Corrections or additions?
These articles were prepared for the January 25, 2006
issue of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
On the Move
Yes, you can make a living in baseball even though you don’t get picked for the major leagues. Jim Cuthbert is doing just that in Hamilton. He started out coaching, moved into distributing uniforms, and now he is the proud owner of a baseball academy, Diamond Player Development.
Cuthbert leased 16,000 square feet on Route 33 and converted a sports play business to a serious baseball and softball academy. He can divide the looming space up into tunnels for batting and pitching practice or open it up to be used as a playing field. He has a full teaching and coaching staff, and he is both selling private lessons and signing up time slots for high school coaches. Speed training and strength training machines are also available.
Meanwhile Cuthbert is the northeast scouting supervisor for the Texas Rangers in eight northeastern states. Says Cuthbert in an understatement: "I have to prioritize my schedule."
A Small Business Administration loan arranged by Amy Travetti at Commerce Bank financed the start-up. Paul Goldman of Commercial Property Network arranged the sublease of his property from Staples, which is next door. Goldman also referred him to an attorney (Guy Lanciano of Lanciano and Associates at 600 Alexander Road), a general contractor (Dave Henn from THG Builders), and an IT company (Cherry Hill-based Wolfpack, which provided some serious hardware and software for videotaping players). His accountant is Howard Mimnaugh of the Virtus Group in Research Park. Cuthbert hopes to break even by the end of next year.
There is a dire need for baseball centers says Cuthbert. "High schoolers need places to go for instruction and professional direction. As a scout who offers private instruction in the winter, as many baseball people do, I had to drive an hour to find a nice facility where kids can come for instruction."
Cuthbert’s business is different from the national franchise, Grand Slam, which has a location in South Brunswick (732-274-1919). Like Grand Slam, Cuthbert’s operation also has a retail business, token-operated batting cages that are open to the public. "But they are more of a family fun center, with basketball courts and video games," says Cuthbert. In addition he has a snack bar and concession stand, a sporting goods business and pro shop, instruction, development leagues, travel camps, and a college recruiting service. For from $400 to $500 former college coaches help high school students prepare and market themselves.
A similar training center, this one a franchise operation, Extra Innings, has just opened up in Hillsborough (2 Ilene Court, 908-874-0012) but Cuthbert’s market is all of Mercer County plus the townships that touch it, including Bucks County. Lessons cost from $50 to $75, and many families sign up for 10 lessons at $60 each or $150 for eight small group sessions.
Cuthbert compares his business to Princeton Review, which tutors for the SAT tests: "We prepare students at all ages for that spring season, that live competitive season."
He denies that he would have a conflict of interest between his job as a scout and owning this facility. "The types of kids being scouted are one in a million," he says. For instance, only one of the players he scouted in Mercer County last year is now playing pro ball. Steve Garrison signed with the Milwaukee Brewers and is returning for the winter to join the Diamond instruction staff.
Cuthbert was an avid baseball player in Brooklyn, where his father was a facilities manager and the whole family, including his grandmother, were Mets fans. "I grew up with Darryl Strawberry and Dwight Gooden," says Cuthbert, "and I remember 1986 when the Gary Carter team won the World Series. Mookie Wilson was at our grand opening."
Cuthbert went to Brooklyn’s Xaverian High School, "which year in and year out is one of the top 25 baseball schools in the country," says Cuthbert. He didn’t start catching until he was a senior in high school and by the time he graduated from college his knees were shot from playing that position.
He had chosen St. John’s for its sports management program, which covered sports law, sports marketing, how to run a facility, and more. "I’m thrilled to have seen the other areas but I found out early on what was for me and what was not for me," says Cuthbert. "We were told it was incredibly difficult to get a job in sports management, that you should work your way up from an internship in the ticket office. I had no interest in selling tickets or ads. I wanted to enter the front office and deal in operations."
When he graduated in 1997 he started out as an associate scout for the Colorado Rockies. He also had various part-time coaching positions, gave private lessons, ran baseball trips overseas, and developed his own sporting goods business, Manhattan-based Team Wearhouse, to distribute team uniforms. He and his wife, a third grade teacher in West Windsor-Plainsboro schools, live in West Windsor.
Cuthbert’s first experience in writing a business plan was for Team Wearhouse. He had shopped it to venture capitalists, investment bankers, and angel investors, and ended up with some angel money. His Team Wearhouse partners bought him out and that money went to pay his expenses during the transition. The money for Diamond came from his SBA loan. "For my equipment, I have a number of financing programs, which are a direct result of having flawless personal credit," says Cuthbert.
Brooklyn was a great baseball town, says Cuthbert. "We just grew up playing different versions of baseball – stick ball, wiffle ball, in the street and in the schoolyard, every day and every night, all summer, and after school. All we did was play ball. Instead of getting tired of it I just got more and more into it."
Now, for children and teens who don’t have the advantages of living on a stickball/baseball street in Brooklyn, Cuthbert offers encouragement in a more formal environment.
But he has to be cautious, treading softly between encouragement and realism. "You have to be careful not to create false hope for the players and their parents," says Cuthbert, "to walk a fine line between helping the player attain realistic goals versus wasting their time and wasting their parents money."
"We never, ever, build up false hope," says Cuthbert. "We have parents who underestimate and we have parents who overestimate their child’s ability. We have to put our integrity and our professional reputations first. If our evaluations are credible, then the business will follow."
"It’s the only sport where the average size, average build, average athlete still has a shot if they have the heart and the dedication and an unmatched work ethic," says Cuthbert, who considers himself average at 5-feet-9 and 225 pounds. "In major league baseball, you see an average size guy playing with the best athletes in the world, versus with basketball or football."
Golfers, he agrees, can be older players with various body shapes. "But with golf you need to have a different type of economic background. You don’t have to be rich to grow up playing baseball. If you work at your skills enough, and you love it enough, you’ll have a shot to play in college someday."
Diamond Player Development, 670 Route 33, Hamilton 08619; 609-587-2373; fax, 609-588-9373. Jim Cuthbert, owner. Home page: www.dpdacademy.com
King Pharmaceuticals (KG), 7 Roszel Road, Fifth Floor, Princeton Commons, Princeton 08540; 609-580-8000; fax, 423-274-2520. Steve Andrzejewski, chief commercial officer. Home page: www.kingpharm.com
King Pharmaceuticals will move this spring from 7 Roszel Road (Princeton Commons) to 400 Crossing Road in Bridgewater. "Our commercial operations team has outgrown its current facility; there is not enough space for us in Princeton right now," says spokesperson David Robinson.
About 100 employees currently work on Roszel Road in a 26,000 square-foot space that is being subleased by Jeffrey Heller and Chris McCaffrey of Trammell Crow.
Based in Bristol, Tennessee, King is a vertically integrated pharmaceutical company that develops, manufactures, markets, and sells branded prescription pharmaceutical products. It focuses on cardiovascular, neuroscience, and hospital or acute-care products. Its leading product is Altace (a branded ace inhibitor) and other products are Thrombin-JMI, Sonata, Skalaxin, and Levoxyl.
Synovate Healthcare, 3150 Brunswick Pike, Suite 320, Crossroads Corporate Center, Lawrenceville 08648; 609-688-0474; fax, 609-688-0435. Linda Levy, senior vice president. Home page: www.synnovate.com
In December Synovate Healthcare expanded with a move to 3,700 square feet at Crossroads Corporate Center. With more than 200 employees worldwide, 20 in this office, it does market research in all field. Two years ago Synovate merged with Isis Research, which focused on pharmaceutical market research.
Verto Institute, 303-B College Road East, Princeton 08540; 609-419-9000. Evan Vosburgh, vice president.
After two years the Verto Institute closed its office on College Road east. A Verto office still exists in Stamford, Connecticut. The organization sponsored research on neuro-endocrine cancer, which affects about 5,000 people in the United States annually.
James Frederick Heinz, 68, on January 15. He owned and operated Prints of Windsor on Route 130.
Michael R. Kupetsky, 65 on January 14. He owned Hamilton Florist.
Pasquale J. DeLorenzo, 79, on January 15. He co-owned and operated DeLorenzo’s Tomato Pies on Hamilton Avenue.
Corrections or additions?
This page is published by PrincetonInfo.com
— the web site for U.S. 1 Newspaper in Princeton, New Jersey.