Friday, January 13, 2006

Another One Bites The Dust

With the announcement that the Elmira Pioneers of the Can-Am League would be folding up shop for the 2006 season, it was another sad day for fans of old ballparks and people who live in small towns. Each season more and more minor league teams migrate towards the big cities and metropolitan areas, while small towns like Elmira lose their team with little hope of ever seeing professional baseball again. I understand that the reasons are all financial, but to me this is still a disturbing trend. It seems awfully unfair that small towns, many of which have a deeper connection and greater appreciation of their team, can't enjoy the baseball experience just because they aren't able to pack 3,000-4,000 fans into their ballpark. For many of these towns, pro baseball offers one of the few entertainment options. In the big cities, while the crowds might be big, would they really miss the team if it weren't around ?

So Dunn Field will be without professional baseball for the first time in many years. Sure, the city has promised to try to get a collegiate league team. Big deal. That's simply not the same as having a professional team. But unfortunately, with the current trend in minor league baseball, small towns will only be able to host these type of teams. How long before the collegiate leagues start migrating towards the big cities as well ? Fortunately there are still a couple of minor league (the Appy League and Pioneer League) which seem content on holding on to a piece of the past by not selling out. Hopefully these leagues will never change.

4 comments:

Sadie Lynn said...

Elmira has a lot of problems...
1. Lethargic ownership. When the team is owned by people on the West Coast, it can't be good for the future of the team,
2. Lackluster attendance. To blame it all on the Pioneers' owners is a little harsh since the city didn't support the NYPL team that was here before the Can-Am team arrived.
3. Lots of blame. I know that nobody wants to be the bad guy, but there has been a lot of blame passed around about the shutdown and nobody has stepped up and said "here is the solution" and until somebody does that every professional team in the area will fail.

Danny said...

Having been to a game in the past year, I think its better that the Can-Am league is replacing Elmira. Their were very few fans, and those that were there didn't seem very into the game. This problem seems to have been caused by the ownership, who didn't do much of anything to iprove the atmosphere. They didn't even maintain the ballpark, which felt like it was falling apart and had bees everywhere. While I agree that it is a tragedy that old ballparks in small communities are being replaced, I would not blame this trend on Elmira's collapse. They are being replaced by Nashua, a team in a similar situation that I saw 2 years ago which has done a better job of reaching out to fans. Replacing the Berkshire Black Bears was a mistake, not the Pioneers.

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Buy Steroids said...

Yes minor teams migrate but there they would have more possibilities! So I don't think that it can be really sad.