For the first time in more than a decade, the Amsterdam Mohawks will have a different head coach in charge of on-field baseball operations.
Mohawks president and general manager Brian Spagnola said Friday that Florida resident Keith Griffin will not be running the show due to the mandatory 14-day quarantine imposed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo for those traveling from several states — including Florida — to New York.
“I wish I could come,” Griffin said Friday in a phone interview. “We had a plane ticket to come, we had everything set up to come, but circumstances wouldn’t allow it. If you do come and decide not to sit out the quarantine — which is the wrong thing to do, it’s a 14-day quarantine — and if I’m coaching Monday night, somebody’s going to say, ‘Hey, by the way, that guy’s from Florida.’ We’re doing the right thing. This is the right thing to do. I’m going to miss it.”
Griffin was to begin his 12th season with the Mohawks, who will begin their 30-game Independent Collegiate Baseball League campaign Monday with a doubleheader at Shuttleworth Park against the Albany Dutch. The ICBL runs through Aug. 13.
“He’s not going to come up and sit for two weeks,” Spagnola said.
The Mohawks, in previous years, were a member of the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League, which canceled its 2020 season earlier this year due to coronavirus concerns.
“I was looking forward to it,” Griffin said of coaching this season. “I was going to make the best of a bad situation by coming up there and getting to coach some local guys and let them get a feel of what we did coaching-wise, trying to help people get better. I take great pride in that, and I know our assistant coaches do, too.”
Shenendehowa High School coach and Gloversville High School graduate Greg Christodulu, who has been an assistant with the Mohawks since 2017, will assume the head coaching duties. Christodulu, who worked primarily with the Mohawks hitters last season, will be assisted by Skidmore College pitching coach Mike McFerran and Amsterdam High School graduate Robbie Spagnola, who is currently a student manager at the University of Kentucky.
“We have a solid staff,” Brian Spagnola said. “They’re very capable of leading the team.”
“They’re in very capable hands with who we’ve got working with them,” Griffin said. “Those guys [the players] will be in good shape, if they’ll listen. Between Greg, Mike and Robbie, they’ll do a good job helping those guys. I just wish I could be there with the local guys, because it’s good that they get to see a little bit of what we do in Amsterdam, coaching-wise, but I’m sure our staff will do a good job with those guys.”
Griffin said he plans to return to the Mohawks’ bench next season.