Miami has had their Low-A affiliate play in Jamestown since 2002. Recently, the news came out that Jamestown had signed a two year contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates. For the first time in over ten years, the Marlins will not have an affiliate in Jamestown.
Russell Diethrick Jr. Park is the second-oldest stadium in the New York-Penn League. With a seating capacity of oinly 3,000, it is becoming increasing difficult for Jamestown to draw attendance numbers like Brooklyn, for example. In 2012, Jamestown ranked second-worst in the NYPL with an average attendance of just 1,031. Last year their attendance was down compared to 2011, but it was still their third-consecutive year with the second-lowest attendance in the NYPL. By leaving Jamestown, Miami will look for a better baseball environment and stadium. However, they are quickly running out of options.
With the Pirates in Jamestown, one has to wonder where the Marlins are going to play next year. The most obvious place would be Batavia, which is without a team for the 2013 season. In my humble opinion, Batavia is without a doubt the worst place to play baseball in all of the New York-Penn League. Dwyer Stadium holds only 2,600 people and was the only stadium to average fewer fans per game than Jamestown.
Batavia is special in that it is a community owned franchise. This is very cool considering what most baseball team owners look like nowadays. However, that is not to say that there are not many things wrong with Dwyer Stadium and the management.
First of all, from across the street, Dwyer Stadium looks like an IHOP with no windows. There is ugly teal trim surrounding a stadium with only one entrance. If you look at MCU Park in Brooklyn's exterior and compare it with Dwyer Stadium's, it becomes very clear which stadium draws more fans. With that said, Brooklyn has a lot larger population than Batavia's mere 15,000 people.
Dwyer Stadium is not that much different than most northeastern high school baseball fields except that it has more seating and bigger dimensions. Batavia has an old ballpark, but it seems more dumpy than nostalgic. Even for a NYPL stadium, Dwyer Stadium appears to be deprived of enthusiasm for the game. Batavia is a fun little town that deserves better than an outdated ballpark. In fact, if I had to give three words to describe the Dwyer Stadium experience I would choose homey, outdated, and rugged. If you truly love the game, you will not have a problem with watching games in Batavia and the fans there seem very friendly. However, I do not expect a Marlins' team to be able to pull this team out of their attendance issues.
Stay tuned to Fish Stripes to find out where the Marlins are going to play Low-A baseball in 2013.