April 9, 2015

Futures League and Steamship Authority Announce Marketing Partnership

For immediate release:

Chelmsford, MA and Woods Hole, MA — The Futures Collegiate Baseball League (FCBL), one of the country’s premier collegiate baseball summer-leagues and the Steamship Authority (SSA), the largest ferry service to the Islands of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket from Cape Cod, are pleased to announce a partnership which will add new marketing channels for both organizations while supporting collegiate baseball games on Martha’s Vineyard this summer.

Futures League Commissioner, Chris Hall, commented; “We are very pleased to work in tandem with the Steamship Authority. The SSA provides families, many of them Futures League fans, affordable, leisurely travel to and from the islands.” Hall Continued. “With teams in Connecticut, New Hampshire and Massachusetts, the Futures League features high level baseball talent and provides affordable fun for its host communities. This partnership is a natural fit for both organizations.

Steamship Authority Martha’s Vineyard governor and current board chairman, Marc Hanover, added; ““We are pleased to partner with the ten Futures league teams to help promote family-oriented sports entertainment for our island residents, visitors, and the FCBL as a whole. It’s really a win-win situation for everyone.”

About the Futures League: The Futures League begins its fifth season in 2015 and has quickly become one of the premier wood bat collegiate summer leagues in the country. The league will play a 56 game (28 home & 28 away), nine-week schedule concluding in early August. The League Championship is determined by a playoff immediately after the season ends. Each year top players will be scouted and selected in the MLB Draft.

Media Contact: Chris Hall, futuresleague@yahoo.com, 617-593-2112

About the Steamship Authority: The Woods Hole, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket Steamship Authority was created in 1960 by the Massachusetts legislature to provide for “adequate transportation of persons and necessaries of life for the Islands of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket.” Today the Steamship Authority serves over 2 million passengers a year and provides the only ferry service that carries both passengers and vehicles to and from Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket.

Contact: Kimberlee McHugh, Director of Marketing, 508-548-5011 ext. 306




The MV Sharks are pleased to announce 2014 FCBL Pitcher of the Year, Matt Quintana, will be returning to the team as Summer Youth Camp Coordinator for the 2015 season. A native of West Simsbury, Connecticut and currently in his senior season at Division 1 Siena College, Matt will graduate this May with a degree in accounting.

Matt had a phenomenal season for the Sharks on the mound last summer, going 6-1 with a 1.29 ERA while striking out 65 and walking just 6 batters in 56 innings of work. In  the FCBL playoffs he went 1-0 with a 1.08 ERA and 8 strikeouts. In addition to his FCBL POY award he was selected to the Perfect Game Collegiate Summer All American Third Team.

Sharks Director of Business Operations, Nelson Giannakopoulos, commented, “Matt is a great choice to run our group youth camps and individual personal skills sessions. He was a camp instructor all last summer and we received nothing but great feedback about him from campers and their parents.  With Q on board we can now focus on improving and expanding the camps.”

Head Coach Frank Leoni, who will work with Matt on designing and marketing the camps added, “Matt is clearly a very talented baseball player and I’ve heard great things about him as a person. I have a lot of experience with summer baseball camps and I am very excited to have the opportunity to work with him to improve and expand the program.”

In addition to running the camps and skill sessions Matt will also assist with the operations at the team’s new retail store, as well be a member of our game day staff: “I want to thank Nelson and the Sharks for offering me this opportunity. I had a great summer last year as a player for the team and I can’t think of a better way to start my post-college career. I am really looking forward to working with Coach Leoni, the players, and the rest of the Sharks staff.”


MV Sharks www.mvsharks.com


Futures League http://thefuturesleague.com/view/futuresleague

Sharks Announce 2015 Assistant Coaches

The Martha’s Vineyard Sharks are pleased to announce Head Coach Frank Leoni has named Mike Cassidy and Chris Alberto as assistant coaches for the 2015 season.

Mike Cassidy is currently the Assistant Baseball Coach at Marymount University in Arlington Virginia, where he also works with Coach Leoni. He played college ball at Averett University and went on to become an assistant coach for the school. He left AU in 2014 to join Coach Leoni and help start the Marymount baseball program. Director of Baseball Operations Kyle Fiore commented; “Mike has an extensive coaching background and we are thrilled to have him on board. He will primarily focus on working with outfielders and catchers, as well as with the offense.”

Chris Alberto will join the Sharks staff this summer after finishing his second season as an assistant coach at Western Connecticut State University. A 2013 graduate of WCSU, he finished his playing career as the record holder for most hits in school history. Fiore added; “Chris had a great career as a pitcher and infielder and is also in WCSU’s all-time top 10 for multiple offensive categories. He will contribute to the team in all facets of the game and we are excited to have him as a part of the Shark’s family.”

Fiore concluded: “To have a head coach with 470 NCAA victories and two high-quality assistant coaches; I believe the Sharks are in great shape heading into the 2015 FCBL season. Add to that a roster of talented players and I am confident our fans will really enjoy this year’s edition of the Sharks.”


Website          www.mvsharks.com

Email          fanmail@mvsharks.com



January 21, 2015

The Martha’s Vineyard Sharks, the island’s collegiate summer league baseball team, announced plans today to open a retail apparel store and ticket office.  The team has agreed on a lease for the former MV Bikes building located in Vineyard Haven across the street from the Steamship Authority in the Union Street parking lot.

“We are very excited about this opportunity to grow the Sharks brand,” commented Nelson Giannakopoulos, Sharks Director of Business Operations. “We’ve seen the popularity of our merchandise at the Shark Tank and feel strongly that the store will increase visibility and demand for our stylish logos and other merchandise.”

One of the league’s four founding franchises, 2015 will be the team’s fifth season playing in the Futures Collegiate Baseball League. Giannakopoulos continued, “Each season we’ve seen the demand for our apparel and other merchandise grow and with only 28 home games we need to find other sources of revenue to support the team’s operation. The store will be a prominent component of our business plan.” In addition to Sharks apparel and merchandise, the retail store will be a location for fans to purchase tickets, sign up for the popular Sharks kid’s summer camps and private one-one-one skill sessions, as well as have an opportunity to meet Sharks players.

“Each summer we sign thirty very talented players from college programs all over the country to play wood bat baseball at a high level. The new store, with its location so close to one of the island’s key gateways, will be a great way for us to expand our fan base and ultimately bring more people to the Shark Tank to watch our team compete against the nine other FCBL teams.”

The team will also have player appearance days at the store, many visits from Sharky the Mascot, and other special events to be announced at a later date. Following a renovation to the building this winter, the plan calls for the store to open in mid-May and close for the winter following the Columbus Day Weekend.


To learn more about the Martha’s Vineyard Sharks, please visit our website at www.mvsharks.com or email us at fanmail@mvsharks.com.


As part of our long term commitment to the island community the MV Sharks are excited and proud to announce our plans to establish the Sharks Charitable Foundation. The SCF will be a 501c non-profit corporation and donors will be able to make tax-deductible gifts. The mission of the Foundation will be to:
1) Annually provide scholarship grants to two Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School seniors who are going on to play a sport in college.
2) Subject to NCAA rules, provide scholarships to two MV Sharks players at the end of each Sharks season.
3) Provide grants for upgrades of athletic facilities on the island, including the Shark Tank.
SGC will have a Board of Trustees and this board will select and invite five members from the community to form an awards committee. This committee will meet and determine who will receive the annual scholarships and grants; and, how much they will receive.
The initial funds to start the SGC are being provided by MV Sharks ownership. We will also be reaching out, on and off the island, for donations to help us build an endowment. As with the team we want the SCF to make an impact on Martha’s Vineyard for decades to come.


To all who follow the Sharks it’s obvious the team is in the midst of change. Conclusions are being drawn without the benefit of facts and some are losing sight of what is most important – the continued existence of the team. Change is occurring because those who have the benefit of comprehensive knowledge of the team’s circumstances recognized its future is in jeopardy. It’s that straightforward and transparent – no finger-pointing needed in any direction.

The Sharks are here not because of one or five, or ten, people; rather, the team is here because of the incredible dedication and teamwork of scores of players, coaches, volunteers, interns, staff, fans, host families, shareholders, donors, and sponsors.

Championships and winning seasons are unquestionably important, however assuring future generations have the same opportunities to watch great collegiate baseball and hoist trophies is equally if not more important. The MV Sharks should be here for generations — an island institution – and we are determined to meet this objective. The island community can divide and fail (i.e., the Sharks go out of business) or we can rally around the team and insure it is here for years to come.

With this objective in mind below we are pleased to share an outline of the team’s direction, which lays the foundation for the team’s long-term success:

  • The Sharks will be run by two operating groups; (a) baseball operations; and (b) business operations.
  • Kyle Fiore has been named team’s Director of Baseball Operations and Player/Personnel director. Kyle will be working with our new head coach, Frank Leoni, on all “on-field” matters. Most importantly they will develop our annual roster and work with our Host Family Coordinator, Jessica Burnham, to insure our players have the best experience possible; and that we have a championship caliber team season after season.
  • Nelson Giannakopoulos has been named Director of Business Operations. Nelson has been with the team since its early days and understands the off-field aspects of the team better than anyone. His charge is to coordinate our incredible volunteers, interns, and staff, to create the best possible game experience for our fans.
  • We expect to open the Shark’s first retail store in May of next year. The store will sell Sharks merchandise and serve as an off-site ticket office. We will also have player appearances and Sharky the Mascot to welcome customers.
  • We hope to add more stadium seating which will significantly enhance fan experience. There are many other improvements to the Shark Tank we hope to make and we will be prioritizing those in the days and weeks to come.
  • We will be working with knowledgeable baseball people outside the organization who can show us how other successful teams all over the country run their operations. We will take the best of what we discover and incorporate it into our operation.
  • We will be overhauling our marketing program.
  • We will be instituting a special ticket pricing plan for year-round islanders.

Naturally, achieving our objectives will require a very significant financial commitment. In the days ahead we will develop a plan to fund the team for the short and long term. We are confident the team will present a compelling business plan to potential investors, donors, and sponsors. Beyond money, among other things, we need an army of volunteers, more Host Families, and a dedicated and loyal local fan base attending every game. To better open the lines of communications we created an email account, fanmail@mvsharks.com. The Sharks encourage you to email suggestions, ask questions, or offer to be a volunteer and/or host family.

Rest assured we have an unwavering commitment to achieve our objective of having the Sharks become an island institution. Our genuine thanks to all who helped get the team started – let’s finish what we started and assure the Sharks are here for generations to come.


The Martha’s Vineyard Sharks of the FCBL are excited to announce the hiring of Frank Leoni as their head coach for the 2015 season.  Team board member Scott Lively commented, “We are thrilled to bring Frank back to his New England roots. He has a proven record over more than two-decades as a college coach and we are confident he will help the Sharks improve as a team, both on and off the field.”

“I am extremely excited and honored to be the next head coach of the Martha’s Vineyard Sharks.  I want to thank the team’s board for this incredible opportunity. “ Leoni went on to say, “The FCBL continues to build its reputation as one of the finest summer collegiate baseball leagues.  College coaches not only want to send their players to play in a great league, but they also want them to have an overall positive summer experience.  I can’t think of a better place than Martha’s Vineyard to accomplish both”

“Our goals will include developing our players, winning an FCBL championship and being great members of the Vineyard community.”

Leoni brings twenty-two years of head coaching experience to the Sharks. He is currently the head coach at Marymount University in Arlington, Virginia, where he was hired in 2012 to start the baseball program from scratch. Prior to Marymount Leoni was the head coach at William & Mary. With the Tribe, Leoni posted 196 wins in seven seasons and was the fastest coach to reach 100 victories in program history.

Leoni took the helm at his alma mater, URI, in September of 1992 as the youngest D-I head coach in the nation, inheriting a program that went 8-25-1 the year before and was set for elimination. He turned the program around and won 266 games during his time in Kingston, which at the time were the most in school history.

Under Leoni, the Rams won the 2004 and 2005 Atlantic 10 regular season championships and the 2005 A-10 conference championship to lead URI to its only NCAA postseason berth in program history. He was named the A-10 Coach of the Year in 2003 and 2004 and the New England Coach of the Year in 2004. He was named to the Rhode Island Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2010.

A total of twenty-seven players Leoni has recruited or coached at Rhode Island and William & Mary have been either drafted or signed free agent contracts to play professionally. Six of his former assistants have gone on to successful head coaching careers, including John LaRose at Johnson & Wales, Jim Foster at URI (current assistant at Boston College), Raphael Cerrato at URI ,  Jad Prachniak at the helm of the 2012 Division II National Champions West Chester University, Adam Taylor at Franklin & Marshall and Jaime Pinzino at William & Mary (current assistant at the University of Oklahoma).

Leoni graduated from Rhode Island with a B.S. in accounting in 1990 and earned his master’s degree in Business Administration from URI in 2003. He and his wife Michelle have four children, Ryan (15), Karsen (13), Nathan (13) and Casey (10).