Sunday, November 4, 2007

NEW HAVEN: PRO SPORTS GHOST TOWN

I see that the New Haven County Cutters have ceased operation.

Who?

Yeh, most folks didn't even know they existed. The Cutters, members of the independent Can-Am League managed by Berlin's Mike Church, moved into Yale Field after the Eastern League's New Haven Ravens moved to Manchester, N.H. in 2004. They attracted painfully few fans to the historic but archaic ballpark.

Without a major league affiliation, the quality of the baseball in the Can-Am League remains lacking. At least the Bridgeport Bluefish of the Atlantic League bring in some interesting ex-big leaguers, but the novelty there has worn off, too.

There's no replacement for having ballplayers like Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau playing in town, which is one reason why the Rock Cats are thriving like no other minor league franchise in state history. There's also the team's solid commitment to the community through the Rock Cats Foundation, and the hundreds of appearances by team ambassador/mascot Rocky, Rock Cats players and the coaching staff.

As a New Haven native, I am saddened that the people of that area don't embrace the Rock Cats. I truly believe their response would be a lot better if they only knew how easy it was to get to Willow Brook Park from places like Wallingford, Cheshire, North Haven and Hamden.

The New Haven Register reports that 2008 will be the first time in 109 years that Greater New Haven will not have a professional team. In modern times, the area hosted the West Haven Yankees (1972-79), the West Haven Whitecaps (A's affiliate, 1980), the West Haven A's (1981-82) and the New Haven Ravens (1994-2003).

Hockey teams proliferated downtown for years at the old New Haven Arena and then the New Haven Coliseum, but the Arena is now a parking lot and the Coliseum has been razed.

To my old friends in New Haven: join the party at New Britain Stadium in 2008. If you were there this past year, you would have seen Jacoby Ellsbury, Clay Buchholz and Joba Chamberlain play. You would have witnessed visits from Reggie Jackson and Yankees GM Brian Cashman. Haven't you missed enough already?

1 comment:

x man said...

unfortunately, say New Britain and it serves as an anti-Magneto...repelling potential fans. NB is not that bad and you can get finger dripping barbecue behind the Heraldo.