As general manager of the Winter Garden Squeeze, Adam Bates leads a busy life — but overseeing the third-year franchise in the Florida Collegiate Summer League is only part of the equation.
In addition to his position as general manager, Bates works for Momentum Marketing as a sales representative and is also a partner in American Sports Officials, a company that recruits and assigns sports officials, where he is a veteran umpire.
When the Squeeze are in season during the summer, Adam works nearly 70 hours a week.
On top of that, he is a father to three children — Jackson, 12; Wrigley, 9; and Harper, 4.
Both Jackson and Wrigley are ballplayers themselves at Winter Garden Little League. They’re pretty good, too, with both boys making their respective All-Star teams, one of which Adam helped coach.
Altogether, it can make for some hectic scheduling, and his wife, Shea Bates, certainly has made sacrifices along the way to be the family’s glue. Despite this supportive role, she is by no means less accomplished. When the Bates had their third child, Shea decided to quit her job in corporate training and finance to be there for the kids.
“After having (Harper) and going back to work, it just kind of tipped me over with home life and work life and balancing it all,” Shea said. “We kind of just made an off-the-cuff decision to see if it could work.”
A TEAM EFFORT
If Adam’s long weeks during the summer are becoming the stuff of legends within the baseball community in West Orange County, then Shea is quietly writing her own tale worthy of baseball-mom folklore.
Shea is home when the kids come home from school and helps get them to their activities that go beyond baseball: drama club, piano, flag football and dance. In addition to caring for the kids, she is a Realtor with Remax Prime Properties, on the GCI Guys team. She also helps with administration in Adam’s job in Momentum Marketing if things get too busy for him.
Having Shea stay home wasn’t an easy decision for the Bates, but they are glad they did it.
“It’s a financial sacrifice to have me home, but being home when they get home from school has been a really big blessing,” she said. “So many parents don’t have a choice. It’s not easy for us to do that. There’s a lot that we go without so we can do that.”
The couple, who met while attending Auburn University, married Nov. 3, 2001. In 2002, they returned to the Orlando area, ultimately making Winter Garden their home. The family tries to be at its children’s events as much as possible but finds it helpful to come alongside other parents they trust. The families help each other get their children to practices, games, school and sporting events.
They call it “co-parenting.”
“You have to have partners,” Adam said, noting the family has made friends that they enjoy spending time with, sometimes outside of the kid’s activities.
Shea also benefits from the help of her parents, Jack and Kay Summers. Recently, the Bates and the Summers purchased a home together, so her parents could live with them and help out. Her parents are also there to help the kids go to all their activities.
In between all these things, Shea and Adam are faced with the challenge of spending time together.
“It’s not always easy,” Shea said. “We haven’t always been good at it. I can tell the times that we’re not being good with it. You get off-centered, you start to bicker, you don’t really have time to even have a conversation.”
When Shea wakes in the morning, she spends a few minutes with God, whether that is praying or reading a devotional book. From there, Adam will sometimes get up and they will talk —trying to make the conversation not about the plans for the day or who is going to take the kids where.
During the summers, Adam’s nights are often busy with Squeeze games and other activities, but he is good about calling to tell Shea when he has a free evening or time he can come home. They work to get as much time together as they can. Sometimes, Adam will need to run an errand, and Shea will jump in the passenger seat to come along for the ride. Other times, they will take a quick walk around their Winter Garden neighborhood together. They have to make an intentional effort to spend time together.
In the end, it’s a family effort — even as Adam has spent countless nights at the ballpark for his FCSL franchise, Wrigley has never missed a home game of the Winter Garden Squeeze.
“We just enjoy being parents,” Adam said. “We’re very blessed with our kids. Be it the activities, or the schools systems or the parks or the dance programs, we’re just a little part of a growing community.”
Contact Jennifer Nesslar at [email protected].