Pro baseball in Batavia in 2011 likely, says Red Wings president
Today Batavia baseball fans learned that they're not without hope that some St. Louis Cardinals prospect will be hurling an opening day pitch at Dwyer Stadium in June, 2011.
At a press conference where Cardinals officials were on hand to sign a new affiliation agreement with the Genesee County Baseball Club, Naomi Silver, president of Rochester Community Baseball said the Red Wings are prepared to support baseball in Batavia for at least one more season.
There are details to be settled before the current agreement expires on Oct. 31, but Silver said the Red Wings "will not leave GCBC in the lurch."
Without financial backing, and if a new owner is not found in time, GCBC could lose its New York-Penn League franchise and the $4 to $6 million that could be garnered in a sale.
"If the details of a sale have not been worked out, we would be willing to come in and help out Batavia and continue to run the ball club," Silver said. "I think the chances of baseball being in Batavia in 2011 are extremely strong. What role we play in that has yet to be determined."
Even so, Silver said, the club needs to be sold. The ideal buyer would be somebody committed to the community, with sufficient financial backing to keep the team in Batavia.
"We won’t walk away while we’re waiting for a buyer to come along," Silver said. "Somebody has got to be able to run this team because the St. Louis Cardinals are going to come here and expect to field a team. That is our obligation and that is the league's obligation."
For the Cardinals part, the storied major league franchise sent Assistant Manager John Abbamondi and John Vuch, director of Minor League operations, to Batavia to sign a new two-year agreement with GCBC.
GCBC President Brian Paris said the new agreement and the presense of Abarmondi and Vuch signal how committed the Cardinals are to working with GCBC, the Red Wings and baseball in Batavia.
"They could have done this through the mail," Paris said. "They could have done this through a fax machine, but they told me they wanted to come out here and and show their support."
The Cardinals show of support for baseball in Batavia comes just a couple of weeks after NY-Penn League President Ben Hayes criticized the Dwyer field, saying it was unfit for professional baseball.
"Always, there are things that could be better, but some of the concerns may have been overblown," said Vuch. "The facility is a safe facility. There are not glaring problems. We understand the situation here and we have no concerns."
Vuch praised the community for its support of the players, from giving prospects places to live, to providing a positive environment to support their development.
"The community has always been a good host for our players," Vuch said.