From Barrington to 'baseball heaven'

Barrington manager Chris Promades thrust into bright ESPN spotlight

By Josh Bickford
Posted 8/14/19

Chris Promades is a baseball guy — he just loves the game.

So when the manager of the Barrington U12 All-Star baseball team and the rest of his squad arrived in Williamsport, Pa. on Sunday, …

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From Barrington to 'baseball heaven'

Barrington manager Chris Promades thrust into bright ESPN spotlight

Posted

Chris Promades is a baseball guy — he just loves the game.

So when the manager of the Barrington U12 All-Star baseball team and the rest of his squad arrived in Williamsport, Pa. on Sunday, Aug. 11, he could not help but grow a little awestruck. 

"It's been crazy," he said, during an interview on Monday afternoon. "Coming from Sherwood Field (in Barrington), and now we're here…"

Mr. Promades said the last few weeks have been very special — battling back to win the District II championship over Pineview, knocking off Cranston Western to win the state title, and then defeating Goffstown, N.H. in the regional championship on Saturday.

The victory started to set in on Sunday, when Mr. Promades, his assistant coaches Dr. E.J. Anderson and Frank Fede, and the 13 players on the team rode out to Williamsport, Pa. for the Little League World Series. 

Mr. Promades can remember watching the Little League World Series when he was a kid, seeing youngster slide down the hill just beyond the outfield fence at Lamade Field. Seeing the pristine baseball field in person was a bit of a shock.

"I call it baseball heaven," said Mr. Promades. 

About a month ago, Mr. Promades was like the half-dozen or so other Barrington residents selected to manage a local All-Star baseball team. He had tasted success in prior years, even winning a U10 state championship two years ago. But this year, competing in the most popular Little League division, Mr. Promades has been thrust under a brighter spotlight and in front of a much larger audience.

At regionals in Bristol, Conn., Barrington won its first game, defeating Vermont 6-4 in extra innings and earned a semifinal match-up against New Hampshire. The team lost 2-1, despite a stellar pitching effort by Miles Fontaine and impressive defense. But in a must-win game, Barrington defeated Connecticut, 4-0, and punched its ticket to the regional finals.

The championship game against New Hampshire was broadcast live on ESPN — each play shared across the world on the best-known television sports network. A visit to the pitcher's mound by Mr. Promades was shared with millions of viewers, the manager's words broadcast far beyond the Little League field in Bristol, Conn.

Pre-game and post-game interviews and press conferences are covered by dozens out media outlets.

Mr. Promades said his approach has not changed, regardless of the media exposure. He speaks to his players about focusing on fundamentals, making smart plays, giving their best effort. The manager also shares credit for the team's success with his assistant coaches — E.J. Anderson and Frank Fede. 

"E.J. has been phenomenal with the pitchers. He is a master," said Mr. Promades, adding that the assistant coach calls the pitches for his team. 

The manager said Mr. Fede is the emotional leader of the team. He is able to keep the group of young baseball players focused in the moment and driven to succeed. 

"I just try to put the kids in the best position to succeed," said Mr. Promades. 

The manager said he has learned to trust his gut while coaching; during the regional championship he made a last-minute lineup change that proved to be a win within the win — sliding players into different spots in the lineup and shifting a would-be substitute into a starting spot. 

Some of the responsibilities come easier than others for Mr. Promades, but he has learned to accept all the challenges of the job. On Monday, after having batting practice for his team, spending more than an hour sitting for ESPN interview, speaking for another hour with his hometown newspaper, and leading infield practice on Lamade Field, Mr. Promades still had time to record a video message for a local television station and ship it out in time for the 6 p.m. news.

The manager said he is trying to soak up as much of the experience as possible, and reminds his players to do the same. 

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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.