Jeff Dobish has always dreamed of being a general manager of a baseball or hockey team. The former hockey play-by-play man did one better by purchasing the Canyon County Spuds in Idaho, becoming the owner of his very own baseball team.
The Spuds were recently added as the 10th team in the Expedition League. The Expedition League is an elite summer collegiate wood-bat league that has teams in North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming, Manitoba, Canada, Montana and now Idaho. The teams play a 64-game schedule over the summer.
Jeff initially became familiar with the Expedition League when his adopted son, Daylon Dobish, played in the league with the Hastings Sodbusters for two years when he was attending Midland University in Nebraska. The Dobish clan can certainly be considered a baseball family. Jeff and Daylon have always bonded over baseball.
Jeff is the PA announcer for the Bloomingdale High School baseball team, where Daylon played baseball. He recently retired and sold his insurance business in Apollo Beach and wanted a fresh start at trying something new.
“I was petrified because it’s a dream, and when dreams come true there’s that moment when you think to yourself, ‘Can I do this, is this really what I want to do?’,” said Jeff. “I think my wife and I are both driven by fear, the fear of failure, but that’s what’s exciting, that’s what gets you up out of bed every day.”
Jeff recently bought a house in Idaho so that he and his family can live there during the three-month season and help out with organizational duties. His wife, Shaunessy, owns two successful businesses in Hillsborough County, Tin Roof Trading Co. and The White Oak Cottage. She, along with her daughter and Daylon, will have jobs with the Spuds. Daylon will be the vice president of operations and Shaunessy will be doing charity work for the team.
Daylon is currently recruiting players to play for the Spuds, most of whom are from California. They have college players that range from D1 to the junior college and NAIA levels.
“I’m most excited about our entire family being involved,” said Daylon. “I look forward to the everyday grind, being around people that share the love of the game with me.”
The Dobish family wants to emulate the Tampa Bay Lightning and Owner Jeffery Vinik by being a big part of their new community. They plan on donating money to local children’s charities every home game. They have signed Pepsi, Budweiser and a local craft brewery called The 10 Barrel Brewing Co. as sponsors.
“The thing that really gets me the most excited is to be able to really blend with the city, making it a community team,” said Jeff. “That’s why we named them the Spuds; when you think of Idaho, you think french fries, you think of potatoes. For the most part, I think Shaunessy and I just wanted to get into Smalltown, USA and really make a community, feel-good team.”