The year 2010 was a banner year for Brian Sloan and the Everett AquaSox. The Sox won their first Northwest League championship since becoming the AquaSox in 1995, giving Everett its first title since the team won the championship as the Giants in 1985.
And for Sloan, Everett’s general manager, the year was polished off with a cherry on top.
Sloan was honored by the league this week as he was named the Northwest League’s Executive of the Year for his efforts on behalf of the team and the league.
“I was totally surprised and shocked by it, Sloan said via cell phone from Orlando, Fla., where he’s attending baseball’s winter meetings and where he was presented with the award Monday. “I’m extremely proud to represent the Northwest League in that capacity, and that I was able to contribute and improve things with the league.”
Sloan won the award based on a vote by the league’s owners and general managers. He is the first Everett executive to win the award since former owner Mark Sperandio was honored in 2001.
Sloan has been a member of Everett’s front office since 1996, and he’s served as the general manager of the Seattle Mariners short-season single-A affiliate the past six years. This was the first time he’s been recognized by the league, as well as his first award in 20 years working in minor-league baseball.
“It’s funny that it’s my 20th year in minor-league baseball and it’s the first time I’ve been a part of a championship season, and the first time I’ve won a league award,” Sloan said. “The 20th year was definitely good for me.”
Sloan was honored this year not just because of Everett’s success on the field. Sloan spearheaded the efforts to restructure the league’s playoff format. Prior to this season the playoffs consisted of a five-game league championship series between the winners of the East and West Divisions. This season the 76-game schedule was split into halves, with the first-half and second-half winners in each division squaring off in a best-of-three divisional series. The winners of the divisional series moved on to a best-of-three championship series.
The format change was received well by the league as four teams advanced to the playoffs instead of two.
“The league recognized the research and work I did in implementing that system,” Sloan said. “And it’s worked out. Everyone has embraced the new system. I think that’s why I was rewarded.”
Sloan accepted the award during a ceremony in Orlando, in which the Executive of the Year winners were honored from all 16 minor leagues.