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We wrap up our look at the Padres’ affiliates with the team that most San Diego area fans are most familiar with, the Lake Elsinore Storm who are just up the I-15.  This season Lake Elsinore and Fort Wayne will switch levels, with the Storm becoming the Low-A affiliate and the TinCaps the High-A.

On the field local fans will get to see the next wave of Padres’ prospects with top 2020 draft picks pitchers Justin Lange and Jagger Haynes expected to make their debut on the Diamond sometime this year.

In the interim, the new Storm co-General Managers Shaun Brock and Christine Kavic have their hands full in attempting to plan a season in the unknown future of the Pandemic.

There will be some sort of baseball in western Riverside County, just how many will be around to see it is uncertain at this time.

First, you kind of have a unique setup with you and Christine serving as co-GMs.  How is that going to work?

Christine Kavic: Shaun and I were both appointed as co-General Managers, right before the shut down.  We’ve worked together before, so we have pretty good reflexes about moving forward cohesively. 

The Diamond, at Lake Elsinore. Home of the Storm. Photo Credit: City of Lake Elsinore.

My job is more on the finance side, making sure that we afford all of Shan’s great ideas!

Shaun Brock: [laughs]  I handle more of the operations and promotions side.

How did you guys survive the Pandemic?

Shaun Brock:  For us early on it was more about reacting to what the communities needs were, as opposed to baseball.  

One of the many things that we are proud of is the work we did in just getting basic groceries to people.  We partnered with our food purveyor – the local restaurants had shut down, so they had a glut of food.  We turned the Diamond Tap Room, which of course had aslo been shut down – inot a place to distribute food at costs.  It was a real win-win situation for everyone.

Then we expanded on that concept and began charging $5 a meal and with every fifth meal we gave one away.  We were up to 115 meals a day on average at one point with the front office taking care of it.

Our ownership was able to keep everyone on until the end of June.  We started to doing a Drive-In Movie night and our parking lot is one of the testing sites.  We also fed about 5,000 mouths at Thanksgiving.

Tell us a little bit about the changes for the Storm on the upcoming year?

Shaun Brock:  Right now we aren’t cleared to have any level of capacity, so that is still to be determined.  Another thing is each county could be different.  So we might have baseball, and San Bernadino would not. Hopefully, we will be at the Orange Tier which allows twenty percent capacity.

The Storm Diamond Club is now a full-service restaurant. Photo Credit: Lake Elsinore Storm.

We did change our restaurant and we are now full-service, whether or not there is a baseball game. So you will be able to sit in there and have a great view of the game and our new video boards. One of the many sad things about the Pandemic is we had some new things at the Diamond that have been updated; such as the scoreboard, LED lights and better video production that we really wanted to show our fans.

We will guaranted one thing when we can have fans, and its safe, we will put out a quality product.

What did both of you miss most about not having baseball last year?

Christine Kavic: I would have never thought of baseball as being a simple, well-oiled machine, but there is something to knowing what you are going to be doing everyday as compared to the uncertainity that we have had the past year.  Just seeing the smile we put on everyone’s faces is the biggest thing that I miss.  

We have done what we can, but it doesn’t replace the shaking hands and hugs that we are used too.

Shaun Brock: I missed all of that too, but I also missed the chaos of when you have a big night with 5,000 fans and trying to get everything right.  That excitement in the air, is hard to match, but it will come back.

Posted by John Conniff

John grew up in Poway and has written for MadFriars since 2004. He has written articles for Baseball America, FoxSports San Diego, the El Paso Times, San Antonio Express-News, Amarillo Globe-News, Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette and Pacific Daily News in addition to appearing on numerous radio programs and podcasts. He can also break down the best places to eat for all five of the affiliates. There is no best place to eat in Peoria, Arizona.

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