City businessman co-owner of Aussie ball team
Marc Schefsky always has been a fan of the Little League World Series.
Now, the hotel he works for, and its connection to providing a place for teams to stay when they play in the tournament, has led him to another venture in his life.
Schefsky, general manager of the Genetti Hotel, 200 W. Fourth St., said Thursday he has gone together with an Australian businessman to purchase the Sydney Blue Sox, a professional baseball team in the Australian Baseball League, and that his connection to teams from “down under” during the Little League World Series made it happen.
“It’s a dream come true,” Schefsky said, choosing not to elaborate on the purchase price, but rather focusing on how, through connections with the Little League World Series, he became a partner in the league.
“It began with the Little League introducing Australia into the series,” he said.
In 2013, the Little League team from Perth in western Australia became the first from the country to play in South Williamsport, he said.
Since then, the Australian teams arriving have included: Perth Metro Central; Perth Metro North, 2014; Cronulla, Sydney, 2015; Hills, Sydney, 2016; Hills, Sydney, 2017 and Gold Coast, Queensland, 2018.
However, it was the chatter with the Perth team and a more intimate relationship with a man from the 2015 Cronulla Little League, enabling Schefsky to connect with the professional league.
“I became close with one of the Cronulla team player’s father’s, Matt Cavill,” Schefsky said.
Cavill, who was a big fan of all sorts of baseball, from youth through the Major Leagues, told Schefsky that professional baseball owners in Australia were looking for the opportunity to privatize.
Until that time, the Australian government operated the league, Schefsky said.
“You don’t want government in baseball,” he said smiling.
Schefsky said Cavill was able to put him in touch with Adam Dobb, owner of a communications company in Sydney, who also owned the Blue Sox.
Schefsky said the reason for them wanting the American connection with the “Aussies” was the search for a more American(ized) game, with more entertainment to break up the sometimes slower moments of watching players perform for nine innings in regulation, let alone, extra innings.
Schefsky said he thought with his management skills and promotional abilities, displayed proudly during the Little League World Series every August, he could help to add such “flair.” Schefsky said he’s also partnered in the venture with Jamie Flick, of South Williamsport.
For those unfamiliar, the league, he said, is comparable to professional independent leagues, and triple A, double A and single A clubs. Its games are played from November through February and Schefsky is hopping on a 13-hour flight in early November to check out the team, stadium and league.
The league is looking to expand from six to eight teams for the 2018-19 season, Schefsky said.
Other teams — from cities such as Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Perth, Gold Coast and Newcastle — play with professional leagues in New Zealand, Japan, South Korean and Taiwan, he said.
The league has produced the likes of Rhys Hoskins, the left-fielding power-hitter with the Philadelphia Phillies, who also played for the Williamsport Crosscutters, and Josh Spence, pitcher, with the San Diego Padres, Schefsky said.
Schefsky said the next phase of his co-ownership of the team will be preparing to board a flight to Sydney in early November.
Before then, though, Schefsky said a float with the Blue Sox logo will be in the Little League World Series Grand Slam Parade from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday.
The float will have players from the Original Little League on it, Schefsky said.