When speaking about one of his newest partner programs, New Balance Baseball Future Stars Series Powered by Program 15 CEO Jeremy Booth really said it all.
“The Houston Heat helped change the landscape of amateur baseball in the state of Texas and Houston specifically,” Booth said. “They’re known on the national stage and mentioning the name commands respect. Bear Bay does a great job of working hard for players and his passion is evident. He operates his organization fearlessly and with integrity. We’re excited.”
Who wouldn’t be?
Since being founded by Phil Cross back in 2001, the Houston Heat have quickly grown into one of the premier youth baseball programs in the country.
“His first year, he had Scott Kazmir and Clint Everts and went on to Jay Bruce,” current head of operations Bear Bay told FutureStarsSeries.com. “Now, (more recently) we have Anthony Rendon, Daniel Mengden…we have a lot of high profile big leaguers. We’ve been one of the mainstays in Houston for almost 20 years.”
To be clear, that isn’t bragging about a lengthy alumni list, it’s simply pointing out that the credibility that comes from being able to help produce that type of player helps attract the kind of exposure that benefits every player under their umbrella.
“When you have that kind of caliber of player, it’s easy to have that respect from college coaches and be known in the baseball world,” Bay said. “It’s a big benefit to know that we’re thought about that way. It’s being at the right events and coaches go to these events where we’re at and the other top teams are at. Now, becoming a part of Program 15, I’m seeing all the teams that you guys are signing, and these are big time ballclubs. It’s huge to be a part of it and to go to these events that all the other good teams are at and all these college coaches are going to respect the teams that are there and know that they have good talent.”
Not only does the alumni list help with recruiting players, but so too does the new alliance with the Future Stars Series and Program 15; opening up new opportunities to be seen with exciting partner events has created a buzz.
“It’s going to be big, because one of the first things these parents ask is usually about what events we’re going to and will there be college coaches there,” Bay said. “When you say an event like the Music City Classic and start naming all these top teams that are going to be there, it kind of takes precedent over going to Atlanta and spending $2,000-$3,000 just to go there for a week and not get any exposure.”
With NBBFSS/P15 being based in Houston, it would only seem logical that a partnership between them and the Heat could be forged. But it was one that took time and came with building mutual trust between Bay and Booth.
“Jeremy’s known me since I was in high school,” Bay said. “He scouted me in college. We’ve always known each other and he’s known who we were. I was looking for a coach one day on a minor league Facebook page we’re a part of, and he tagged one of his other coaches that needed to coach somewhere, and I went and talked to him and started following what he was doing. We’ve always kept in contact since then. I had an issue come up this summer where he reached out and talked to me about something one of my coaches was doing behind my back, and that went a long way with me and showed me what he was really about (with how he protected me). That put me over the hump with deciding to do something.”
But, in the end, it was a similar philosophy on player development that ultimately sealed the deal.
“It just makes sense if you’re both about the same thing,” Bay said. “When you’re trying to find people in this realm of what we do, it’s hard find those with same interests, because there’s a lot of guys that just want to make money. They don’t do things the right way. For example, we were (recently at an event) and the coach goes, ‘Man, is there ever a time you don’t stop coaching,’ and I said that if I see them doing something wrong, I want to help them and make sure they’re doing it right. Do something right, learn from it. There’s always a learning experience here. So, when you have people with those same interests, it makes it a no-brainer.”