As Opening Day approached, the Sun’s Anna Pier talked past and present with the young General Manager and former Stompers player Eduardo (Eddie) Mora-Loera.
How does the season look for the Stompers? It’s really exciting to be playing again! We’ve joined the California Collegiate League, which has a 50% draft rate to the Majors. We have players from great schools, even Division 1 – Texas A & M, Berkeley, UC Davis,U. of Utah, and SRJC and Sac City. We have a roster of 30, and all these players come to us in mid-season form. A Stompers game is the perfect place for everyone who’s been isolated to come out and enjoy baseball.
When did you know you wanted a career in baseball? All I could think about from the age of nine was playing for the Oakland Athletics with Mark Kotsay, their then center fielder. I grew up in East Oakland, just down the street from the Coliseum. A’s players would take part in huge Little League parades. It’s sad to lose the A’s. Baseball players are role models. Some day I want to help revive the Oakland LL.
Role models from your past? Several. I hope to emulate my abuelo, an immigrant from Colima, Mexico. He taught himself English reading the newspaper, and moved from dishwasher up to chef. I was blessed that Coach Kyriacou, who was from West Oakland – even tougher than East Oakland – helped me navigate my years at private school (Bishop O’Dowd High School). He challenged me a lot, wouldn’t let me get away with not doing my best. I learned from him that coaching baseball is coaching the game of life.
Any GMs you admire? There is one MLB GM that stood out to me named Theo Epstein. What he did in his tenure with the Red Soxs and the Cubs was pretty remarkable. From a role model standpoint I like to look at local founders, presidents, and GM’s here in Sonoma County. Former Sonoma Raceway President/GM, Steve Page was beyond generous at making himself available to me. I’m inspired by how he transitioned Sears Point into a nationally known raceway, and by how he always connected with the community. I see the Stompers providing a great destination for people in Sonoma County and across the country. And we have great community partners, and an intern program with eight local students learning all aspects of running a pro sports organization.
Tell me about your move from the field to the front office. My transition into the front office was a mixture of timing, luck, my passion for baseball, and the Sonoma community. In 2018 I became Assistant General Manager. As a player, I always had a sense of working with the community. I’m bringing that to the front office. My upbringing tells me there’s that one kid you can influence to stay out of trouble.
And you became GM when? I started in 2020. In 2019 we had our best performance year, winning our division of the Pacific League. We were ready to field a team, we had all the partners, sponsors. Then Covid hit. We thought it was just a few weeks, but by May we had to make the call to cancel the season. There was lots to take care of, the players, the season ticket holders, etc.
During Covid? We were still functioning as an organization. We tried to support the community. With KSVY we made instructional videos with local Little League players. We handed out food in the Springs. We took Rawhide – our mascot – around to local restaurants for social media photos to encourage people to support them.
What’s been your journey to the Stompers? I’m every bit of a journeyman. My freshman year in 2010 I was at Allegheny College in PA. Lots of firsts – the East, the snow, first time away from home. I’m the first in my family to go to college, and my mother has always been an advocate for me to finish. She worried when I transferred to Sierra JC. That was a tough team to make – even the Phillies sent a scout to the tryouts. We were 3rd in the state. I batted .298. I was recruited with a full scholarship to Jacksonville State University, in Alabama, where I graduated with a degree in Applied Manufacturing Engineering. Three guys from my team were drafted, but not me. But I turned down a job with General Dynamics for a career in pro baseball. That summer I spent four months traveling – Alabama to Missouri to Michigan and Washington, making teams that all folded. After the WA gig folded, I had spent all my savings, so I came home, but I wanted to keep playing. The Stompers called me, and after a 2 and 1/2 hour workout in 90º they told me, “suit up tonight.” We went to the Championship Series. It was a great start to my Stompers career.
Your future? I just learned that I have been accepted to the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley. It’s an evening program for working professionals. Pursuing my MBA gives me the opportunity to continue to grow the Stompers. Long term my goal is to make sure the Stompers are a consistent staple here in Sonoma and the rest we will see in time.