If you're an avid Marlins Low-A New York Penn-League fan, this offseason could not have been any worse for you. The Marlins were abandoned by Jamestown and sent to the least popular team in the league. Batavia has a historic but rundown ballpark and consistently finishes last in the league in attendance. However, in the big picture, this move won't make a huge difference and I imagine with their long-term history in Batavia, the housing and hosts provided by the Batavia community should be outstanding.
As I wrote back at the end of September, Batavia has a great tight-knit community around the team but stills struggles to draw more than 1,000 fans per game. However, there are many legitimate reasons why one would want to watch a baseball game in Batavia. First, tickets range anywhere from six to eight dollars, with many discounted price nights. Second, Batavia has a rich minor-league baseball history dating back to the 1930's. Last but not least, the NYPL has plenty of talented players and always provides for an intriguing viewing experience.
Some minor league ballparks can dramatically affect a player's numerical success due to their park factors. Dwyer Stadium is one of those ballparks. With a 325 foot distance to both foul poles and 400 feet to center field, Dwyer has earned its reputation as one of the most pitcher-friendly ballparks in the NYPL. Coming from a Jamestown ballpark that was well-known for its ability to boost hitters stats, Marlins prospects are in for a big surprise next season.
Miami Marlins farm director Brian Chattin had this to say in the press release: "The Miami Marlins are very excited to begin an affiliation with the Batavia Muckdogs. With its rich baseball history, supportive front office and loyal fan base, Batavia will be the ideal place for our players and staff to call home each summer. The Marlins are proud to have Batavia as our player development partner and look forward to a long and productive partnership together."
What Chattin did not say is that that relationship is going to have to be productive in order for it to be long. If the Marlins do not feel Batavia is a great place to have a Low-A team after 2014, they will be on to the next place.