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August 23, 2010 - 9:59am

Today's Poll: Are you concerned that this might be the last season for the Batavia Muckdogs?

posted by Howard B. Owens in polls.
Peter O'Brien
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Mike Weaver
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If this poll is in any way representative of the community at large, the results so far show why the Muckdogs may be gone. The team just doesn't get the level of community support it needs to remain viable. It's too bad really. A Muckdogs game is relatively inexpensive entertainment for a few hours. I'll miss the games when they are gone.
jason reese
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Yes. It looks as though they will be gone. No interest? all sorts of interest. but not enough fans. To bad. Most people in this area know of the Muckdogs. I'll be going to the last few home games and hope someone will be able to keep them for at least another season.
Mike Weaver
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Look at the poll results so far. 40% of the responders voted apathy. In a community as small as this one, that is way too high of a level of indifference for the team to be able to pay its bills. It'll be another piece of what used to make it nice to live in Batavia that will be gone.
This poll makes me sick. No one in this town has passion or pride for much do they? It's not about baseball! It's about it being "Our" team. We won a championship and the baseball world knew our community. The smallest market in all of minor league baseball and we won. Batavia was a champion. What will happen when they leave? Another empty building that represents how this community is more interested in themselves then anything else. The reason why no one cares, is because they would rather sit home and bitch about the world then be a part of it. All 312 of you make me sick. Seriously. You're the same people who come on here and complain about everything and then do nothing to make it better!
Chris Charvella
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I admire your enthusiasm Phil, but some people don't care about baseball. They're not evil, just disinterested. I'd love to see the Muckdogs stay. I just started going to games again and I have a great time when I do, but if the community won't support the team, then we're going to lose it.
It's not about Baseball, Chris. Please show me anything that the community has rallied around. Please? Not just 20 - 50, but the communtiy! I'm tired of watching the same people work for a better place, while others just sit off to the side and complain. How many of that 312 will be on here in a year complaining about how there is nothing to do in Batavia, or that we wasted money on the stadium? There will be. They will hee and haw, but if you ask them to come out, support or God forbid volunteer, they're too busy or "just don't like..." fill in the blank. I never said anyone was evil, but I am truly sick of the apathy.
Peter O'Brien
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In good news, there is a doubleheader tonight!
Chris Charvella
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Phil, I hear you, but you can't make people do something they don't want to do. I think having a baseball team is great and I enjoy going to the games, but you and I seem to be in the minority. I remember a few years ago when Brian Paris worked himself ragged trying to keep the team in Batavia. He deserves a lot of credit for keeping the team here for this long through sheer force of will and pure hard work. When it seemed like the team was gone for sure, the community finally reacted. If you asked the average Batavian how they felt about the Muckdogs, they'd tell you what a travesty it was that we were losing the team. The problem is that these are the same people who never bought a ticket. It's the same as it ever was and I think the apathy this time around is due to the fact that this isn't anything new. We've been through this before and I wonder if the community has just accepted the team's fate. Maybe Mr. Paris can work miracles again. I certainly hope so.
Howard B. Owens
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Phil's right, it's not about baseball. Chris is right, you can't make people care. But some how, some way, those of us who do care need to find a way to get the people who don't care to see it's in their best interest to get out and get involved. There is a direct correlation between engaged communities and -- lower unemployment, higher standards of living, better education results, fewer teen pregnancies, lower infant mortality rates, etc. Basically, every social and economic indicator goes up when communities are filled with people who are active and involved. Going to a Muckdogs game is a community event, and if we lose the Muckdogs we will lose one more very important place where we can casually see friends and family and maintain important community connections. The people who are not supporting the Muckdogs -- and especially the bigger businesses that are sitting on the side lines instead of buying sponsorships -- are letting the whole community down.
Very true, Howard. I hope so too, Chris.
Richard Gahagan
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So Howard big businesses are letting the whole community down if they don't buy sponsorships so unemployed people can watch baseball. And that's going to mean we'll have lower unemployment, higher standards of living, better education results, fewer teen pregnancies, lower infant mortality rates, etc. Your loosin it man, baseball means fewer teen pregnacies? Let me clue you in on a local secret, the first time most kids got laid in this town was during a baseball game in the minor league or little league dugouts or the pavilions behind the right field fence for generations.
Frank Bartholomew
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I think there is a lack of interest in baseball in general. When I was involved with youth baseball, the coaches could barely field a team half the time. When I was growing up in Batavia, there were 15-16 kids per team at all levels, from minor league to senior league. If you didn't show up for practice, you rode the bench during games, coaches do not have that option now days. I don't know if it is just Batavia, but I can recall during many games, the visiting teams always had more fans than the Batavia team. I also recall most of the kids who played youth baseball went to the Trojans/Clippers games, and most of us knew all the players on the team. Myself and the kids from State St. even knew most of the players from other teams as well. Some of this may be attributed to population loss. Take a drive around the city, look at all the for sale signs in front of homes, it is the sad truth, more families are leaving this area than coming in. We have to ask ourselves, what can we do to change this trend? Maybe City Council will come up with new ideas during their Vision Brainstorming sessions. My feelings are, without more, good jobs coming to this area, this trend will continue.
John Roach
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Richard, I guess your dinner didn't help you much. 1) Sponsorship does not mean free, or even discount tickets (except in Richard World). It means helping to make up the dollar loss. 2) Howard never said baseball prevented anything. He said strong community identification makes the difference, and baseball helps that identification. Try not so hard to be a cowboy and read what Howard wrote.
Chris Charvella
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Asking businesses to put up $25,000 a pop for sponsorships is definitely a stretch. There's really no possibility of a return on the investment and we'd be in the same position at this time next year. $25 grand could buy a lot of goodwill in the community, but in this economy you'd be hard pressed to find local businesses who had that much to spare on what amounts to a charity project. I'm keeping my promise though, if I win the lottery, I'll put up the $6 million for the team. I'll even buy every attendee a free hotdog and a beer on opening night.
Howard B. Owens
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Chris, there was a time when American companies made contributions to the community not with the question of "how will this impact the bottom line" but because it was the right thing to do. When I think of some well heeled company making a contribution to keep the Muckdogs in Batavia, I'm not thinking of $25K. I'm thinking of $150K. There are companies around here that could afford it. As Phil said, it's not about baseball. Nor is it about profits, at least not the kind the CFO could measure.
Chris Charvella
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It's not about the bottom line, it's that the coffers are dry. Hell, if we had that much laying around for a rainy day I'd be lobbying right now, but the fact is, in a down economy the $25k sponsorship that they're asking for is simply too much. Local business has spent quite a lot in advertising dollars with the Muckdogs over the years. I can only think of maybe two empty ad panels in the entire stadium and if the team stays, I'm sure we will continue to do so. The problem here does not lie with local business support, it stems from the lack of fan attendance. Let's say 10 local businesses each put up 30k or so to cover the Red Wings operating loss for the year, what happens next year? When attendance remains stagnant are those businesses supposed to foot the bill again? Should local business subsidize the Muckdogs losses from now on even after spending thousands in advertising dollars every year. I'm not opposed to sponsorships, I just think that the folks putting up the cash should be able to expect it's going to make a difference for more than just a year. Show me that there are plans and good ideas in place to bump the attendance to acceptable levels and I'll make the phone calls and beg for the money myself.
Gabor Deutsch
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I guess if we lose the Muckdogs then people will be forced to frequent other places and events in the city. They might have to volunteer more, go out to eat more, etc. I think there are plenty of community type things to do in Batavia already. I disagee that it is not about Baseball or profits. I am not saying that it is a positive to lose the team but I don't agree that Baseball or profits don't play into it. How many youth sports games are there all year around, High school sports, college etc. Some peoples comments here are almost like we lost the last big place of employment and the city is going to be a ghost town soon !
Peter O'Brien
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I won't ever go to a youth sporting event till I have a kid in one. I won't eat out more if there is no baseball, I will actually eat out less. I tend not to volunteer because I am too busy. Nothing will replace me going to Dwyer on a weeknight other than my possessions, most of which I bought outside of Batavia.
Gabor Deutsch
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Peter, I liked that link you posted. I am sure many people will be upset if we lose the Muckdogs but I don't agree that Baseball and Profits are not the real problem. I don't agree with the idea that lack of community support(people including yourself) or participation (attendance) is the reason we may lose the Muckdogs. I would agree that local businesses or any type of sponsorship private or corporate is what the team lacks now and lately nobody wants to take that nostalgic financial loss. I agree with Chris that if I win the lottery I would buy them but donate them to the city of Batavia. (I would also do like the Green bay Packers and sell stock in the team). I guess I will end with two nostalgic Baseball quotes: "It ain't over till its over" Yogi Berra "There is no crying in Baseball" Tom Hanks
Bea McManis
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We are the smallest market. When you go to the away games, you realize just how small we are. Their stadiums give you the impression of being at a major league game. Our stadium is utilitarian. It is exactly what the young players need to get their feet wet. No glitz, no glamor. That should come as they rise in the ranks. We are between two cities that host baseball teams. We can't really draw many people from either. If I understand this right, we could fill every seat - every game - and without the sponsorship of local businesses (i.e. the real money), the fate of baseball in Batavia would still be doomed. Why ask for such a large amount of money from each business? 250K or even 150K may be too large a sum in this economy, but bringing the sponsorship down to a number that is more affordable might entice smaller businesses to get involved. I can count about 50 people, that post here, who go to the games. I'm sure there are more. The high percentage of people who claim they aren't interested, in my opinion, aren't laying down an indictment against baseball or sports in general. If we could survey the people who participated in this poll and ask how many volunteer for any community event, the percentages would be the same. I agree with Charlie, it isn't the event, it is apathy and the sense that they can sit back and let someone else do it. There are too many excuses.
I totally disagree with you, Gabor. What city do you live in? The Muckdogs aren't keeping people from attending other events or volunteering. They won't go no matter who is in Dwyer stadium. Profits may have something to do with the reason why they're leaving, but that nor baseball, is why people are upset to see them go. Community is a big deal Gabor. You don't think that Batavia is becoming a ghost town? What then Gabor is coming here to make you think otherwise? Doors are closing. There are a few people who try to open businesses, but for the most part it's flat. What industry has come Gabor? Do you want to talk about the Ashleys Plant or CAT, because they are the only two new employers of a larger nature in a decade. What makes a place to come to and live Gabor if not community? It's not the taxes. I'm sick of that. The schools are good, but there are places all over the country with good schools, reasonable housing and much lower taxes. It's safe, but the amount of criminals that keep coming in from the city are threatening that. Why should I stay? Why should I raise my family here? I know I don't matter, I'm too young with a young family. I'm not the demographic that gets a voice in this town. Look at city council. I have not one representative on there that reflects me. I see a lot of older people who are retired or are very close to retiring. I see all but a few of them being public employees with pensions, telling me what I can afford. Face it Gabor, the amount of people that care in this town are getting swallowed up by those who will do nothing except complain. No Gabor, it's not about baseball, it's about the lack of soul this community has. The lack of identity. Being in between Rochester and Buffalo is not enough anymore. The Muckdogs are a part of this place and we are losing it. What's going to replace it, Gabor? You want to make it shallow? That's fine. Then you can have what this place is becoming.
Dave Olsen
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Phil, calm down dude. Maybe this will give you a little insight: http://www.theonion.com/articles/report-10-million-killed-annually-by-st...
C. M. Barons
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Dave- that has to be the most un-American piece of drivel I have ever laid eyes on. Who wrote it? ...Dick Cheney? Is it supposed to legitimize agoraphobia, shuddering and quaking, afraid to step outside? ...Afraid to vote out the incumbents?
kevin kretschmer
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CM - you do know "The Onion" is a humorous website, sort of like "Mad" magazine, right?
Lori Silvernail
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For me, it IS only about baseball. I don't like the game at all, period. I enjoy going to as many Genesee Symphony Orchestra concerts as I can, and attendance at those is far more dismal than the Muckdog games.
Gregory Hallifax
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It is really sad to see how little support this team has in the community. When you can't even get board members to go to games that just speaks volumes of how much this community cares. The Muckdogs are a big piece of history in Batavia and need to stay, but if the local community doesn't even care what is there to do? If you can't even get all of the board members to show up to watch, why should anyone else try to get more people to the games? The Great Amercian Sport is going to leave the area and everyone will complain when they are gone, but won't do anything now to save them.
Dave Olsen
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Well, CM the point is if you do something you've never done before, you don't really know what might happen. Therefor, if one has never been to a Muckdogs game, they probably never will.
LOL Dave! Good article...even better is that CM thought it was real! Oh man that had me laughing.
Frank Bartholomew
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So what can the average citizen do to prevent the loss of this team?
John Roach
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Frank, Go to games if can, but as somebody pointed out, even filling the stadium might not bring in enough money to break even.
Dave Olsen
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He didn't think it was real. He was being facetious.
Frank Bartholomew
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John, I used to go to the games a couple of times a week, but like many others, I lost my day job, and now work many different hours, which prevent me from attending. But you helped make my point, even a full stadium doesn't change the economics of the team, or the community. Years ago we had Sylvania, Trojan, Doeler Jarvis, we just don't have those big companies now, so I don't rest the blame on lack of attendance, or for that matter, lack of community support, the community just isn't what it used to be. Most of the businesses in the city are small, and they have bottom lines. Losing this team will hurt a lot of people, myself included, as I have many,many fond memories of warm summer nights, soda, and hot dogs , and the Batavia Trojans,Clippers, and Muckdogs.
C. M. Barons
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I had never heard of The Onion- just followed the link. That's the kicker to trying to squeeze one more thing into the 3 minutes before departing for work. Yokes on me!
Peter O'Brien
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Attendance pick up may still help the dogs. If the attendance rises and we can boast that people came when the chips were down because they want the team to stay, it would make it easier for a potential buyer to want to keep the team here.
Howard B. Owens
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More attendance would mean, potentially, sponsors in those $25K ranges would be more willing to pony up. And while the Red Wings have never said it, more attendance might soften the blows of the financial loses, were they to continue.
Peter O'Brien
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In either case, I am going to make it to as many games as I can this season and maybe we can be fortunate enough to pull out a championship again.
Frank Bartholomew
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Even if the home attendance was 1500 for 38 home games at $5 a ticket,you still have a shortfall. If all 38 home games sold out, and it was $5 a ticket, you would be looking at a gate of about $500,000 for the season. Where would all these people park? Look what happens on the nights when they have fireworks, extra police, traffic jams on 5-6 different streets, its chaos. I don't know if the team shares revenue from the concessions, but it becomes clear without sponsership, the money just isn't there.
Gabor Deutsch
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Phil, If I took out the Muckdog parts of your last comment I would agree with the rest of what you wrote. When this site first started all I did was complain about Batavia's steady decline. I am not ignoring it now but I have chose to be more optimistic for its future even if it looks like a long way off. Maybe you are right about the Muckdogs but then I guess I have just gotten used to the way things and people are in Batavia.
Peter O'Brien
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"Why should I stay? Why should I raise my family here? I know I don't matter, I'm too young with a young family. I'm not the demographic that gets a voice in this town. Look at city council. I have not one representative on there that reflects me. I see a lot of older people who are retired or are very close to retiring. I see all but a few of them being public employees with pensions, telling me what I can afford. " That's pretty much how Chelsea and I feel as well. At least hosting a Muckdog is one of the bright spots of Batavia but with that gone, we have no ties.
Russ Salway
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Of course I could talk forever about this subject. I pretty much have been over the last few years. I have gotten as involved as I could by volunteering in many ways for our team. I'm proud to say that I was voted on the board and also proud to say that I have attended every home game this season. I will attend the rest of the home games as well along with two more road games to add to the one I already made in Williamsport. We can go back and forth about all of this, but the best thing I can think of is to go to the games and show my support. It is more then just baseball, its community togetherness (if thats even a word). I have met and become friends with so many people from all over western New York because of the Muckdogs and their games. Peter and Chelsea from Batavia, Brian from Greece, Walter from Irondeqouit, John from Amherst, Greg from Batavia and so many more! Yes people do travel all the time from all over WNY for our games. They spend money here and tell us all how great we have it. Nobody knows what will happen next year, but you can come out and enjoy all the fun and possible playoffs with the rest of this season. I hope all the people who never do come out try it, they will see what all the fun is about. I will leave with words from another friend who now lives in Virginia that used to live in Geneva: Paul Long wrote I was born and raised in Geneva, and was a loyal Geneva Cubs fan from 1977 until the team left after the 1993 season. I live in Virginia now, but I joined this group (my facebook site Let's keep the Batavia Muckdogs in Batavia) because I'd rather see the NY-P League in places like Batavia, Auburn and Jamestown than Staten Island or Brooklyn. I would really hate to see the Muckdogs leave Batavia. It saddens me to think a lot of people in that city won't realize, or care, what they're missing until it's gone. I still remember what it felt like when the Cubs moved to Williamsport. And pro baseball never came back to Geneva. I know a lot of people in Batavia are working hard to prevent the same thing from happening there. I just hope your efforts are successful, and I wish you the best of luck.

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