BOISE — Bryan Beban stood in the press box overlooking the above-capacity crowd at Memorial Stadium on the Fourth of July. The first-year assistant general manager of the Boise Hawks watched, sighing ever so slightly, as memories rekindled.
Wiping the sweat from the high-90-degree heat on his brow, Beban represented the Hawks in his black polo. Not out of the ordinary, but against the Eugene Emeralds - the team he dedicated 28 years of his life to - it was unusual.
"Eugene will always have a place in my heart. I had my son there, I got married there; I went to high school there. It will always be with me," Beban prefaced before adding: "But now that I've had the opportunity to move my family here, I want to make Boise my home. It's just a great town."
Beban, who still uses maps to travel unfamiliar areas in the city, moved to Boise six months ago. His wife, Denise, and his 6-year-old son, Cooper, relocated from Oregon last week. The family is still searching for permanent housing.
The change has been emotionally gratifying for the family.
After losing his position with the Emeralds after "philosophical differences" with new management, Beban left the industry and worked for a sign company. "It was just a job," he said, referencing how he only punched the clock to provide for his family. He missed cultivating relationships, but most of all - he missed baseball, the sport he spent most of his life working in.
"The game. I love the game of baseball," Beban said when asked what drove him to move his family to another state. "When you have a job, you want it to be fun. You never want to go to work dreading, 'Oh God, I got to go to work today.'
"I'm selling a fun night at the stadium. I'm not selling a used car that will break down in a couple of years. I'm selling a good night with your family. It's just fun."
When Beban applied in Boise, Hawks General Manager Todd Rahr, who worked under Beban's father, Bob, in Eugene, realized someone with Bryan Beban's experience wasn't likely to resurface.
"I had a job that I really needed someone who knew what they were doing from a sales standpoint, and had been in baseball before," Rahr said. "The learning curve was short. Bryan applied for the job and I said, 'I can't find a guy with this experience anywhere else.' It made sense."
Beban's responsibilities are focused on building additional relationships and rekindling lost partnerships. He raised the most money the Hawks have ever produced with the Meridian youth baseball league. On Friday, Beban sold several group packages that equated to $2,700 per group.
"Bryan could do a lot more than what we're asking him to do, to be honest," Rahr said. "He's done everything in the game of baseball, but we needed a guy to come in here who knew how to sell. He's done a great job for us."
Friday marked the first time Beban watched the Emeralds in person after parting ways. The scab he thought had healed was reopened. The memory of packing his belongings in the Emeralds' office resurfaced.
"That was hard to be asked to leave. It's a memory that I'll have," Beban said. "I spent two hours in the office by myself, packing my car and looking through pictures - remembering old times. It was really emotional, and in a way I'm still not over it.
"That's another reason why this job is so important for me personally - it's to help me move on."
Beban adjusted his polo and exited the front office cubicles in the sixth inning.
"We're losing," he said disappointed.
At the time, Eugene held a 3-1 advantage.
"I'm a Hawk now. It's on my shirt, it's on my chest - over my heart," Beban said. "My family is here now. It's a clean break. It was 28 years of my life, and now I'm starting a new chapter and I'm here in the Treasure Valley. I'm so fortunate to be here."
Trevor Phibbs: 377-6424; Twitter: @IDS_Phibbs