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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 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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