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May 24, 2018 - 11:40am
posted by Howard B. Owens in tourism, sports, baseball, softball.

Press release:

Over the next five weekends (through June 24) Genesee County will host nearly 20,000 baseball and softball players, coaches, families and fans at the eighth Annual Darien Lake Tournament Series. The tournament, which kicks off this weekend, is produced by Pitch ‘n' Hit Events and teams will play at numerous ball fields throughout Genesee County.

The tournament will bring 400 teams to Genesee County from throughout the Northeast and Canada playing both baseball and fast-pitch softball with ages of the players ranging from 10 to 18 years old.

The Genesee County Chamber of Commerce estimates that the influx of visitors from this event is expected to create more than a $1.5 million economic impact through hotel stays, dining, shopping and incidental spending.  

The Chamber provided Pitch ‘n' Hit with thousands of Genesee County Dining Guides and Visitor Coupons to be included in the welcome packets for each player and their family.

With Memorial Day weekend being the unofficial kick-off of the summer travel season, the Chamber also begins extended Visitor Center hours on Friday, May 25th. More than 30 visitor center volunteers who help to staff the center in peak-season were welcomed back with an orientation breakfast at Terry Hills Restaurant & Banquet Facility earlier this week.

The Visitor Center will remain open with extended evening and weekend hours through Labor Day, while the vestibule remains open to visitors 24/7 with access to key area maps and brochures.

For more information on the Baseball tournament and game locations, please visitv here. Visit Genesee County online at VisitGeneseeNY.com

May 24, 2018 - 11:05am
posted by Howard B. Owens in baseball, sports, pembroke, batavia, Notre Dame.

The Pembroke Dragons will play their Class C1 Section V semifinal playoff game at 4:30 p.m. today at Dwyer Stadium against Avon.

Batavia plays Aquinas in a Class A2 semifinal at 4:30 at Brockport.

Notre Dame plays Bolivar in a Class D1 semifinal at 7 p.m. at Keshequa.

May 24, 2018 - 10:58am
posted by Howard B. Owens in muckdogs, batavia, news, sports, baseball.

This week, the Batavia Muckdogs, after a delay caused by the change in ownership and management, started selling season tickets, but with the season fast approaching season ticket holders are encouraged to renew their seat reservations by June 1.

Unrenewed season tickets will go on public sale June 1.

Season ticket holders who haven't renewed should visit the Muckdog's ticket office at Dwyer Stadium to renew before June 1.

General Admission season and single-game tickets are on sale as well.

"Overall, the Muckdogs are pleased with the renewals and are looking forward to a fantastic 2018 season at Dwyer Stadium," said General Manager Dave Chase.

The home opener is Monday June 18. Gates open at 6 p.m. and first pitch is at 7:05 p.m.

May 23, 2018 - 4:24pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in baseball, sports, pembroke.

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Submitted photo.

The Pembroke Dragons have advanced to the semifinals of the Class C1 sectionals in baseball after beating Sodus yesterday 15-5. Zach von Kramer picked up the win.

There are three local baseball games today:

  • Batavia plays Leadership Academy at 5 p.m. at Dwyer Stadium.
  • Notre Dame has a sectional playoff game at 7:30 p.m. at Dwyer Stadium.
  • Oakfield-Alabama plays Campbell-Savona at 5 p.m. in Hornell.
May 15, 2018 - 2:40pm
New Era Cap Classic Northeast Baseball Player Showcase 2018 will be held at the Koessler Center – Home of the Canisius College Golden Griffins on July 12th.
 
Why attend a showcase?
  • A showcase gives a player the opportunity to demonstrate his baseball talents for many colleges/universities at one location. Players are evaluated in their primary and secondary positions. High School and Junior College baseball players, here is a chance to showcase your skills in front of Division I, II and III college baseball coaches as well Major League Baseball scouts.
What Colleges will be in Attendance?
  • Here directly from the top college coaches in WNY during the advisory board Question/Answer Session 
    • Matt Mazurek -- Canisius College
    • Rob McCoy -- Niagara University
    • Matt Clingersmith -- Niagara Community College
  • Coaches from the above schools and recruiting staffs will be present at the showcase
  • In 2017, more than 25 Division I, II, III, Junior College and professional scouts were in attendance

Showcase Format and Schedule

  • 12:30 – 1 p.m.: Check-in at Student Center
  • 1 -- 3 p.m.: College Advisory Board Lunch Reception and Question/Answer Session
  • 3 p.m.: Professional Style Try-Out Format – Pitchers, Catchers and Position Players
  • Includes the following skill evaluations: 60-yard dash; fielding and throwing from primary position and batting practice. Pitchers will throw in bullpen.
  • Each coach and scout in attendance will be given a player profile sheet on each player. This profile will include all the information provided as part of the registration.
  • Each coach and scout in attendance will also have online access to all information provided as part of the registration and the showcase evaluation results.

How to Register

Important Links

Questions? Contact New Era Park at 716-681-3001.

May 14, 2018 - 11:33am
posted by Howard B. Owens in muckdogs, batavia, sports, baseball.

Press release:

The Batavia Muckdogs (Class A Short Season Affiliate of the Miami Marlins) and Genesee County’s only professional sports franchise have announced nightly promotions that deliver value and respond to fan feedback.

The Home Opener is set for Monday, June 18th at 7:05 p.m. as the Muckdogs face the West Virginia Black Bears (Pittsburgh Pirates).

The first 2,000 fans in attendance will receive a Muckdogs Magnet Schedule presented by Tompkins Bank of Castile.

Individual game tickets will go on sale Monday, May 21st, at 10 a.m. at the Dwyer Stadium ticket office and online at Muckdogs.com. Highlights of the 2018 nightly promotions include:

Saturday Night Fireworks
The Muckdogs are moving post-game fireworks shows to Saturday nights in 2018. The team has increased the number of post-game shows to seven (7) beginning June 23rd. The change to Saturday nights is reflective of fan feedback and surveying of season ticket members. Each show will be set to music consisting of a different theme and genre. Fireworks nights include: 6/23 Southern Rock Fireworks; 7/3 Salute to the USA Independence Eve Expanded Fireworks; 7/7 Country Hits Fireworks; 7/14 '80s Hair Band Fireworks; 7/21 Jimmy Buffet Night Fireworks; 8/4 Elvis Fireworks; 8/25 '90s Hits Fireworks.

Friday Buck-A-Beer Nights
Every Friday home game will feature $1.00 12oz domestic draft beers. New this season $1 drafts will be available from 6 p.m. until the 7th inning.The Muckdogs will also be instituting an ID check booth at a designated location within Dwyer Stadium in which all fans 21 and over must present ID and receive a wristband in order to purchase alcohol. The new wristband policy on Friday nights will also allow for improved speed of service at concessions.

NY’s 529 College Savings Program Sunday Family Fun Days
New York’s 529 College Savings Program presents Family Fun Sundays during the 2018 season. From noon-12:20 select Muckdogs players will sign autographs in the concourse for all fans in attendance. After the game, all kids can run the bases just like their favorite Muckdog players courtesy of Bob Evans restaurant. Sunday games will include face painters, contests and prizes for kids throughout the game. Sundays will also feature a special Family 4-pack offer that includes four general admission tickets, four hot dogs and four regular size sodas for only $35.

WON Buck Weiner Wednesdays
New this season are WON Buck Weiner Wednesdays featuring $1 hot dogs all game long (maximum eight hot dogs per transaction). Fans can also purchase small sodas for only $1. Each Wednesday is also a Winning Wednesday presented by WBTA 1490 AM. When the Muckdogs win – all fans in attendance receive a FREE ticket to any future Muckdogs game.

2018 Home Game Times
Game times for the 2018 season are as follows: Monday through Saturday 7:05 p.m. (except July 26th -- 11 a.m. Camp Day), Sundays 1:05 p.m. (except July 1st 4:05 p.m. and Aug. 26th 4:05 p.m.).

A complete list of Muckdogs promotions and giveaways will be announced at a later date. Fans are encouraged to stay up to date with team social media platforms.

Follow us on twitter @bataviamuckdogs, and like us on facebook.com/bataviamuckdogs. The official team website, muckdogs.com is currently under construction and will be refreshed and updated to provide the latest news, information and team content throughout the season. A relaunch date will be announced in the coming weeks.

May 13, 2018 - 1:21pm

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Batavia High School beat Attica 10-4 in the championship game of the Rotary Tournament on Saturday evening at Dwyer Stadium.

Earlier in the day, Batavia advanced behind the one-hit pitching of Hunter Mazur as Batavia beat Oakfield-Alabama, 7-0.

Jake Humes was the winning pitcher in the nightcap. Humes pitched 5 2/3 innings of no-hit ball before giving up four runs and three hits with two outs in the sixth inning

Tournament MVP was Batavia’s Griffin Della Penna, who went 4 for 7 with five RBIs over the tournament's two games.

Attica advanced to the final by beating Notre Dame 17-1 in a game shortened to five innings. Sam Cusmano picked up the win for Attica.

Thanks to Paul Spiotta for providing the information for the recaps of the games.

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May 11, 2018 - 12:19pm

Press release:

The 20th Annual Batavia Rotary Club High School Tournament will take place tomorrow at Dwyer Stadium.

Due to the threat of rain, there has been a change in the schedule of games.

Attica will play Notre Dame in the first game at 1 p.m followed by Oakfield-Alabama vs. Batavia at 4 p.m. with the championship game scheduled to start at 7 p.m. There will be no consolation game.

Admission is $5 for an adult all-day pass and $2 for a student all-day pass. All proceeds from the tournament will help benefit Batavia Rotary Club charities.

May 9, 2018 - 10:14am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Rotary Club, batavia, baseball, sports.

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Attica, Notre Dame, Oakfield-Alabama, and Batavia are the four teams participating this year in the 20th Annual Rotary Baseball Tournament at Dwyer Stadium.

Attica and Notre Dame play at 10 a.m. and Oakfield and Batavia play at 1 p.m.

The consolation game is at 4 p.m. and the championship game is at 7 p.m.

The consolation game and championship game will be broadcast and streamed by WBTA.

Photo: Front row, Chandler Baker, Hunter Mazur, and Jordan Schmidt. Back row: Damien Bush, Tylor Ohlson, Christian Cleveland, Brendin Klotzbach, Sam Cusmano, Joey Aguglia, Matt Travis, and Logan Veley.

May 4, 2018 - 3:23pm
posted by Billie Owens in baseball, sports, Team New Era Baseball.

Press release:

Team New Era Baseball will hold tryouts for its fall elite travel baseball program for players ages 9 thru 17 on Friday May 18th and Friday June 22nd at our Depew facility, 3950 Broadway.

For more information or to register for a tryout, visit www.teamnewerabaseball.com.

For additional questions, contact Rich Wozniak at 716-681-3001 or [email protected].

May 1, 2018 - 8:44pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in oakfield-alabama little league, sports, news, baseball, notify.

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Bodie Hyde, 12, playing for the Athletics in the Oakfield-Alabama Little League pitched a perfect game tonight. Not only did no batters reach base, Bodi struck out all 18 batters he faced.

The A's beat the Yankees 3-0.

Photo by Melissa Cianfrini.

April 29, 2018 - 2:26pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Oakfield, sports, baseball.

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Yesterday morning, players and coaches in the Oakfield-Alabama Little League didn't let a bit of rain dampen their enthusiasm for opening day of the baseball season as they marched down Main Street through the Village on their way to the baseball fields off Drake Street.

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April 18, 2018 - 8:16am
posted by Howard B. Owens in muckdogs, sports, batavia, baseball.

Bad weather is delaying the start of field repairs at Dwyer Stadium according to Muckdogs General Manager Dave Chase while other preparations for the 2018 New York Penn League season, which opens June 18, remains a work-in-progress.

There is a new phone number for the Muckdogs: (585) 483-DOGS (3647).

Today, new computers should arrive. Wi-Fi, with broadband from Empire Access, is working.

Ticket sales should begin around May 1.

Chase said staff has been working with Wilson Sporting Goods on new uniform jerseys (one red and one black).

Currently, field work is scheduled to begin Monday, provided there is a solid break in the weather, and should be completed in five to seven working days.

April 13, 2018 - 11:19am
posted by Howard B. Owens in muckdogs, sports, baseball, news.

Press release:

The Class-A Short-Season New York-Penn League and its member clubs are proud to announce that the league's philanthropic arm, the NYPL Charitable Foundation, will once again award more than $10,000 in scholarships this summer to deserving high school graduates from the league's 14 markets.

Now in its 10th year, the 2018 NYPL Scholarship Contest is open to any graduating senior from a public or private high school within the league's footprint. Any student who has been accepted at a two- or four-year college or university, vocational school, or technical education institution is eligible.

Applicants will be judged based on academic performance, volunteer and extracurricular activities, and the impact their local NYPL club and Minor League Baseball have had on their lives.

The scholarship contest will consist of two stages -- a local round and a league round. In the local stage, students will apply directly to their local NYPL team, with one applicant chosen by each of the 14 teams to advance to the league/final round. The 14 finalists will then be judged by league representatives.

Three applicants will be selected to receive the top prize of a $2,500 scholarship. All other finalists will receive a $250 book award.

“The New York-Penn League Charitable Foundation and our 14 member clubs are pleased to have the opportunity to assist outstanding high school seniors within our league’s footprint for the tenth consecutive season,” said Ben J. Hayes, president of the New York-Penn League.

“This program will again recognize those seniors who not only meet and exceed traditional scholarship criteria, but demonstrate the positive community impact and lifelong memories fostered by their local NYPL clubs throughout the year.”

High school seniors interested in entering the 2018 Scholarship Contest can obtain the official application from their local NYPL club, or by visiting the league's official website, NewYork-PennLeague.com.

The deadline to submit applications to the nearest NYPL team is June 4. Each club's winner, including the three $2,500 scholarship recipients, will be selected in mid-July.

March 31, 2018 - 3:59pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in baseball, news, muckdogs, batavia, notify.

The president and CEO of the Rochester Red Wings, the organization that ran the Batavia Muckdogs operations for the past 10 years, has no reason to believe the playing conditions of the field at Dwyer Stadium are poor.

She also disputes the implication that team management left things at Dwyer in a way that would make it hard for new management to take over operations.

Naomi Silver also said any equipment or furniture removed from the stadium by Red Wings staff was equipment or furniture purchased and owned by the Red Wings. The staff inventoried everything that was removed so that whoever took over operations, if anybody, knew what needed to be replaced.

Silver spoke with The Batavian this afternoon to offer a response to remarks by the team's new general manager, Dave Chase, published yesterday.

Chase portrayed a situation at Dwyer where the field wasn't up to professional standards; the clubhouse and office were filled with junk and trash and nothing workable; and that previous management hadn't run the organization in a professional manner.

Silver defended her staff and said the field was up to Major League standards, which Chase said wasn't level and that the pitcher's rubber mat didn't align with home plate.

"Major League Baseball, just last year, came and did an audit and they found zero wrong with the field," Silver said. "That's really kind of an unusual situation where they wouldn't find something wrong and they found nothing. That was just last season. When they came in August they said everything was fine."

Whereas Chase was seemingly critical of the team's former groundskeeper, Don Rock, Silver praised Rock and said she would hire him again in Batavia if it was her decision.

She also praised former General Manager Travis Sick, who is now working for the Red Wings in Rochester.

"Don Rock was a phenomenal employee of ours," Silver said. "He and Travis made that operation work. He was a hard worker. He was there day in and day out and I can't criticize him for anything. I don't want to see him take any of the criticism there. It wouldn't be fair to him or to Travis."

About Sick, she said, "Our general manager did an excellent job and he worked hard at it and he worked long hours. He did what I would call a very, very good job."

When the Red Wings were vacating Dwyer Stadium, Silver said, the Red Wings didn't think there would be another season of professional baseball in Batavia, but nevertheless retained the paperwork any future operator would need, such as advertising contracts, the list of season ticket holders, and payroll information, so the new operator could know the team's salary structure.

All of that was shared with Chase, she said.

"We have done everything we can to cooperate," Silver said. "We've answered every question they've had. We want them to succeed."

She said Red Wings staff met with Chase just yesterday morning to ensure he had the information he needed about operations.

She expressed surprise and disappointment at the comments Chase made to local media about how the Muckdogs had been run in recent years.

"We were shocked to read his comments, frankly," Silver said. "We have in good faith put our souls into the operation in Batavia. We cared about it and we cared about its success. We wouldn't have done it if we didn't care. We felt we ran the operation in a way that we can walk away and feel proud of what we did for baseball in Batavia."

She added at the end of the conversation, "It was disappointing to read those comments. We never said a disparaging word coming into the operation or leaving the operation. I was surprised there were disparaging comments about us."

March 30, 2018 - 11:52am
posted by Howard B. Owens in muckdogs, batavia, news, notify, baseball.

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It has occurred to Dave Chase that when he agreed to become the new general manager of the Batavia Muckdogs after the New York-Penn League took over ownership of the venerable franchise, the situation at Dwyer Stadium is much worse than he anticipated.

Maybe, he thought, this isn't the right job at the right time.

“I have my moments when I wonder, 'is this the mission or not?' " Chase said during a tour for the media yesterday of the stadium. "The fans, the people I’ve talked to, have convinced me, it is an important mission. The fact is, I have 40 years, Brenden has 18 years, the ongoing theme is, we’re going to give this our best shot.”

Brenden is Brendan Kelly, who is experienced in baseball operations, including a nearly eight-year stint with the Buffalo Bisons, and whose wife is a schoolteacher in Batavia. He's the new assistant general manager for the Muckdogs, one of three recent full-time hires by Chase, who has had to rebuild the Muckdogs' staff after the Rochester Red Wings lost its contract to run the team.

The new management team comes into a situation that has them scrambling to get ready for the season, which opens June 18. The office was stripped of all useful equipment and furniture and what Chase first walked into was an office and clubhouses filled with broken chairs, tables, miscellaneous junk, no ticketing system, and disconnected phone lines.

"I’m blown away by how filthy it was," Chase said. There was trash everywhere, a lot of broken things. We discovered that if it has a plug on it and it’s still here, it’s broken."

The city has painted the offices and clubhouse and put down new carpet -- part of anticipated maintenance for Dwyer and included in the city's budget -- but everything else is up to the league to handle.

"It’s a good thing we open on June 18 instead of April 6, that’s for sure," Chase said.

The Batavian has received calls and emails over the past week or so from fans trying to find out when they can buy tickets. With the phone disconnected, they can't get through to the office; and the website, run by Minor League Baseball, hasn't been updated.  

Chase is still putting together the promotional calendar (firework nights will be on Saturdays this season, meaning eight shows, which Chase says is in response to fan feedback) and he's still looking for a sponsor for pocket calendars. He may need to get those printed without a sponsor, he said.

It's really only been the past four days that Muckdogs' office has been staffed but there has been a steady stream of fans coming in, Chase said. He said fans will need to be patient while staff gets operations reestablished.

"I say we’re starting (baseball operations) at zero and we started six months late," Chase said. "Someone else said, ‘you’re not starting at zero. You’re starting at minus three and six months late.’ So people need to be patient. If they want the same old routine, disorganized unprofessional approach, we could probably do that today, but we’re going to bring in better standards and a more professional approach to what we do and that takes time.”

Chase said he's received a lot of fan feedback that they were dissatisfied with the baseball experience at Dwyer, that things seemed disorganized and not focused on the in-game experience. That will change this season, Chase said.

“I want to change the mentality of the ballpark," Chase said. "When those gates open on June 18 at six o’clock, Brenden and I are going to be at the gate. When the game is over on the 18th, we’re going to be at the gate. I got a lot of complaints that in-game presentation was sloppy; (they) weren’t paying attention — there’s got to be a professional attitude and that’s what we’re going to bring here. I don’t think it’s been here in 10 or 20 years, by the way.”

Muckdogs staff probably won't be able to sell tickets until the beginning of May but the new, lower season ticket price is only $175 if paid before June 1.

That's the fan experience, but Chase also needs to be concerned about the player experience, and player safety, and the quality of the game the young professionals who walk onto the Dwyer field are able to perform.

As bad as things are on the operations side of Dwyer, the field is perhaps even worse, Chase said.

The pitcher's rubber and home plate are not aligned. If a pitcher used the rubber as a guide, a properly thrown pitch would zip five feet behind the back of a left-handed hitter. 

Second base is aligned with neither the rubber nor home plate.

The grass in front of the pitcher's mound was repaired before last season but the repair didn't take because it was right before opening day, according to Chase.

The infield isn't level -- the visual evidence during our tour is the large puddles of water on the first base side, and a person standing in the outfield can see a small rise in the dirt to the left of second base.

The lip of the back of the infield, where the grass meets the dirt, is higher than it should be, and the entire back of the infield slopes down into the outfield at an elevation of more than nine inches in places.

That just isn't acceptable on a professional field, Chase said. 

The outfield looks flat from the stands but when you stand on it, the small dips and raises in the sod are clearly visible. The grass itself is not suitable for baseball.

"It’s like walking on golf balls," Chase said. "Right now, if you were to hit a ball on this field, if it wasn’t muddy, if it wasn’t soft, you’re probably going to get it in the chops, and the whole outfield is that way."

Longtime groundskeeper Don Rock, who has publicly lobbied for his old job back after the league took over ownership, and has received fan support, won't be coming back, Chase said. He acknowledged that Rock was probably not given the proper equipment to do the job but said the league needs to bring in a grounds crew with more knowledge and experience.

The league and a consultant are assisting in the search for a new head groundskeeper.

As soon as the field is dry enough and when it looks like there will be at least a 10-day period of dry enough weather, work will begin to fix all the problems with the field, Chase said.

The infield dirt will be replaced with same dirt used at Marlins Park in Miami (the parent club of the Muckdogs). The lip will either be lowered or extended to make it level with the outfield. And the pitcher's rubber and second base will be aligned with home plate. The city is going to roll the outfield and the grass will be overseeded, which hopefully with make fielding groundballs a little less treacherous.

Sponsorship signage in the outfield, Chase also revealed, will be brought up to modern Minor League park standards.

Part of the city's scheduled maintenance for Dwyer has been the replacement of the roof of the front of the stadium and fixing the outfield scoreboard.

Although one problem for Chase with the scoreboard is there's no longer a computer with the proper software in the Wayne Fuller Press Box to run it. That's just one more thing he will need to figure out before opening day.

Chase just returned from a four-day meeting of NYPL executives, which was his chance to update them on the situation in Batavia.

"My mission there was really to get them to understand what’s going on here," Chase said. "For them, for everybody, it’s a weird situation, that the league owns the team. So when I tell them, ‘I have nothing.’ I don’t have a tape dispenser. I don’t have a stapler. I have nothing. I didn’t have a desk until a couple of days ago. They didn’t understand what is going on, so I was trying to get them up to speed, and then the punchline is, ‘I’m spending your money.’ They don’t like to hear that.”

For all the troubles that need attention at Dwyer, Chase said it's the response of the fans that make it all worthwhile.

"The community has been fantastic," Chase said. "The people that I’ve met are very nice. They’re cordial and they express an excitement about baseball. A lot of them have told me they’re relieved to know baseball is back. From that point of view, it’s great. The condition of the facility is shocking."

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February 7, 2018 - 5:57pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, Announcements, baseball, 18U tournament.

Press release:

My name is Brenden von Kramer and I am starting a 18U Tournament Baseball Team that will be both affordable to all and for young men who are looking to play past high school and even potentially the next level.

We will be competing in the Darien Lake tournament and potentially a few other tournaments against top-notch teams from all over. The team will be coached by Chad Winkelman David Hall and myself as well as possibly some other high school coaches from around the area.

We are looking for avid baseball players.

If this interests you or you know someone who would be interested, please contact me as soon as possible via call/text or FB Messenger for further details.

We will be holding tryouts in the near future after the basketball season has ended, at a date to be announced later.

We hope to see you there!

Brenden von Kramer

(585) 208-8595

January 30, 2018 - 10:25am
posted by Howard B. Owens in baseball, news, batavia, muckdogs, notify.

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Ben Hayes, commissioner of the New York-Penn League, bristles at the idea that has persisted for 10 or more years that he, and the league, want to take professional baseball away from Batavia.

That simply isn't true, he said, during a press conference at the Quality Inn & Suites, Batavia, yesterday, where he introduced Dave Chase as the new general manager of the ballclub.

When asked with a question premised on the idea that Hayes or the league is looking to move the club, Hayes shot back, "It always starts with the assumption that the league wants to move the club. That is the part that I have a hard time with. Is the community supporting the club to the extent that it can? Can it make it on its own? That is really the question.

"This is going to be a really important year. Let's see if we strip it down and we go back to the basics, can Batavia support this ballclub? And if it can, fantastic."

In Dave Chase, the league is bringing in a baseball man through-and-through, with more than 40 years experience both in running organizations and in running the media operations that keep an eye on how baseball organizations operate. He's also been a commission of a college baseball league. He loves baseball and its history.

"Just for the record, guys, the only sport I recognize is baseball," he said. "The other ones just fill up the calendar."

And the baseball played outside of the major markets is the baseball that defines the sport and the nation, he said.

"I don't know if it's still there but at one time when you walked into the gallery Hall of Fame there was a quote above the entrance that said, 'To understand America, study,' and it says, 'baseball.' They left out a piece of the quote. It's 'to understand America study small-town baseball,' and that's what minor league baseball is. So when we talk about the national pastime being baseball, and I do recognize it as the national pastime, it's minor league baseball. I think don't think we're talking about Major League Baseball."

Both Hayes and Chase said repeatedly they hope the fans in and around Batavia embrace the Muckdogs and that Chase will do everything he can to ensure a quality fan experience.

As GM of a minor league team, Chase said he has many constituencies to serve. First is the Miami Marlin farmhands. There are also the fans, league officials, other franchises in the league, and corporate sponsors. He wants all of them to be happy with the team on the field and the experience in the ballpark.

For the Marlins, the priority is getting the field into shape and improve the clubhouses.

Chase and Hayes took a look at the field yesterday morning and they walked the outfield. They're not happy with the condition, they said.

"It looks like some of the maintenance that had been done in recent months or year were not done correctly," Chase said. "As a result, the playing surface of the infield is really rough. I would not want to put my son on it to field a ball and I wouldn't charge a baseball in the outfield either."

Work can't begin 'til spring and Chase indicated he's going to need to have some conversations with the baseball coaches at Genesee Community Collete, Notre Dame, Batavia High School, about field availability this year so that there is time to get the field ready for opening day June 18.

And he wants to meet with the coaches anyway, just as members of the local baseball community.

"I want to hear from other folks who are engaged in baseball," Chase said. "I want to hear from them because what is good for a part of baseball is good for baseball in the long run."

He also wants to hear from the fans.

"I want to hear what they like and do not like," he said. "I'm a one-man show at the moment so I may not be able to respond to them right away but my goal is to talk to them and for them to come and see me. Once we get the office cleaned up a little bit, we will invite people to come out and just talk baseball."

Some of the improvements needed at the ballpark -- cleaning up the office, new infield lights, new equipment in the concession stand -- is an expense the league will need to initially shoulder, Hayes acknowledged. He understands that the city may not have the funds available for infield lighting, but the current lighting doesn't meet league standards. 

Hayes said he has various options to fund upgrades and operations for the Muckdogs in 2018, to make up for any revenue shortfall, but in the long run, if the team ever is sold, those deficits will be covered out of the share of sale proceeds that will go to the Genesee County Baseball Club.

The club, a community nonprofit, has owned the franchise for decades, but after the NYPL declined to allow the Rochester Red Wings an extension on its 10-year operating agreement, the league took over operations of the franchise. The Red Wings are entitled to 50 percent of the sale price; the league would get 10 percent; and the Club 40 percent. But Hayes said costs above revenue will be charged to the Club.

The amount of money the Club gets will play a role in the Club's ability to help recruit and retain a team in one of the region's college summer leagues. 

Chase, who ran such a league, is mindful that is an option for local baseball fans.

"When you run out the New York-Penn, which is a quality short-season Class A league, we think Batavia has a good chance of supporting that, but if they can't, then some other baseball would have the option of coming in here," Chase said, and that option would be a college summer league.

When it comes to the quality of baseball, fans, he said, wouldn't know the difference.

"The young men who play the game, play as hard as ever and the fans get their summer fix of baseball," Chase said. "That that would be the next step. But we're not there yet. I think if the league was there that would have happened already."

It's been more than a dozen years since there has been an off-season without a Hot Stove League dinner, a favorite event with core Muckdogs fans, and when asked about it, both Chase and Hayes perked up and said they had just been discussing such an event at lunch. It may happen yet this off-season, Chase said.

Hayes said he picked Chase to run the club because of his experience and expertise.

"David has been in the business for four decades," Hayes said. "He's operated clubs from the low end to the high end and he knows what the values of professional baseball are and what the important things are."

There are two ways to look at Hayes hiring somebody like Chase. One is, the league wants to improve the financial position of the Muckdogs so the team can stay in Batavia. The other is to improve its curb appeal to help attract a new owner.

"There is a third option, too, and that is can we make this a stable market and can we keep it here," Hayes said. "And I don't think that that question has been completely vetted."

Surprisingly, Hayes said the first priority isn't to make the Muckdogs profitable. He said it was to get the fans more engaged with the team

"Financial viability really is not what I would say the number one," Hayes said, "It is very close to number one, but my closest number one is to make sure that as this situation stabilizes."

When it was suggested that there was a subtext to comments by Hayes that there was a dissatisfaction with how the Red Wing ran the ball club for the past 10 years, Hayes said that isn't the case at all.

"I think that they handled it and they did the job they did," Hayes said. "We've got to take a look at it and see if we can do the same thing if not better. If we can, great, and if we can't then the proof is in the pudding. Two people tried and we brought in two people who can operate a club properly. If neither one of them can do it, then maybe the market can't support it. Maybe that question will answer itself. This is a year for the city to show itself."

January 26, 2018 - 9:52pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in baseball, news, muckdogs, batavia, notify.

davechasemuckdogs.jpgDave Chase is the new general manager of the Batavia Muckdogs and the way Chase sees it, it's a sign of the New York Penn League's commitment to Batavia that a veteran baseball man with his level of experience has been hired to be the team's general manager for 2018.

This season running the Muckdogs will be the 41st in baseball for Chase. His career includes stints with six minor league baseball teams, work in a baseball broadcast booth, a term as commissioner of the Prospect League, 14 years as director of the Minor League Baseball Museum, and 17 years as publisher of Baseball America.

"I've done just about everything in baseball," Chase said. "I've taken on teams that were just starting out and those going through internal changes, so when I heard the New York Penn League was taking over the franchise in Batavia, I reached out to Ben Hayes (president of the NYPL) in early December and told him if he needed somebody to come and unlock the gates every couple of days, I'd be happy to do that."

Chase said he's been hired to do more than just unlock the gates. When asked about the NYPL's commitment to Batavia, he noted the team could have been moved this season or the league could have hired an inexperienced manager to come and unlock the gates on game days.

"My marching orders from Ben Hayes is to make sure we present a solid fan experience and a solid experience for the Marlins players," Chase said. "That could have happened in other places. That could have happened in other places in 2018. But Batavia is where the NYPL wants to be."

Chase steps in to run a team that has had the executioner's ax hanging over it for more than a decade, with every mid-June opening game bringing fans to the ballpark wondering if this could be the final year for professional baseball in Batavia.

In a short conversation, Chase didn't talk like a man coming in to be a caretaker for a final season in Batavia. Though neither did he pretend he could speak for Hayes and the league's directors.

"My primary focus is to take care of the Miami Marlins players and make sure they have a quality experience in Batavia," Chase said. "It's also my job to re-establish the team in the mind of the fans."

For the past 10 season the Rochester Red Wings have operated the Muckdogs but in October, the league declined a request by the Red Wings and the Genesee Genesee County Baseball Club to continue that arrangement.

In December, the Club announced it transfered control of the franchise to the league. If the team is ever sold, 50 percent of the proceeds will go to the Red Wings (which gained a 5-percent share of the sale price during its 10 years of operation of the team), with the league getting 10 percent, and the Club will receive the remainder of the proceeds. The Club retains ownership of the team name and logos.

Chase hasn't visited Batavia yet -- he arrives Sunday and will hold a press conference Monday -- and asked if this was a turnaround effort, he said it was partly that but also partly like running a startup business.

He said it is his understanding that "there's not much left in Batavia."

He noted that there are apparently needs at the ballpark to be addressed, citing specifically the playing field and clubhouses. 

He said the team's loyal fans can expect him to work to deliver a quality ballpark experience.

"I met my wife in Durham (N.C.), so I understand the power of the ballpark," Chase said. "Baseball is not like any other sport. It's all about community. It's about bringing the community together. There are not many cities in the country like Batavia and the team has been there for a very long time, since 1939. We want to make sure the Batavia fans understand this is their team. We want to honor that tradition."

January 16, 2018 - 2:19pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, baseball, Team New Era Baseball.

Team New Era Baseball will hold tryouts for its 8- and 9-year-old rookie elite travel baseball program at 2 p.m. on Sunday Jan. 21st at our Depew facility, 3950 Broadway.

Individual evaluations are also being scheduled for summer opportunities for players ages 10 thru 16.

For more information or to register for a tryout, visitwww.teamnewerabaseball.com.

For additional questions, contact Rich Wozniak at 716-681-3001 or [email protected].

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