By Paul Daquilante • Staff Writer • 

Living the dream on Field of Dreams Way

Marcus Larson/News-RegisterJoe Miglioretto has worked with the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes for 10 seasons.
Marcus Larson/News-Register
Joe Miglioretto has worked with the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes for 10 seasons.
Marcus Larson/News-RegisterJoe Miglioretto works from the press box during Salem-Keizer Volcanoes games, charting pitches and processing video.
Marcus Larson/News-Register
Joe Miglioretto works from the press box during Salem-Keizer Volcanoes games, charting pitches and processing video.
Marcus Larson/News-RegisterAs a member of the San Francisco GIants’ organization, Miglioretto has received two Giants World Series championship rings and three championship rings from the Volcanoes.
Marcus Larson/News-Register
As a member of the San Francisco GIants’ organization, Miglioretto has received two Giants World Series championship rings and three championship rings from the Volcanoes.
Marcus Larson/News-RegisterJoe Miglioretto adjusts a camera in the visitors  dugout at Volcanoes Stadium in Keizer.
Marcus Larson/News-Register
Joe Miglioretto adjusts a camera in the visitors' dugout at Volcanoes Stadium in Keizer.

KEIZER — For the past 10 years, on 38 summer evenings, it’s fitting that McMinnville’s Joe Miglioretto has reported for work at Field of Dreams Way, where the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes play their Northwest League baseball games at Volcanoes Stadium.

“I’m living the dream,” said Miglioretto, Salem-Keizer’s video coordinator. “I’m one of those people. My dream was to be a pro baseball player. I couldn’t do that, so my dream was to coach. I did that for 20 years.

“I’m not a pro player, but I’m involved with baseball and I’m a piece of a quality Major League Baseball organization,” Miglioretto addedd. “There’s not a whole lot more I can ask for. I’m living my dream.”

Salem-Keizer is a Class A affiliate of the National League’s San Francisco Giants. The Volcanoes play a short-season (76-game) schedule.

In addition to Salem-Keizer; Boise, Idaho; Eugene and Hillsboro play in the NWL Southern Division. Everett, Washington; Spokane, Washington; Tri-City, based in Pasco, Washington; and Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada form the Northern Division.

Miglioretto, who will begin his 27th year of teaching health at McMinnville High School this fall, has been the Volcanoes’ video coordinator for a decade. Landing the job was simply a matter of being in the right place at the right time.

His brother, Vic, is a former Volcanoes season ticket holder. Joe would attend some games with him each year.

One season, Miglioretto spotted someone walking around the stadium concourse with a video camera and a clipboard. He asked the individual what he did and Miglioretto was told he was the club’s video coordinator.

So Miglioretto decided to follow him around the stadium. He walked with him, sat with him and talked to him.

“I told him that I was a baseball coach and love the video aspect of coaching,” Miglioretto said. “I told him if he ever needed help, or couldn’t make a game, to let me know.”

As it turned out, the individual had another part-time job and believed he might be going full time. If that happened, he was going to have to give up his job with Salem-Keizer.

“It was in February or March of the following year, and he called me to tell me he was working full time,” Miglioretto said.
He sent a resume off to Volcanoes vice president of operations Rick Nelson. It was forwarded to the Giants’ organization.

“One day, out of the blue, I got a call from the coordinator of baseball operations (for San Francisco),” Miglioretto said. “I did a telephone interview. That was a Friday. He was going to call another person. On Monday, he called back, and offered me the job.”

He was hired and is employed by San Francisco. The Giants sign his checks. There is a little sticker on his computer that says “Property of the San Francisco Giants.” He was assigned to work in Salem-Keizer, just like every player on the roster is assigned to play for the Volcanoes.

“The short season works out perfect for me,” Miglioretto said. “It fits nicely into my summer break.”

San Francisco also has Class A teams at Augusta, Georgia, in the South Atlantic League, and at San Jose in the California League. Both teams play longer schedules that would conflict with Miglioretto’s teaching schedule.

“If I keep my foot in the door, when I retire, there might be some opportunities opening up for me,” Miglioretto said.
He arrives at the stadium between 4 and 4:30 for a game that won’t start for another two hours, and then the non-stop work begins until he heads home after the game ends and the Volcanoes and their opponent walk off the field.

Before a game, he first checks for any roster changes that either club has made and then checks in with manager Gary Davenport, hitting coach Ricky Ward and pitching coach Matt Yourkin, in addition to any roving instructors in town to assist the manager and his staff. Those instructors, typically based with the parent club, add a level of expertise in a certain area — fielding, hitting, pitching, for example.

Miglioretto then inputs the starting lineups for each team into his laptop computer, which he hovers over during the game.
There are four video cameras used to record and break down each hitter’s at-bat during a game. Those cameras are positioned on the third and first base dugouts, behind home plate and in centerfield.

The first base camera is held together with tape for the time being after being hit by a batted ball in a game against Hiillsboro earlier this year.

“I had to do some athletic training on it,” Miglioretto said.

A regimented schedule has him turning on the centerfield camera about 30 minutes before the game.

Then the third base camera is turned on during the manager/umpire meeting at home plate, the first base camera is turned on as a youngster who has beeen chosen to do the honor runs around the bases just prior to the game starting. The home plate camera is turned on after the National Anthem.

Then it’s game time . . . “Pla-a-ay ball!”

Miglioretto takes his position in the press box during the game and “inputs data” related to the type of pitch thrown (fastball, curveball, slider, split-finger, etc.), location of the pitch, result of the at-bat and location if the ball was put into play – a spray chart, in baseball parlance.

Miglioretto charts on the average of about 300 pitches a night.

“I have my room in the press box,” Miglioretto said. “It’s fun. It’s what I do.”

Games will last between 2 1/2 and 3 hours, and afterward, Miglioretto collects the four video cameras, checks in with the coaching staff to inquire if they have any video requests and processes the video, which amounts to syncing each camera with the pitch-by-pitch data entry.

That work is done as Miglioretto and his wife are returning home. Karen, a server during games in the stadium skyboxes, drives and he sits in the backseat with his laptop taking care of business.

“When I have all the video synced, the computer takes over, and publishes the video,” he said. “It’s then transmitted to the Giants. They have the data and the video at that point.

“The roving instructors have access to it and the personnel department has access to it,” Miglioretto said. “Within 12 hours, the video is available to anyone who wants to access it.”

Giants personnel use the video to make personnel decisions for each player and to confirm scouting reports on opposing players who San Francisco might be considering acquiring in a possible trade or other transaction, according to Miglioretto.

He does the same work for games when the Volcanoes play at Hillsboro and Eugene. However, for those games, a centerfield camera is not used. When the team is on the road elsewhere, a player will handle the video and chart-pitching responsibilities.
“Other than coaching, this is probably the perfect job for me,” said Miglioretto, who closely follows former Salem-Keizer players as they move through the Giants’ organization.

Catcher Buster Posey, infielders Brandon Crawford and Pablo Sandoval and pitchers Tim Lincecum and Ryan Vogelsong all wore a Volcanoes uniform early in their professional careers.

Tom Trebelhorn, a 1966 graduate of Cleveland High School in Portland, is a former Salem-Keizer manager. He enjoyed big-league managerial stints with the Chicago Cubs and Milwaukee Brewers, too, and was a longtime Baltimore Orioles coach.
Miglioretto not only loves his job, and relishes the time he spends at the stadium, but he knows he’s working for a first class organization, and that’s a good feeling.

“I’m way down on the totem pole, but the Giants have a way of making people feel special,” he said.

San Francisco won the World Series in 2010 and 2012. Miglioretto has a world championship ring from each of those seasons. The Volcanoes won the Northwest League title in 2006, 2007 and 2009, and he has championship rings from each of those seasons as well.

There’s no question, Joe Miglioretto’s living his dream!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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