Baseball Factory Staff Q & A: Steve Sclafani, Founder/CEO
Q: Why did you start the Baseball Factory?
A: Out of passion and overall love for the game. I wanted to help kids accomplish their dream of playing college baseball.
Q: How does the company compare today versus when you started it in 1994?
A: Throughout the years our mission has remained the same. Getting the most out of each player athletically and academically and finding the right college based on those two principles. The biggest difference between when we started and today would have to be our staff and the leadership that we now have. We have a great group of scouts, instructors and other staff members that contribute to the operations of our company and the programs that we run.
Q: Where did you go to college?
A: I started at Villanova, but transfered my sophomore year to the University of Pennsylvania.
Q: What position did you play?
A: Middle infield, mostly at second.
Q: What made you decide to go to Villanova?
A: I had contacted Villanova because it seemed like a place I would want to go, I was persistent in mailing and calling the coaches and finally got them to come down to Maryland and see me in action. I played well and must have impressed them because they offered me a position on the spot. At that point I didn’t have a lot of offers coming in and accepted their offer that day.
Q: What prompted your transfer to the University of Pennsylvania?
A: Academics. I had a good freshman year at Villanova, but I wanted to go to the Annenberg School of Communication. I thought I would put in my transfer papers and if I was accepted I would transfer but if I didn’t get accepted I still had the great opportunity of playing at Villanova. I was accepted and I transferred with the intentions of focusing on academics. I then got the opportunity to continue my playing career at Penn; things fell into place nicely for me.
Q: Did you have any assistance in your college recruiting process?
A: Mike Toomey who is currently a scout with the Kansas City Royal’s, was a big time scout in the Maryland area. He actually was one of the people who helped get Baseball Factory started in 1994. He assisted me in my college recruiting search by making phone calls and giving recommendations to prospective schools. He was really the only assistance I had. It was very difficult for me to do it alone.
Q: What did you learn in your personal college recruiting process that you use on a daily basis at Baseball Factory?
A: The most important thing that I took from my search is that you have to be aggressive and persistent. That is how I got seen by the Villanova coaches, persistent phone calls. You also need to have a credible source when getting started. I had Mike Toomey and this is true for college recruiting, scouting or business.
Q: What do you think is the hardest thing for a high school player today?
A: Well its opportunity. It’s a catch 22, on one hand there are more showcases, camps, clinics and other ways to be seen or improve your game. However, cutting through all of the clutter of camps, showcases and clinics can be a job in itself. There are so many different opportunities for players these days that they have their choice of events they want to attend, but they need to know of those events which are the ones that are going to actually help them. There are also more distractions for the players these days. When I was in high school we weren’t distracted by the Internet, facebook.com and myspace.com. I think that time management is also a crucial obstacle that high school players need to overcome. With me it was family, religion, school and baseball. Now kids have to deal with the media avenues that are out there that can steal time away from working out and practicing.
Q: What do you think is the most common pitfall that high school players fall into?
A: Believing that a college coach or scout will knock down your door knowing who you are and trying to sign you. It just doesn’t happen, you have to have a plan of attack, be aggressive and proactive in the recruiting process. There are too many kids that sit back hoping their dreams will come true, but not enough kids are going after their dreams themselves.
Q: Who was your favorite baseball player growing up?
A: Pete Rose. Let me clarify that I only respected his on-field abilities. He played the game the right way, working hard and utilizing every bit of his talent. I don’t know many players that played as hard as Rose.
Q: Who was your baseball role model?
A: Scott Fletcher, the middle infielder for the Texas Rangers in the late 1980s. He was a small (5’11” 173 lb) player that had great leather and could spray the ball around the field. I also looked up to Joey Cora of the White Sox in the early 1990s.
Q: What is your favorite Major League team?
A: Baltimore Orioles. I went to my first game at age six and I was hooked. My favorite Orioles player growing up was Al Bumbry, an outfielder who played with a ton of heart and confidence. He had so much enthusiasm and did all the little things right even if they don’t show up in the scorebook.
Q: What do you see as the vision of Baseball Factory moving forward as the company continues to grow?
A: My vision is the vision that we have had from the birth of this company. Be the best company out there in developing players. Be the best at training and then placing players. For the future I hope to start integrating the sports media into everything that we do. So players that come through our programs are not just shared with scouts and college coaches, but with the entire world.