Ex-Royals skipper Sabins excited for new challenge
Posted: October 3, 2012
WINCHESTER — Steve Sabins’ first year as the Winchester Royals manager provided just about everything he could have wanted.
It took a unique opportunity to take him away from building on it.
Sabins, who led Winchester to its first appearance in the Valley Baseball League Jim Lineweaver Cup championship series since 2004, is leaving the Royals to take the general manager job with the Charles Town (W.Va.) Cannons. The VBL approved the move of the Luray Wranglers to Charles Town during its monthly meeting on Sept. 20.
“I’m really excited to have the opportunity to take on a new role,” Sabins said. “I’m excited to work with Brett Fuller and the Charles Town Cannons, and I think this is a good opportunity to do more with the administrative side of things.
“I really enjoyed my experience in Winchester. It was great working with people like [Royals president] Todd Thompson, [operations manager] Jim Shipp, [housing coordinator] Karen Shipp and [Royals Board member] Jim Phillips. But I’ll have a bigger role with coach and player contracts and putting together a team [in Charles Town.]”
Sabins — an assistant coach at Oklahoma State University — said he got to know Fuller, the Luray president and now Charles Town’s president, well this season. Once the VBL season ended, Sabins said Fuller told him Luray might be undergoing a major organizational change, and Sabins said he couldn’t help but be interested in a higher organizational role.
His interest came with a caveat though — he wanted Royals assistant Bobby Rauh to be with him when he made the move. Rauh, like Sabins a former Royals player, will manage the Cannons.
“I wanted someone I can trust leading the team, and I think this is an excellent opportunity for Bobby,” said Sabins, who was officially offered the general manager job in early September.
Sabins had numerous players with remaining college eligibility from his Royals team that went 36-16 last season and lost 3-1 to Harrisonburg in the championship series after winning the North Division title. Thompson has said he will not release any players from that team though.
Sabins said on Friday he had not talked with Thompson about the situation. He said he did not wish to comment on whether he wanted any of the Royals’ players, but he said understood Thompson’s position.
“I’m sure he’s just doing what he thinks is in the best interests of the players and of the Valley League,” Sabins said.
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