Brooks Carey is entering his second season as the CornBelters Field Manager.
In his first season at the helm (2013), the team tied the CornBelters record for most wins in a season (46), and they won 17 more games than they did in 2012. They also had four active player contracts purchased by Major League Baseball organizations (Casey Upperman - Baltimore Orioles / Alex San Juan - Colorado Rockies / Ryan Demmin - Philadelphia Phillies / Alan Oaks - Chicago Cubs), raising the CornBelters total to seven in the organization's four-year history. Last but not least, four players were selected to play in the Frontier League All-Star Game (Demmin, Drew Provence, Pat Mckenna and Mike Schwartz), and one player was named a post-season All-Star (McKenna).
Carey served as the Pitching Coach for the Evansville Otters in 2012. The team finished the season with an improved 45-50 record, and his pitching staff boasted a 3.96 ERA. The previous year, they posted a 39-57 record with a 5.20 ERA. Two of his pitchers, Dan Blewett and Eric Massignham, were named to the East Division roster for the Frontier League All-Star Game. Blewett, a former CornBelter, was the leading vote recipient among pitchers.
He served as the CornBelters Pitching Coach in 2010 and 2011 under former Field Manager Hal Lanier. The CornBelters posted a 96-102 record from 2010-2011, and Carey’s pitching staff tallied a 4.10 ERA (2010) and 3.92 ERA (2011). During that time, current CornBelters pitcher Tyler Lavigne had his contract purchased by the Boston Red Sox. Also, former CornBelters pitchers Ryan Sheldon, Bobby Pritchett and Marshall Shuler were named to the Baseball America "Top 10 Independent Prospects List." Sheldon and Pritchett were selected in consecutive years, and Shuler was ranked was No. 1 in 2011. Last but not least, Lavigne and Sheldon were named to the West Division roster for the 2010 and 2011 Frontier League All-Star Games respectively.
Prior to his first stint with the CornBelters, Carey won the 2008 Can-Am League Championship as Pitching Coach for the Sussex Skyhawks. He was a starting pitcher in his playing days, and he reached AAA with both the Rochester Red Wings and Indianapolis Indians in 1985.
Vinny Ganz served as the hitting coach for the London Rippers (Frontier League) during the 2012 season. Playing only 60 games, they amassed 451 hits, 229 RBI and a .270 batting average. That average was second in the league at the completion of the season. The team included Joash Brodin, the 2012 All-Star Game “Most Valuable Player.” In 238 at-bats, he hit .370 with 88 hits, 11 home runs and 54 RBI before being acquired by the Long Island Ducks (Atlantic League).
Alex Hidalgo is beginning his first season with the Normal CornBelters, but he has been associated with the game of baseball at every level in numerous capacities. He rose through the playing and coaching ranks in the Dominican Republic and then later in Florida. In 1997 he earned the Rookie of the Year Award from the Dominican Republic. Then in 2002, he played in the Pablo Netali Cruz League, District A. In 2003 he was part of the Colorado Rockies Summer Camp in the Dominican Republic. In 2004 he came to Florida and has played in various lagues and games throughout the years.
Player Personnel Director
Nick Belmonte has been signing players to professional contracts since 1990. In that time, he has signed over 1,500 players and counting. Several of his players have played Major League Baseball, most notably Rey Ordonez, Kevin Millar and Eddie Orepesa. From 2009-2011, he had 10 of his players named to the Baseball America “Top 10 Independent Prospects List,” including former CornBelters Bobby Pritchett, Travis Weaver and Pat Trettel. He started the Indy Pro Showcase in 2006, where he scours the country looking for the best college seniors and free agents available.
Belmonte played college baseball at the University of Florida, and professionally in both the Milwaukee Brewers and Montreal Expos organizations. Among other accomplishments, he still holds the Gators single-season record for stolen bases. As a minor league manager, he had a .673 winning percentage during his three seasons leading the Salt Lake Trappers (1990-1992). It was the highest winning percentage of any manager in professional baseball during that time.
For the past 25 years, Belmonte has been the color analyst for the Florida Gator Baseball broadcasts on Sun Sports and Fox Sports Florida. He can also be seen on Fox South doing color commentary for the ACC and SEC games of the week, as well as the ACC Baseball Championships. In addition, he has worked many NCAA Super Regional telecasts as an analyst for ESPN.