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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Daily Star: Tigers leaving Oneonta

Sellers’ remorse?

You can’t blame Sam Nader and Sid Levine for having a lot of that now.

Nader and Levine said they received calls from Prentice on Wednesday, notifying them that the minor-league franchise they started in 1966 and ran through 2008 was leaving to play at Dodd Stadium in Norwich, Conn., this summer.

“I have great memories and they can’t take those away from me,” said Nader, who along with Levine and eight other investors pooled $10,000 together to form the Oneonta Athletic Corp. in 1966 to bring minor league baseball to Damaschke Field.

Asked if he knew then what he knows now about Prentice and his ownership group, if he’d have had second thoughts about selling the team, Nader said, “Absolutely.”

...Levine said he thought there might be a penalty for breaking the clause.

But, Levine added, “They bought the team and we can’t tell them what to do with it. We thought we had an agreement that they would stay, but you can’t trust anyone anymore.”

Thanks to Barnald.

Repoz Posted: January 28, 2010 at 11:32 AM | 23 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: minor leagues, tigers

Reader Comments and Retorts

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   1. RMc's Unenviable Situation Posted: January 28, 2010 at 12:16 PM (#3448509)
In 2009, the O-Tigers drew 23,521 fans, an average of 692 for a ballpark that seats around 4,000. They were last in the 14-team New York-Penn League in attendance.

"I can understand the move," Nader said. "The support hasn't been that great and it hasn't been that great for a long time. (The new owners') goals and objectives are far different than me and Sid. For me and my family, it's a sad day. I think professional baseball is done in the city of Oneonta ... and that's it."

It's always sad to see baseball die in a small town. But, as Yogi said, if people don't want to come to the ballpark, there's no way to stop them.
   2. GGC Posted: January 28, 2010 at 01:26 PM (#3448522)
Thanks for the blog fodder, Repoz. I try and write something most weekdays before work and my mind was blank this morning.
   3. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: January 28, 2010 at 02:49 PM (#3448565)
I assumed Oneonta was still a Yankees farm team--I had no idea it had switched affiliations

(I'm only 10 years behind the times)
   4. GGC Posted: January 28, 2010 at 02:52 PM (#3448571)
(I'm only 10 years behind the times)

You're in luck. next year, in '01, there's gonna be a site unveiled called Baseball Primer. We can gas about the National Pastime all day.
   5. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: January 28, 2010 at 02:59 PM (#3448578)
you're kidding!!--I'll mo' def-nit-lee keep an eye out for it
   6. HowardMegdal Posted: January 28, 2010 at 03:01 PM (#3448582)
I still miss baseball in Pittsfield, MA.
   7. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 28, 2010 at 03:05 PM (#3448588)

I assumed Oneonta was still a Yankees farm team--I had no idea it had switched affiliations

I always associate with the Yanks too because of pictures of John Elway in a Oneonta Yanks uni.
   8. will Posted: January 28, 2010 at 03:12 PM (#3448595)
What I liked about this team, was that it was 20 miles or so from Cooperstown, so you could go see baseball at night, after a day at the Hall of Fame. If I recall, the ballpark was built in the 1930s, by FDR's Works Project Administration program....wood, bench bleachers. I was only there 3 times, but this news makes me sad.

Can't imagine the team ever being replaced. The park is too old, and the town is too small to support new construction of a minor league park.
   9. SoSH U at work Posted: January 28, 2010 at 03:19 PM (#3448603)
I always associate with the Yanks too because of pictures of John Elway in a Oneonta Yanks uni.

I always associate Oneonta with the Yankees due to my visit to the Hall of Fame in 1981. That year's Hall of Fame game featured the Oneonta Yankees taking on the Elmira-Pioneer Red Sox (a minor labor dispute got in the way of two big league clubs squaring off in the now-departed summer tilt).
   10. Bwef Posted: January 28, 2010 at 03:44 PM (#3448628)
There's still the Tri-City Valley Cats in Troy. You can spend the day in Cooperstown and get back to Albany in about an hour.
   11. Der Komminsk-sar Posted: January 28, 2010 at 03:49 PM (#3448639)
i thought batavia might be the one to go
   12. GGC Posted: January 28, 2010 at 03:53 PM (#3448644)
I remember reading Roger Kahn's Good Enough TO Dream. It was about the year he owned the Utica team. The NYPL had teams in towns I never heard of and I read maps for fun as a kid. Newark, NY?
   13. Stormy JE wanted to milk the soft power dividend Posted: January 28, 2010 at 04:06 PM (#3448652)
There's still the Tri-City Valley Cats in Troy. You can spend the day in Cooperstown and get back to Albany in about an hour.

The Yankees played in Albany-Colonie as late as '94. (I remember seeing Bernie and Gerald Williams play while attending SUNY.) Does anyone know if the field is still standing, let alone being used?
   14. alkeiper Posted: January 28, 2010 at 04:06 PM (#3448653)
I have a soft spot for the NY-Penn League. Every year I make the two hour trip to Williamsport to watch the Crosscutters play. It amazes me that for all the attention the Little League World Series gets, there's an over 80 year old minor league ballpark that goes unnoticed a couple miles up the road. Sometimes nothing beats a no-frills baseball experience. Frequently when there's a local college or organization sponsoring the night, you can get in for free.
   15. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: January 28, 2010 at 04:28 PM (#3448674)
I always heard that Oneonta was the smallest town with a minor-league team above the rookie level. (That is, the smallest town that isn't just a suburb of a bigger town)

What would that be now? Auburn? Batavia? Kinston?
   16. Gamingboy Posted: January 28, 2010 at 05:33 PM (#3448731)
Oneonta was the closest team to Cooperstown. This likely means the end to the yearly NYP game in Cooperstown on HOF weekend. Wonder what the closest one is now (Auburn?)
   17. depletion Posted: January 28, 2010 at 06:36 PM (#3448804)
If NYP league teams can't survive in Utica (65,000 pop.), what chance do they have in little Oneonta?
   18. Lassus Posted: January 28, 2010 at 06:48 PM (#3448819)

Also, Cal RipTeam took the Blue Sox from Utica. It was a bit ago, but I don't recall if it was as much of a "We're leaving, whoever the hell buys us" as much as a "Hmmm... I want a team, how about this one?"

Although, that may be bitterness, I wasn't in the area at the time, perhaps they were up for sale for awhile.

i thought batavia might be the one to go

Might end up both, sadly.
   19. larkin4HoF Posted: January 29, 2010 at 09:35 AM (#3449525)
I wanted to see the ballpark so i did a search and found this amazing site. not sure how well known it is, so I thought I would post it
   20. RMc's Unenviable Situation Posted: January 29, 2010 at 01:14 PM (#3449561)
Smallest TV markets with pro baseball teams:

Helena, MT
San Angelo, TX (independent)
Great Falls, MT
Laredo, TX (independent)
Bowling Green, KY
Alexandria, LA (independent)
Jackson, TN
Quincy, IL-Hannibal, MO-Keokuk, IA (independent)
Billings, MT
Missoula, MT

These ten markets have a combined 813,000 TV homes, or about the size of San Antonio.

Oneonta is apparently considered part of the Rochester market, so they're not listed. With a population of just 13,292 (and students from SUNY-Oneonta and Hartwick College make up a big chunk of that), it's obvious Oneonta couldn't support pro ball any longer.
   21. alkeiper Posted: January 29, 2010 at 02:01 PM (#3449582)
The New Jersey Cardinals played in a township of a little over 5,000 people. The closest city has a population around 8,000. They no longer hold the NY-Penn franchise, but they still operate a Can-Am team.
   22. Der Komminsk-sar Posted: January 29, 2010 at 02:44 PM (#3449605)
19: I was going to recommend this site, but it looks like its owner got engaged to the owner of the site you linked; neat! Both are good. (Incidentally, here's the former's page on the old Albany-Colonie park ... it's dead (the park, not the link).)
This was a good one too - haven't been there recently, though - so I can't speak for its status.

I re-read Good Enough to Dream this past summer, after bumping into one of the book's characters while at a Durham game. It holds up well.

Personally, I think a number of those tiny town NYP teams should slide over to better markets, as obviously has been happening for some time (pet notion: move someone to Quebec City!). I now await your boos.
   23. Der Komminsk-sar Posted: January 29, 2010 at 03:03 PM (#3449620)
Two more: this guy quit updating, but has nice stuff and this one has lots of nice big pictures and gets into the cities' relationships w/ pro ball a bit.

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