Welcome to our series of Five Minutes With… blogs that will feature interviews with AstroTurf’s staff of experts, partners, clients and friends. We hope you learn something about our industry and the great people associated with it. Today we talk with G. Aaron Klotz, AstroTurf’s Director of Baseball Operations.
You’re involved with the game of baseball on many different levels. Tell us a little about your experience with the game as a player and a coach.
“I played baseball at Adrian College in Adrian, MI and had a great experience there. I was named league MVP in 1997 and a Rawlings First Team All-Region member that same year. I was also an All-American in football at Adrian during my time there as well. I have helped coach at Adrian College for the last 19 years, the last 10 as a part-time assistant. I am also an Associate Scout for the Texas Rangers. I have also somehow found the time to start a travel organization called the Adrian Dirtbags. We have over 140 kids involved in the program that consists of softball and baseball teams. Baseball is definitely something I am around 24/7, whether with work, coaching or watching my children playing.”
Tell us about Skipper’s Dugout. What is it and how did it come about?
“Skipper’s Dugout is a website/twitter handle that I started six years ago to help coaches find jobs, games or post open dates. We started with 10 followers and now have over 13,400 followers. We’ve become quite the site for coaches around the USA. It has been really neat. It’s well received around the coaching world and something that I am very proud of. We’ve helped so many coaches land jobs or find info on jobs. It’s something that was definitely needed in the game.”
You recently spoke at the ABCA National Convention in Indianapolis. What were some of the most important things that you tried to convey there?
“First, it was an honor to be asked by the ABCA to do that. Such an unreal experience. To be chosen to speak at a convention that is attended by 5,000 coaches – just wow! Secondly, I just tried to pass on the lessons and coaching skills that I have learned from so many that taught me and continue to teach me in this great game of baseball. It was great! I was able to have my son on the stage with me as my demonstrator, so definitely something we will both remember for a very long time.”
What sets AstroTurf’s baseball products apart from your competitors’ offerings?
“We offer a system that was built to replicate natural grass and clay – from aesthetics to performance. No other system out there does that. Baseball coaches are very tough to convince to walk away from natural grass and clay, but once on our Diamond Series turf, it’s a very easy transition. Some try to duplicate and copy our methods, but we started it, researched it in our lab, but most importantly we get the feedback of our coaches, clients and end users to constantly make it the preferred service of the baseball community.”
Tell us about a couple of your favorite AstroTurf installations that you have been involved with and what made them special.
“One of the most recent ones was University of Kentucky baseball. The field is gorgeous, but the surroundings and atmosphere they built in this new stadium is very special. Another install not baseball related was Adrian College, my alma mater. We replaced their field this summer and it really was a cool project to work on, especially because the college itself holds a special place in my heart. I met my wife there and we continue to support the Bulldogs as a family!”
If you weren’t an AstroTurf salesperson, what do you think you would be doing?
“I would definitely be coaching college baseball full time. There is nothing like the college baseball game, relationships with players and molding of young men. It’s awesome to be together with a group of people working for one common goal.”