It’s ‘All in the Family’ for the San Luis Obispo Blues

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Updated: April 3, 2022

By CCL Reporter, Kathryne Padilla

Baseball in San Luis Obispo has brought the community together for decades, even dating back to the 1940s when the SLO Blues were created. When baseball was in jeopardy in the central coast of California, it was a no-brainer for Adam Stowe and his parents, Marianne and Keith, to step up and save the day.

Their swift action to take over the Blues was an act to help their community, and one that slowly developed into their entire family having a hand in keeping the organization alive and well.

Back in 2010, previous owner Jim Galusha was looking to sell the Blues. In hopes of saving baseball in San Luis Obispo, Adam was able to bring on three different investors to meet with Galusha. In the end, the investors backed out due to the terms set by Galusha, leaving only two options.

“We were kind of stuck and it was either; the Stowe’s buy the Blues, or the Blues fold,” Adam said.

The decision to take on the ownership of the Blues was not made by Adam alone. His parents, Marianne and Keith, were the key players to preserving the Blues’ future.

“Their decision saved baseball in San Luis Obispo, and there are many people that are very grateful for that,” Adam said.

Dating back to 1946, San Luis Obispo saw the creation of a baseball league following the end of World War II. Baseball filled the downtime soldiers were then experiencing after the war ended. There were enough men who wanted to play ball to create a team in SLO.

This was the start of the Blues, who were formally named the ‘Merchants,’ a name which was then later changed.

“A local sportswriter for the Tribune decided that [Merchants] was a terrible name for a baseball team. Unless anybody objected, he was going to call us the Blues due to our blue lettering and socks,” Adam said. “Hence, the San Luis Obispo Blues.”

From 1946 to the 70s, the Blues were a semi-professional team, and roughly around 1980 turned into a summer collegiate baseball team. The Blues celebrated its 75th-anniversary last year.

There was no intention of the Blues becoming a family-run organization. The Stowe’s looked at taking ownership and building a foundation to bring on other staff members. Adam shared that both his parents had the same mindset when they made the decision.

A small realization came to Marianne Stowe that would reel in her husband, Keith.

“Marianne pointed out, it would be fun, and we’ve only got so many years left in life,” Keith said. “I thought ‘she’s right.’ Money’s not the main concern. It’ll be fun. So, we did.”

Adam and his parents, before ownership, would attend Blues’ games in the summer when Adam would visit them while on break from college. During a visit to North Carolina and a Durham Bulls’ game, both Marianne and Keith recall the key moment that cemented their understanding of their son’s enthusiasm for the game of baseball.

Seeing the Bulls and their entire operation would influence how Adam, as general manager, would mold the Blues.

“We would go to their games and watch the in-between inning events, that kind of thing. We saw a lot of that with the Durham Bulls, and then Adam kind of built on that,” Marianne said.

Marianne and Keith always knew their son was always athletic and interested with the sport of baseball, so it was not surprising to them when he left his athletic department position at a college in Louisiana to become the general manager of the Blues.

Though there are times that Keith teases Adam Stowe on the decision he made, he understands why he did it.

While all of the prior owners of the Blues loved the game of baseball, the Stowe’s realized there needed to be more than the love for the sport to make the organization successful.

“They loved baseball, but they were not necessarily great businesspeople,” Marianne said. “You need to have somebody who’s watching the books.”

Marianne is the current Host family coordinator and her involvement with the Blues came to be seven years ago when Adam asked her to step in on a temporary basis. Keith has been a huge help behind the scenes with fundraising for the non-profit, as well as serving as the team’s unofficial utility man providing help wherever it’s needed. His biggest role has been in coordinating the Blues’ direct mail campaign to recruit sponsors.

“He sent out almost 1,500 targeted packets to local businesses this year; which has directly led to more than $25,000 in new sponsors this season. We’ve actually sold out of much of our available sponsorship inventory,” said Adam.

Even the Blues’ youngest intern is Adam’s 12-year-old daughter, Quinzi, who has attended more than 200 games. She values learning from all the college interns and hopes to learn more about the technology side of game-day operations in the future like working the scoreboard and keeping stats.

“I was born into the family. So, I’m involved with the Blues. I really enjoy it, and I’m glad that is in my life!” Quinzi said.

Thanks to the Stowe’s, the Blues remain an important part of the community and the culture of San Luis Obispo—and it looks like that will be the case for years to come.