Take That!: Capitol Region Fans Love Minor League Baseball

Michael GwizdalaContributor ISeptember 4, 2009

Considering that I am usually the advocate of the Capital Region having a Double-A or Triple-A franchise, I'd like to thank the Tri-City ValleyCats organization and the fans of this area for proving my point, that 15 years after the Albany Colonie Yankees left town, minor league baseball can thrive in this area.  

Put this into perspective, the TCVC's averaged 4,293 per game in 2009, 145,976 overall, most (and in the case of some season's more) in this area since the Double-A AC Yanks in the early 1990's.  If one averaged that over a regular long season minor league home schedule of 70 home dates, the ValleyCats would have totaled 300,510 fans on the season!  That amount would have been the most in this area since the AC Yanks drew over 316,034 fans in 1986!

Now say what you will about poor early spring weather (around these parts we call that July!) but one also has to factor in just how many more fans could've packed "The Joe" with a higher level of talent, at least a competitive team with possibly a different parent club and possibly expanded seating to accommodate more people  

Additionally take this into account, the ValleyCats on average outdrew half of the 12 team Eastern League.  This includes the Binghamton Mets and the Norwich team which is dead last in attendance.  Of course you'll recall Norwich is where the Yankees initially moved their Double-A team to from Albany before eventually landing where they are now in Trenton.  Tri-City also beats out the Bowie Baysox and Harrisburg Senators who were both around back in 1994 when the AC Yanks were still around.

To the ValleyCats' credit, considering the losing of the last three years and the way attendance has only grown leaps and bounds, the organization should be applauded.  The NY Penn League is comprised of mostly college ballplayers making their first go-round in professional ball.  While some franchises spend a lot more on prospects than others, it is mostly a crap-shoot.  Virtually everyone is in the same boat and unlike other levels there aren't reinforcements coming when guys get hurt or called up.

That having been said, after crunching all the numbers and listing out all the facts, if you still don't believe this area should have and can support at least a Double-A team, you are either lying, have ulterior motives or just plain don't want that or any kind of minor league baseball to succeed in this area. 

And if you don't believe we can get back to a higher level of professional ball after such a long hiatus, I have one analogy and five words for you: Adirondack Phantoms AHL hockey club.