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Quality of Life in Batavia and you can make the difference

By Russ Salway

Listen I know you all have probably read posts here online or elswhere about our Batavia Muckdogs. I'm sure you all know that the Muckdogs have had financial problems over the last few years and that this is a very important year for the future of our franchise.

Something you might not have thought of is the quality-of-life issue for our city and county. The Muckdogs have been a part of our area since 1939. I believe that's the year both the "Wizard of Oz" and "Gone with the Wind" came to our theaters. Needless to say, it's been a long time. During those years, many players have passed through Batavia with their dreams of some day playing in the big leagues. Most go onto other cities, carrying those dreams until one day they either make it to the big leagues or they get sent home looking for a job in "the real world."

Seasons pass, but one thing has always remained, our Clippers, Pirates, Indians, Trojans and Muckdogs have always returned. The "Boys of Summer" come to Batavia with their dreams. This could very well be the last summer where that happens! The 2010 Batavia Muckdogs might be the last season of professional baseball to ever play at Dwyer stadium on a beautiful summer night. What will that mean for the people of Batavia and Genesee County?

Our community will welcome next spring like it always does after a long hard winter! Spring fever will be everywhere! The "snowbirds" from the south will come back north to Batavia to be with family and friends for the summer. Kids will be getting out of school looking forward to a summer of fun! Yes some things will always remain the same, but something will be very different, something that has always been taken for granted. Our Muckdogs could be GONE FOREVER!

Summer nights at Dwyer stadium aren't just about baseball games. They are the last place in our county where people gather weekly to see old friends and make new ones.  Many kids from the NY State School for the Blind come to games, kids of all ages gather at Dwyer for a summer night of fun. Some even get to run on the field with Muckdog players. Buses come to Dwyer with Batavia's older generation from area retirement homes for a night out of summer fun. Area businesses promote their own businesses at Dwyer and promote community togetherness. Church groups join together for a summer night. Everyone in Genesee County seems to come to Dwyer on the 4th of July for their traditional fireworks!

Please never take anything for granted, because once you do, you stand a great chance of losing it forever! Our baseball team (no matter what name you call them) will be the same! Oh yes we will have the stories to share with friends about fun nights at Dwyer.  Just like many have of former nights at many other local area traditional places that are now nothing but ghosts!  I can already picture it now for the 4th of July celebration for 2011. Cars driving down Bank Street packing the sides of the street and people walking down to a quiet Dwyer stadium. All of them questioning if they already missed the fireworks?  Then maybe they will realize that they missed out on a lot more. That they took things for granted and now start to realize what they have lost forever!

It's not too late! You can make a difference Batavia and Genesee County! You can start with coming out tonight and tomorrow night (July 30th &31st). Pack the stands, show your support, spread the word, enjoy new friendships and old ones as well, watch young men start their dreams and end the night with fireworks both nights! Nobody would take our team if the stands were packed the rest of the season! Why would they? But if they aren't packed, be ready to start sharing your past stories once this season is over!

Bea McManis

Buses come to Dwyer with Batavia's older generation from area retirement homes for a night out of summer fun.

This is something I've advocated for a long time, but to my knowledge it doesn't exist. Did I miss it somewhere along the line?

I agree with everything you say. Our summer baseball is a slice of small town Americana that shouldn't be left to wither.

Jul 30, 2010, 2:05pm Permalink
Gary Diegelman

Howard, I would like to see a poll concerning the Muckdogs. Have you attended a game this year? have you ever attended a game? Try and find out why people don't come. Is it just lack of interest. Is it they don't know what a game is like. When I go to a game I see mostly the 45 plus crowd with a few families. Is it that the 25-45 age group just isn't interested. Maybe when you get a little older and want a night out it will be too late.
I too see the peaple come in from the nearby nursing homes. They enjoy the night out. Once they're gone they're gone and I will miss it as will the fans that attend many games now. All it takes is for everyone out there to take in 1 or 2 games.

Jul 30, 2010, 3:50pm Permalink
Howard B. Owens

I don't understand why a person wouldn't attend a Batavia Muckdogs game.

If you like baseball, you should attend games.

If you enjoy spending time with your family, you should attend games.

If you like to hang out with your friends, you should attend games.

If you like to drink beer, you should attend games.

If you work hard and need time to relax and clear your mind or rest your muscles, you should attend games.

If you support your community and believe a community is made of people who know each other and see each other outside of home or work, and that such social encounters are important to a strong, healthy, safe community, you should attend games.

A Muckdogs game at Dwyer is neither expensive nor inconvenient.

I can't think of an excuse not to attend a game.

There's no reason a community of 60,000 people can't pack Dwyer for every home game.

Jul 30, 2010, 4:18pm Permalink
Carol Foster

It's so easy to think that "it'll never happen", and that baseball will be here forever! Well, nothing's forever! Twenty years ago it was a given that if you didn't get to the stadium early, tough luck finding a seat! Then we got a new, beautiful, well-appointed, stadium. And what happened?? Nobody came! Why? That question is still trying to find an answer! The team is great (who can forget the playoffs two years ago?), the stadium is comfortable, prices are affordable, (maybe a little high on some food), the atmosphere is friendly, many choices on food and drink, the staff is helpful, what more could we want? What's missing?
Do people want free passes to get in? Free food? More prizes given out? Isn't going to happen THAT way, guys! Where are the kids? Little league teams who LOVE baseball? Coaches who want their teams to see players at the pro level??? Parents who want a fun family night out???(especially on Fridays with good fireworks)
What is needed? Where can we get excitement for a great team? Where are the grown-up kids of the past, bringing THEIR kids???
It's a sad state of affairs, and it's become just like most everything that is Batavia...a fizzle!!!! Remember the old days: Festival Genesee, Air shows, Balloon Fests, Wing Ding, Summer in the City, Christmas in the City, Picnic in the Park, Christmas parade, Fourth of July parade, even the Memorial Day parade THIS YEAR!!! Everything is presented gung-ho, lasts a few years, starts bringing in fewer and fewer people, and, before you know it, it's gone!!!!
Before we know it, baseball will be added to the list, if we don't find out how to fix it!
Are we, as a city, going to be known as "the fizzle", or can we re-invent ourselves as the "comeback kid"???
Only time will tell, and we don't have much of that left!

Jul 30, 2010, 4:35pm Permalink
Greg Corbelli

I do not live in Batavia anymore due to being in the military, but we still try to come back to visit once a year. When we do we take in a ball game. What I have done and what other individuals can do if they cannot make it to any games is; purchase tickets and have the Muckdogs office distribute them to those less fortunate. I received a great letter from the organization the Muckdog gave the tickets that I purchased too thanking me. Was I expecting that? No. I was just happy to hear some individuals were able to go out to Dwyer Stadium and enjoy a game.

Jul 30, 2010, 5:02pm Permalink
Bea McManis

When my Florida family was here a few weeks ago, it was one thing that was a must on the agenda.
My son, his two boys and I took advantage of the four pack, four tickets, four hots, soft drinks and the program. It was reasonable entertainment for the night.

Jul 30, 2010, 5:07pm Permalink
bud prevost

Sadly, I think pro baseball in Batavia is doomed. Let's face it, Rochester Community Baseball is not going to keep losing money, especially on a team that isn't in the same farm system. I've been to a few games, and it is enjoyable. However, baseball fans can watch pretty much any major league team they want on cable or satellite. Catch a game this season, cause it's probably your last chance :(

Jul 30, 2010, 6:11pm Permalink
John Roach

I think Bud is right. I've been to a few games this year, and had a good time.

But unless Genesee County wants to give financial support to keep baseball here, I think the team will leave.

Jul 30, 2010, 6:17pm Permalink
Bernie Thompson

Usually make 4 or 5 games each season and would have to admit it's kind of enjoyable.They have 14 home games in August, so in show of support for Our Team,Our City and Our Community I plan on being at all but the two Sunday games.We all know and understand that one more in attendance will not make a difference,but it's a start! I would hate see Baseball leave Batavia.

Jul 30, 2010, 7:34pm Permalink
Gabor Deutsch

I love Baseball except for Pete Rose and the recent steroid scandal. I will always root for the home team.

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Jul 30, 2010, 7:34pm Permalink

Everything as usual comes down to the almighty dollar. Rochester needs to make money on the Muckdogs, the fans need money to attend the games, the city needs money for upkeep on the stadium and on and on.
Alot of people here in this area, don't have the extra money for the luxury of going to a ballgame, or any form of entertainment as far as that goes. It's happening all over the country. Watch a ballgame on tv. Anyone hits a home run, most of the time the ball falls into empty seats. The camera scans the outfield, whole sections of seats are empty.
At the recent Nascar race at Indianapolis, the second biggest race of the year, hundreds and hundreds of empty seats. People just don't have the extra money.
I know Batavia is at the bottom of the food chain, so to speak, as far as pro ball goes, but I think people have become disenchanted with athletes in general also. We constantly hear about all the bazillion dollar contracts, our heroes that fall from grace with their off field antics, the steroid thing, etc etc.
Good old Batavia isn't the "Community of Opportunity" anymore either. Take a ride around, lots of empty buildings, and lately, alot of empty houses.
If the Muckdogs survive, fine. If they don't, its just a fact of life. A sign of the times.

Jul 31, 2010, 1:54am Permalink
Carol Foster

Russ, a lot of people must have read your article, because the stadium was filled last night! And what a game they saw! The bats were sure hot (after the first inning)and you could feel the excitement in the air! These who left before the end sure missed an exciting ninth and tenth inning Could have gone either way, but, luckily, Batavia held on.
Perhaps you should write something before each Friday's home game and see if the fans show some more spirit!

Jul 31, 2010, 5:26pm Permalink
Bea McManis

I'm so sorry I missed the game. Dennis and Lu went and came back all excited about those last few innings.
Russ does a heck of a job generating excitement, both on here and on FaceBook.
Hoping to catch a game next week when they are home.

Jul 31, 2010, 6:14pm Permalink

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