Multi-titled baseball manager Tony Rogolifoi is looking to have a limited role with the soon-to-be-formed CNMI national team that will be competing in the 9th Micronesian Games in Yap this year.
Rogolifoi told Saipan Tribune that he would be stepping aside and would let others handle the national squad in its bid to reclaim the gold that the CNMI last won when Saipan hosted the quadrennial Games in 2006.
“I’ll be joining the selection process. But, I will only be involved in the deliberation to avoid any confusion and setup criteria that would help them choose the players for the national team. As much as possible, I no longer wanted to handle or coach the team. I want to give others the chance to coach,” Rogolifoi said.
He added that he has at least five coaches in mind, but opted to keep their names under wraps until the team is formed.
“There are a number of coaches that could manage the team. I just love the game, but I have a lot on my plate right now.”
Rogolifoi is the Saipan Baseball League coordinator and a Baseball Confederation of Oceania-certified coaches and umpires instructor, aside from being the Northern Marianas Sports Association executive director.
He would also, from time to time, check on the progress on the repair work of the facilities at the Oleai Sports Complex.
Even without him calling the shots for the CNMI, Rogolifoi believes that the Commonwealth will have a strong team for the Micro Games, as the young guns that saw action in the last SBL Under 25 league and playing in the ongoing 2018 season, maybe considered on the squad.
“We have a lot of players to choose from. A lot of young and talented players but, of course, the veterans are still there. We’re going to have a hard time choosing the players for the team,” he said.
Rogolifoi said that they would still base their selection on statistics in the 2018 SBL season, but will also include attitude, sportsmanship, and character on and off the field in the process.
“There are other factors that we are looking at aside from individual performance. “We’re looking at players who are coachable, who know how to follow instructions on specific plays. And, of course, once they are chosen, attendance is a priority at every practice.”
Rogolifoi helped form the CNMI teams that won gold medals in the 2006 Micro Games, 2011 Pacific Mini Games, and the inaugural Micronesian Baseball Classic in 2016. He also won numerous titles in local leagues.