During an important Trapper game early this season, assistant general manager Dave Baggott's old playing-field competitiveness got the better of him. The Traps had something going, and Baggott felt a sense of duty. He stood in the Derks Field pressbox doorway and barked. Loud. Louder. He got Bob Warnick to type "bark" onto the scoreboard message center, and soon the whole ballpark was barking.
And loving it.It's been a Derks tradition ever since.
As has Baggott's singing "Minnie the Moocher" from the top of the stands, doing his cliche-king "Pete Diamond" color commentaries on radio broadcasts and launching into professional-quality imitations of Jack Nicholson, Jimmy Stewart and "Cheers" postman Cliff Clavin.
On Tuesday, Trapper ownership made certain that Baggott the entertainer and his kind of fun will be around for the faithful to enjoy next season as well.
Principal owner Jack Donovan of Phoenix announced Tuesday in a Salt Lake City news conference that Baggott has been named the team's new general manager. He replaces Steve Pearson, who resigned in July to join the Weber State College staff.
Baggott isn't all bark and no substance.
When Pearson left and Trapper ownership began searching for a replacement, Baggott seized the moment. They were looking elsewhere, but the assistant-GM-turned-acting-GM figured if he showed the owners he could do the job, they'd have to give it to him.
Tuesday, Donovan said they interviewed many and read three times as many resumes but decided to promote from within. "We feel very special toward Salt Lake City and the Trappers," Donovan said, "and we wanted to make sure we did this thing properly.
"Since the end of the season, the office has been operating from a level we want it to be at. Dave has done an excellent job," Donovan said.
Donovan said he and fellow owner George Gross of Houston had also recalled their own backgrounds as former athletes now in the front office in recommending Baggott to the rest of the ownership. "David played for the Trappers. It's a natural progression," said Donovan, noting a "family atmosphere" surrounding the club. "We're excited to have one of our players work his way up."
Baggott said his playing experience aided him in the front office as salesman and promoter. "Being a player helped me in management in that being a successful player, you have to be aggressive and disciplined. You can't just sit in your office and have people come and buy what you have to sell; you have to be aggressive."
The Trappers finished fourth in all of minor-league baseball in average attendance last season and again broke their own short-season Class A record by drawing 176,214 for 1988, up about 5,000 over The Streak season.
Even without a championship in 1988 to trade on, a serious Baggott hopes 200,000 is within reach for '89. He tells skeptics that you can't win every year, and the 1985-86-87 championship Trappers forced an upgrading of the whole league in '88, meaning better ball for all.
The Trappers have made their name in town as the fun thing to do in the summer, and Baggott hopes to add to the enjoyment with promotions and comfort with some changes in seating - a VIP box that's affordable is one. Fans may notice little conveniences like diapering stations in the rest rooms, too, Baggott says.
"We want a product on the field that adds up to fun," Baggott says.
Also Tuesday, Holly Andretta was named Trapper business manager. She's helped Baggott hold things together this summer and fall. And Baggott said both player-personnel director Van Schley and field manager Barry Moss will be back.