to work out a solution? Using the tag line 'it is all about the kids' is a cop out. To me, the actions around that meeting show the kids were the furthest thing from your mind.
Kyle Jacobson October 10, 2012 at 12:11 PM
I have been a NBSA coach and volunteer for many years. I have also been on the NBSA board of directors for two years. Jim Forbush has been pesident for two years after spending years on the board in other positions. It was evident after working with Jim for a short time that he is a no-nonsense guy with the best intentions for Northboro baseball and of course the children of Northboro. No one is questioning Sean Durkins dedication to Northboro baseball. I have known Sean for many years and he has always been a get the job done kind of guy. I hope Sean continues to serve Northboro baseball as a coach and volunteer for many years to come. Being present at the board meeting I assure you that nothing underhanded went on at the meeting. It is unfortunate that people who were not even present assumed something unjust or underhanded occured. It is also unsettling that a character attack against Jim and other board members was launched as a result of a fair election process. Let's remember that we are all here to produce the best possible experience for the players in Northboro baseball.
Joe Capes October 10, 2012 at 12:25 PM
As someone who has been involved as a coach and coordinator in the league for the last 3 years, I am amazed by the vast number of people that devote their time to volunteer as Board members, coaches, asst. coaches and coordinators, and to those parents who gladly help in staffing the snack shack or assisting with field clean-ups. I also recognize Sean Durkin as someone who has invested untold hours doing the same and have personally thanked him for what he has contributed to the league as a volunteer and Board member for the past several decades. Each year, during the annual Board of Directors meeting, a new Board is elected democratically. This is not a job or an entitlement. This is a way for people to give back to the community and to the kids who want to play the game. Any individual is free to submit their interest to seek election or re-election. Under the guidance of Jim Forbush, at no point has our league had better advance communication of the date, time, location and agenda of each meeting, including last week's annual Board meeting. The fact that people have taken specific motivation to publicly express gross inaccuries, lies and slander against Mr. Forbush and the league is a representation of who those individuals really are, versus what they purport to be. The league depends on participation for its existence and survival. I am glad to see new volunteers stepping up to take on greater responsibility and thank Mr. Forbush for his excellent, fair leadership.
Nboro Resident October 10, 2012 at 12:53 PM
Shame on Mr. Furlong for using the internet to irresponsibly and publicly attack a group of individuals without even having all of the facts first. Clearly no one is questioning the dedication of NBSA volunteers past or present. Every organization has a process which it follows in order to elect its leaders. From every indication so far, it seems as though the process that was put in place was followed as designed. Change can be disappointing and sometimes difficult to understand, but that doesn't mean it is negative or wrong. Hopefully people can learn from this unnecessary whirlwind of slander, that we should not let our emotions get in the way of our responsibility. Although the Patch is probably fully enjoying the activity that this has produced, I urge people to pick up the phone or talk face to face, and find out both sides of the story before starting a firestorm. Thank you to everyone who volunteers, our children would not have the terrific opportunities available to them without you. It is understandable how passionate we can get, especially when it comes to our children and our friends, but lets not let that passion hurt us as a community.
Postman October 10, 2012 at 01:22 PM
I haven't heard the people still upset about the events rebut the problems outlined above in Jim's letter. Rather they are still pointing fingers about the meeting time. If Sean was needed so bad where was all this support for him during the vote? It's not like 100 people showed up at the legion by mistake waiting to vote for him. It's bothersome when people DON'T vote and then bitch about the results. Bottomline, all these people are volunteers and deserve a lot more respect than there getting from a lot of parents who just drop off their kids and leave.
Sean Sanders October 10, 2012 at 01:27 PM
Mr. Lorenzi, Could you please shed some more light on the attendance? Who typically showed up to the meetings in past years? How was this meeting different? I reiterate my previous statement. This entire situation is suspect.
nboro resident October 10, 2012 at 01:36 PM
The fact of the matter is, kids are growing up, more kids are coming to town who have not had the pleasure of growing up with Mr. Durkin, Chet and Murph on the baseball fields. WIth these kids, comes their parents, who want to be involved in their kids' baseball life. Unfortunately, none of these people (adults and kids) know the true dedication that's been given by these three men over the years. So essentially, you have the "townies" (as we've been called) and the "new generation" of northborough. This new generation is hoping to essentially get rid of the older generation, to make room for their involvement. It is perfectly fine to be involved in your childrens' activites, but they way the "newbies" are going about it, the example you are setting for your children, is far from appropriate, and I hope these new parents can realize that. Why get rid of volunteers (which by definition is, "a person who freely offers to take part in a task")? Why not welcome the extra help, education and dedication. My family was very active and proud to be part of northborough baseball and all the people who participated. My dad was very a very active volunteer, but never held any NSBA positions. The baseball fields were a fun place to be. There were never any politics. You said it yourself, Mr. Forbush, "Northborough baseball is an all volunteer organization." Why not embrace every volunteer and be appreciative for everything they have to offer.
Nboro resident October 10, 2012 at 02:30 PM
Nboro resident Wait. Was Mr Fontecchio already on the Baseball Board? If so, what purpose does it serve to move from one position to another.
Dave Lorenzi October 10, 2012 at 02:40 PM
Please, if you leave a comment, have the backbone to put your name to it. Sean Sanders - I have been out of the organization for a few years, but have friends that have been in. That is why I wrote my post in question format. If I am wrong about what I understand, I would like to know. I cannot judge the current board, but it is smells fishy. I did not attack or criticize anyone involved with the program as I know how hard they work. What I asked is what I have been told by those still involved in the organization is how it went down. The board meets monthly at a set time and location and has for years. Usually with no more than 10 board members, even on the annual election. For this important meeting the night was changed and the meeting moved to the library for the first time in memory. Sean thought he was running unopposed and 35 people showed up and voted him out. Again, I am ASKING if I have the facts correct because this is what I have been told by people who were there. I think it reeks of 'let's get him out' and if they wanted that they could have created a board position for him or dealt with him directly. Again, I am not trashing the board because I am not involved, I am only going by what I have been told. Are my facts wrong? Please let me know. And I get it is an open election etc. But if a man has given his life to the program for over 20 years should he not have the right to know if his board position is in jeopardy?
Happy October 10, 2012 at 03:14 PM
Although Sean has been a great asset, there are more and more families coming to town with all the new construction; of coarse we need to expect changes with that. If the "townies" wanted to keep this more of a town then they shouldn't be part of the over growth problem and then complain about it. The way I see it-it was an election just like other boards. People come out in hordes to vote someone In and vote someone out. I think all the boards need to see a change. Keep it fresh. Keep it new. Besides Sean has the opportunity to keep coaching therefore he will be just as available to the kids. Isn't that most important?? More important than an adults pride?
DLF October 10, 2012 at 03:34 PM
Our son has been involved in Northboro baseball for 4 years, at least. I just want to say that Jim has personally coached him a few times and we have no doubts that he is an upstanding gentleman. I'm not saying that the prior president wasn't, in fact I don't even know him. I have never even met him. This seems simple to me, the meeting was announced to the public (I got the email), no one should be asking for the meeting date to be re-scheduled because then everyone would. You find a way to get to the meeting if it is important enough to you. You participate and then you deal with the results. It is a public vote, you're either in or out. If you don't like the results, don't take it to the local newspaper and bash people. It just makes you look foolish. I respect the past dedication that some men have put in but I don't believe just based on that, they need to be re-elected. There are others who can do the job well and will. They too should be thanked greatly for their volunteerism and hard work with out children. Thanks to all the coaches and board members past and present.
Sean Sanders October 10, 2012 at 05:14 PM
Mr. Lorenzi, Unfortunately, I have no more facts than you do, sir. Nor do I suggest that you made any "offensive" statements toward anyone. Having said that, if your attendance numbers do turn out to be true, I agree; something is "fishy."
Postman October 10, 2012 at 05:33 PM
Dave, Why do you need to know who said what? To bully/intimidate? It has nothing to do with "having backbone", it has do with privacy. I don't need some "nut" giving me or my kid sh&% because some jerk has a hair across his a$$ over who has a title in the Northborough Baseball League. It seems egos were hurt, not the program. As I've explained in earlier blogs, I believe some people will be more honest when anonymous. Of course you'll get some people who say cruel or ridiculous stuff while anonymous, but you get that everywhere. So again, why do you need to know who we are to continue a conversation?
KS October 10, 2012 at 07:07 PM
Change is always difficult and the anger and mean spirited tone in many of these posts on the subject are disheartening. We moved to Northborough because of the school system and the incredible reputation of the sports programs. All of the past volunteers and Board members attributed to that reputation - that cannot be denied. However, let's remember why each of them volunteered. Yes, for the love of baseball, but more importantly, to support their child's passion and make sure the baseball program was the best that it could be and a positive experience. Well, those reasons are still valid for the parents that currently have children in the program. We honor and respect all that the previous Board members and volunteers have done for this program, but they have accomplished what they set out to do and even more. Kindly let the parents of current players have a chance to take part in their child's passion. In addition, we are not raising just solid baseball and softball players technically, but also have the opportunity to take advantage of the many teachable moments on and off the field. I have confidence that Jim and his team of Board members, coaches, and parent volunteers will aim to keep the program as successful as it has been throughout the years and a positive experience for our children that will build their self esteem, teach sportsmanship, and learn how to work as a team.
Unhappy with the bitterness towards NBSA October 10, 2012 at 07:31 PM
All, the original article that started this witch hunt was misleading from the first sentence underneath the topic that read: Three are voted off the Northborough Baseball Association Board, yet goes into a 15 year story about 2 men (Craig Murphy and Chet Leonard) who were NOT voted out of any held league position. Sean Durkin was the only person currently on the Board of Directors. I understand that Sean Durkin was replaced as VP of Baseball, but the other 2 men mentioned in this “SAD” story didn’t appear to have held official positions, but have been very active in the baseball community for a long period of time (along with countless other individuals) – none of which were profiled in great detail in that article. Why these 2 men are mentioned regarding the league BOD vote is not clear or relevant. It does take a village to raise a child, but this story seems to portray that a total railroading of the vote occurred. I was at that meeting and did vote as I was entitled to as I had officially filled out a CORI form during the 2012 baseball season. A few people did mention that Sean Durkin wasn’t able to be in attendance but did wish to remain in his position. A call to vote occurred and a few hands were raised to vote for Mr. Durkin. The other person nominated for that position was Jeff Fontecchio. He received 8 times the number of votes as Mr. Durkin (Actually 34-4 according to Mike Hodge). I would take that as a definitive democratic act.
Unhappy with the bitterness towards NBSA October 10, 2012 at 07:32 PM
As for Craig Murphy and Chet Leonard, I haven’t heard of them previously myself, but then again, I know a lot of baseball parents by face and not their names over the years by the fact of seeing them at the fields all summer long. From what I could tell, their names weren’t mentioned at the meeting to be voted out of any position. If you all were so concerned to vote for any current or new board members, then you should have filled out the required paperwork and then been in attendance for the meeting to vote. Just feeling that a current board officer didn’t need to have people attend to vote for them to continue in that position isn’t the way elections work. The meeting was announced publically, held, voting occurred and that is that. As for the follow up replies, it’s great to voice your opinions – but let’s be civil. We all want the same thing – a great baseball experience for our kids. There will be another vote in about one year, so you can make appropriate plans to register and vote at that time. If ANYONE still wants to volunteer at the fields going forward, please contact the appropriate BOD officer and offer your services. I’m sure they will let you to continue to assist with the ongoing league/field operations. Please fill out the appropriate CORI form so that you will be able to provide volunteering services AND be entitled to vote NEXT year.
Sandra F. Calder October 10, 2012 at 08:42 PM
Attendance numbers only seem "fishy" this year because we have more CORI-checked members interested in the organization's future. Since the vote is open to both baseball and softball board members, this could be another reason that there was a large turn-out. Softball has grown over the past year we have recruited several young ladies to join the program at the younger age level. Perhaps in years past, there were less interested parties and therefor had less of a turn-out. I'm pretty sure it is as simple as that and nothing more.
Dave Lorenzi October 10, 2012 at 09:41 PM
Postman - you may have a point on the 'nut' factor. :) I just have a hard time respecting someone who takes shots at people/organizations and hides behind a keyboard. Trust me, I am NOT capable of bullying or intimidating anyone. I loved being a part of this organization and do believe turnover is a positive thing. But IF the accusations I heard are true of this board taking a cowardly approach in dismissing these men (again IF) then they too are essentially 'hiding behind a keyboard' and I think that is lousy. After all the years these men put in the board should have had the decency to sit them down and tell them their time was up and ask them to step aside. Torpedoing them was cold. AGAIN, IF this is in fact how it happened (see my first post on this thread).
Tim Woodford October 10, 2012 at 09:59 PM
HW October 11, 2012 at 01:26 AM
I ditto this. As a person not sure what exactly happened but have read both articles. I can't help but feel this is indeed a maybe "unintentional" battle between the old and new. Both sides might feel justified of how they feel but this is not about them. We appreciate and salute all the vounteers who make it possible for our kids to participate in such a wonderful program, holding current board position or not. That goes to both and all past and current vounteers/leadership of the NBSA. Things do change as the population of the town is changing and there is no need to have resentment and put a public display...if it does not feel the same way then either give someone else a chance to see if they can indeed can do the job or run against them next time... for this I do not really care about the original article Mr. Furlong published that is very negative towards such a wonderful orgnization and people who at least have the same passion as Mr. Furlong seemed to demonstrate. I have full confidence of Jim and his teams. And hope everyone can come together, settle their misunderstandings and continue supporting our kids.
Jim Cooley October 11, 2012 at 01:55 AM
Many of the people coming to Mr. Durkin's defense no longer live in town but have been positively impacted by his contributions. You seem to be quick to dismis them and talk about current members. Our voices should be heard since we had a first hand experience with the individual who is being removed. That experience weighs much more than a singular vote by people who did not have the same pleasure.
Mark J October 11, 2012 at 02:38 AM
I played Northborough baseball as a youth and now have experienced NBSA with my own children. Through these years I have witnessed many people going above and beyond from coaching to maintaining the fields, to working one on one with a child that wants to grow in their skills. Many have contributed in the role as board member, coach or volunteer and for this I am grateful for their continued efforts to help our children play this great American sport. Without these volunteers NBSA would not be what it is today. With this in mind, we need to remember that an assigned position does not make a person “great” – it is in the way they quietly work hard to make a difference in the community around them - not seeking the applause and recognition of others. Instead of slandering Jim Forbush, who has been mercilessly assaulted because of altered perceptions - let’s put our efforts toward encouraging ALL of those who volunteer whether they have a title after their name or not so that Northborough Baseball will continue to be the top-notch program that it is.
Michael Bonner October 11, 2012 at 09:09 PM
How can you even compare one Saturday of working on a scoreboard and one year involved in Babe Ruth to what Sean has done. I went down to the field last spring when Sean was mixing concrete and rebuilding the batting cage by himself for hours. So the whole 45 minutes of standing by the dumpster can get tossed out the window.
James Pini October 11, 2012 at 11:56 PM
I'm another long-time Northborough baseball player. I played for Sean Durkin for four years from age 15-18. I'm not familiar with this situation other than these articles and comments. I can understand how there could be people in Northborough Baseball that possibly justifiably want this thing called "change"--whatever that means. Although I know I lack knowledge of the situation, there are two reasons why I still question this whole thing. 1. If you are going to vote someone like Sean Durkin out of a board position, I would think you'd want to make damn sure there isn't one iota of a reason to doubt the process. Clearly in this case there were some reasons to question it. That in and of itself makes me question it. 2. Please define this thing called "change." Why keep it a secret? Instead of making a case for a certain kind of "change," all this article seems to suggest is that Sean didn't help out putting up a scoreboard. And as Mike Bonner I think accurately puts it, we can toss that criticism out the window.
A Point to Think About October 12, 2012 at 12:50 AM
I've heard from many NBSA sponsors that they are dropping out because of the recent controversy...rough estimate is $3,000 in sponsorships lost just because of this decision to get rid of Durk, Murph, and Chet. Your sponsors know NBSA as an organization run by those 3 men, and can't support it without them in the picture. If it's truly about the kids as you keep saying over and over, then think about all the money you're losing because of your recent decisions.
Dave B October 12, 2012 at 09:01 PM
I am another person who was at the meeting last week and participated in the voting of new board members. I have also been coaching Northborough Baseball for the last 3 years. I am very pleased with Northborough Baseball and have been so long before this controversy began. I can tell you that, as a coach, I have put in a fair amount of volunteer time, but the time that I have put in pales in comparison to the time spent by lots of other individuals, and particularly the very people who have been verbally attacked on Northborough patch. I was present at the meeting and I believe Jim's account of what transpired is 100% accurate; there was nothing untoward. During the meeting, Jim communicated with someone at the Legion and then delayed the vote by about 45 minutes to give those people a chance to get to the meeting. Before the vote for vice president, Jeff spoke on his own behalf and others spoke strongly in support of Sean. When the vote was taken, it was overwhelmingly in favor of Jeff. I believe this was because everyone at the meeting knows Jeff and is very familiar with his invaluable contribution to Northborough Baseball, and felt that he would be a great choice for vice president for the upcoming year.
Dave B October 12, 2012 at 09:02 PM
(continued...) I have been very disappointed to see the many negative comments on Northborough patch against current NBSA board members. It seems that quite a few people have had very positive experiences with Northborough Baseball over the years. Yet these same people seem unwilling to recognize that the current board members are now providing a great baseball experience for our children. I hope that Jim and the other NBSA board members will continue their great work. I really do think that for those us who are involved, it really is all about the kids.
Craig Evans October 15, 2012 at 06:16 PM
Coach Durk has been a huge influence on my life on and off the baseball field for many years. I couldn't have asked for a better coach to play for. I have taken it upon myself to create a Facebook page where friends, family and players can voice their support for Coach Durkin. Here is the link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/128320223983496/ Please share your favorite Coach Durk stories or just show your support by joining. Thank you all and most of all thank you Coach Durkin for everything. Craig Evans
Northboro Baseball Player October 16, 2012 at 05:25 AM
Mr Forbush says in his letter that Murph stopped working in April....so why was Murph taking care of the field all summer while the only people I've ever seen helping him were Durk and Mike Mocerino. If Mr. Forbush can't even be honest in his letter about something as honest as who maintains the field, how can we trust anything else in his letter? And to those who say "It's for the kids," I'm not sure you know what you're talking about because everything Sean Durkin did was for the kids. He made sure every single kid not only became a better ballplayer but had fun while doing it. He was working the fields, fixing the cages, grilling on parade day. The younger, newer parents may think it's good but their kids are simply too young and have not experienced Durkin to the full effect yet.
NBoro Resident October 17, 2012 at 10:54 PM
Has anyone else noticed everyone that has commented on this saying they've coached or been on the board only been there for two or three years? Northborough Baseball has been a positive experience not because of the current members but because of who was there before you, building the program into what it is today. Many members left because they were unhappy with the newer, younger management taking over and trying to control everything they had worked so hard to build. And how dare Mr. Forbush criticize Durkin for "standing by the dumpster" while the others built the scoreboard. I have never even seen Mr. Forbush out working on the field himself.


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