The Scorpions Baseball Club is at a point where they can pick and choose whichever events they’d like to go to.
The New Balance Baseball Future Stars Series powered by Program 15 has evolved to a point where they can be selective with the programs and people they invite to their national events.
Sure, P15 and the Scorpions were a natural fit anyway, but an incredible mutual respect between Bob Rikeman, President and CEO of Scorpions Baseball Club and Jeremy Booth, CEO of NBBFSS/P15, is what sealed the deal.
“I can’t say enough about Jeremy,” Rikeman told FutureStarsSeries.com
“What he does for me on a personal level and just being a good baseball guy to bounce ideas off of and laugh and joke with him, it’s not just business with him, it’s more than that. But I can relate to him, talk to him and compare players with him, talk about data with him, talk about development and talk about major-leaguers…that part of it for me has been very rewarding. Jeremy’s become a great friend, great sounding board and is a great baseball guy that I can laugh and joke with, but be serious at the same time on the business side of things.”
The feeling is very mutual.
“‘Rike’ and I are just on the same page,” Booth said. “He’s looking to impact players and the game to fix what’s broken. There are things that are broken, and if you don’t see it you’re just not paying attention or you’re profiting from it. He’s taken a legendary organization and reimagined it to fit a model that drives development first. He’s unafraid of a challenge and gets things done. He’s in it for the right reasons, and generations of players will be positively affected by it.”
Founded in 1994, the Scorpions are one of the most successful and well-respected amateur baseball programs in the country, having produced some household names at the game’s highest level. By affiliating themselves with Program 15, who have always been a development-first organization, both sides have reaped the benefits.
“What the program has done, is it’s kind of reinforced what I believe amateur baseball should be,” Rikeman said. “I’ve always wanted to get rid of the ‘travel baseball’ name, I can’t stand that name. This really reinforces and gives credibility to ‘amateur baseball,’ by being development first and providing kids the opportunity to get better and more valuable at the next level; whether that’s Division 3, Division 1, professional baseball or even just someday being a coach and helping other kids move on. I think this has all really made a big impact with the Scorpions.”
Scorpions Baseball Club will certainly be a program worth keeping an eye on when they make their debut at the upcoming National Tournaments in Cypress, Texas. How significant of an opportunity will it be for them to match up against some of the top competition in the country?
“I think it’s huge,” Rikeman said. “It’s one of the things when I talked to Jeremy, he asked what we wanted out of this, and we want to play the best teams we can play. We actually asked for an extra game, and we’re going to play more than what’s allotted. If we come back 0-5, we come back 0-5. I want to get over the whole ‘we need to win’ mentality and all of that. I want our kids to compete against the best players they can so they can become the best players they can be. This is such a good measuring stick. We all think about how good we are, until you compete against the best and you find out who really is a great player and who really isn’t a great player; who needs a lot of work, and who is really improving. I have an incredible about of respect for the teams he’s chosen to be a part of the Future Stars Series, and I’m just glad to be a part of it.”
In the end, however, it’s all about the kids. And with the experienced staff and development model of the New Balance Baseball Future Stars Series, a partnership between them and the Scorpions that will culminate with the National Tournaments was a “no-brainer.”
“Jeremy and I have talked about that at length. For us to tell our people and our families that we’re going to pick up and go to Houston, it has to be more than just playing games. I think that it falls right in line with our big switch this year to the development model, and to actually put your money where your mouth is. We’re talking development, development, development and then we’re going to go to Houston. What are we going to Houston for? To be involved with Jeremy and his group of professional and major-league guys with all those years of experience and World Series rings and everything else. And it’s not to just play in front of them, but to actually be taught by those guys. To get the development aspect of the tournament, to me, it was a no-brainer to go.”