OC Riptide Working to Become the ‘Gold Standard’ of Collegiate Summer Baseball

Updated: May 27, 2022

By CCL Reporter, Sean Brennan

As the Orange County Riptide gear up for the 2022 CCL campaign, General Manager Moe Geoghegan is striving to create an identity for his team. He wants the Riptide to eventually become known as the best summer baseball team on the West Coast.

“Our goal is to be the gold standard, we want to be the top team in the CCL year in and year out. We’re not there yet, but we’re working on it every year to try and make that happen,” said Geoghegan.

One of the most important parts of the Riptide creating its brand will be coaching. During this past offseason, Tim Brown became the organization’s sixth head coach in seven years. However, Geoghegan believes that Brown’s coaching experience and care for his players make him the perfect candidate for a long-term coach.

“I think coach Brown understands players’ needs. I think he’s good at being that father figure, kind of the mature adult in the room,” explained Geoghegan. “He cares about his players…I think players like to play for a coach that actually cares about them.”

Geoghegan understands that keeping a coach with the team for multiple seasons is very important to recruiting.  He looks at teams that have been successful in the CCL over the years and says that most of them have had the same coach for at least three years. In addition to helping with recruiting, coaching stability also helps management know what to expect for upcoming seasons.

“It would be nice to know what to anticipate the next year as a general manager, what you’re going to get out of your coaching staff, to have the same guy for a couple years…I’m hoping to have that with Tim,” said Geoghegan.

While coaching will be a vital component of the Riptide establishing its identity, Geoghegan also acknowledged the importance of off-the-field advantages. For example, the Riptide’s location greatly helps with recruiting, as Orange County is a popular area for collegiate baseball players to train during the offseason.

“I think that Orange County is a destination that players like to spend their summer…I’m not going to lie, that helps a lot with recruiting…We get a lot of players that call us and email us because they want to be in Orange County,” Geoghegan said.

Another victory for the Riptide has been improved fan engagement. Last season, the organization began selling alcohol and making food trucks available to fans. This decision, along with the team leaving a positive impression on baseball fans in the area, helped attendance at home games increase by 50% in 2021 despite the Riptide missing the playoffs.

The Riptide will look to returning players, such as outfielder T.C. Simmons (Connecticut) and catcher Blake Penso (UC Irvine), to help the team establish its identity this season. Geoghegan says that all of the players rejoining the team are ‘good foundation guys’ and will be role models for the new faces on the squad.

“These were dudes that were the first guys at the ballpark,” recalled Geoghegan. “Guys that never complained, even in a bad season…that’s important that you have a core of guys like that, that’ll set the standard for the new guys.”

Heading into the 2022 season, the Riptide’s management is optimistic about almost every aspect of the team. Geoghegan hopes that stable coaching, continued off-the-field victories and talented rosters each year will help his organization eventually become the gold standard of Summer League Baseball. And while he is looking into the future, he believes that this season will be the beginning of a new era for the Riptide.

Photo courtesy of Alina Nelson