Spikes’ Dambach leaving the minors
Jason Dambach started his professional baseball career as a Curve broadcaster in 1999 and has gone on to enjoy one of the most successful careers of any former Curve front office member.
Dambach is now getting out of the minor league baseball business, stepping away from his roles as president of the rookie-level State College Spikes and executive vice president of the Double-A Frisco RoughRiders in Texas.
Dambach, 42, lives in State College and said he plans to open a business of some kind. His wife, Erica, is the highly successful coach of Penn State’s women’s soccer team, and the couple has two young daughters.
“The thing I’ll miss the most is the interaction with fans and people that are around the franchises day in and day out and the opportunity to put on a show each and every night,” Dambach said of leaving minor league baseball.
“It’s a lot of hours, it’s a grind, it’s not for everybody,” he said of the minor league lifestyle. “But in my life, I’ve fed off that chaos.”
Dambach worked for the Curve from 1999 to 2008, then moved on to become general manager of the Spikes. Former Curve owner Chuck Greenberg owns the State College and Frisco franchises, and Dambach worked for Greenberg for 16 years.
“Regardless of the role he held or the team he worked with, Jason was integral in taking our franchises to new heights, and that was especially true in Frisco,” Greenberg said in a team statement. “I am immensely grateful for his contributions and wish him nothing but the best in his future endeavors.”
Dambach moved to Texas in 2015 to become GM and executive vice president of the Frisco club. But he and Erica had begun dating, and with the couple expecting a child, he moved back to State College in May of 2016.
He was able to continue working with the Frisco team from afar the past two years, but ultimately he decided he wanted to go in another direction professionally.
“It was probably 50 percent just the nature of my role the last few years, in Frisco especially,” Dambach said. “I was living in PA, but after being heavily involved in the team in Texas, I was a little bit disconnected from the day to day that I enjoy so much.
“I got into the business to be part of the day to day and the grind. … I felt a little disconnected that way, but made the best of the situation.”
The other 50 percent of his decision, Dambach said, is “the desire to get out on my own and run my own business, whether it be in the business of sports or a local business, a mom and pop shop.”
Dambach started with the Curve in 1999 as a broadcasting assistant, working with then-play-by-play man Rob Egan.
“The fact that he was willing to do whatever it took to get into the business impressed me,” Egan, now the GM at Triple-A Charlotte, said. “We were a new team and he was in school (at Clarion), and he interviewed me for his sports radio show on the student-run station.”
Dambach just wanted to get his foot in the door in any capacity with the Curve, and Egan helped make it happen.
There wasn’t much in the budget to pay Dambach, but he was willing to drive down every day from his home in Punxsutawney to fill any role.
“That just showed me a level of commitment and desire to be in the business,” Egan said.
“To see all he’s accomplished in the business is not surprising. I’m really super proud of him.”
Dambach said his time with the Curve remain some of the best memories of his career.
“I’ve had some great experiences, but the opportunity to be involved in Altoona, which is a unique situation, stands out,” Dambach said. “The community loves that franchise, and the way we were able to give back to the community, it was something really special to be a part of.”