I have since been with USC for three years, and am experiencing in my role in corporate relations exactly what every team in professional baseball (major, minor, Indy) is experiencing.
This economy has taken its toll everywhere. One of you made a comment about 150 players, or so, being out of work if certain teams/leagues don't play in 2011. I don't want to sound insensitive, and any player who knows me or played for me knows that they are extremely important to me, but it is the inevitable, and unfortunate, fact, that what is happening in corporate America has rippled down, big time, to Indy ball, and everywhere else.
Sure, there have been mistakes made by leagues, teams, GM's (this one included), and others, but ultimately, the lack of success at the turnstiles, and in the sponsorships, has had everything to do with the fact that companies are spending less money on sponsorships, families are out of work, and thus spending less, if any at all, money on tickets (even the cheap ones), and concessions. And, as we always put it, and empty seat does not buy a hot dog.
Yet, with all of this going on, the constant in running these teams is the expense. We paid anywhere from $75,000 - $88,000 per year in player salaries in OC in 05, 06, and 07; we paid around $3,000 per GAME to play at Cal State Fullerton (so, do the math...another $90,000 - $135,000 per season). Throw in the costs to play the front office, game day staff, travel costs, insurance, equipment, etc, and trust me...it adds up!
Now, drop sponsorships by 70%, attendance by 25 - 50% (depending on the market), and you can see the REAL reason why these teams, and thus these players, are hurting!
Everyone seems to want to blame the owners, commissioners, presidents, GM's, etc., and certainly we all deserve a share of the blame, but ultimately, this is all going to catch up with all of us!
Can Indy ball survive in this economy? I suppose so, but it all depends on the market, the expenses, and the way in which the communities support and embrace their teams.
I will be the first to raise my hand and say that I want teams like Chico, OC, Yuma, St George, and the others to succeed, but instead of ranting and raving on here, and complaining about this, that, and the other thing, perhaps all of us should spend our time volunteering to support our local team by getting more dollars into the bank for them (sell seats, sponsorships, etc).
Until there is an upswing of a very significant measure in the revenues in these markets, nothing will bring these teams back, and nothing will keep these leagues alive.
Could the people in charge do a better job? Of course, but you know what? So could you, and so could I (in our respective jobs). But not many of us work where others are writing about us in blogs, tearing us apart for personnel decisions, and blasting us in emails.
Sorry to go on and on here, but this has been weighing on my mind for quite some time. I know many of the owners, GM's, and leaders of these leagues, and most are very good, honest, sincere men and women who got into this business because of a passion for the game, and a desire to see it work. These past three years have not been kind to any of them, or any of us.
Cut them slack, and instead of bemoaning the loss of your team, or loss of playing spots for these great young men who are just trying to pursue their dreams, maybe we should log off of our computers, and go do something about it...or at least offer.
In all fairness, I am guessing some of you have done just that, but it takes a community to raise, and care for, a baseball team!
Sorry...as I said, those were just my two cents worth, and were not intended to offend, nor make excuses for, anyone!
I love baseball, and I honor those owners, GM's, players, etc, that are still busting their tails to make this work!
God Bless Them!
Merry Christmas, Everyone!
Orange County Flyers
2005 - 2007
Author, the (retired) Now Official Reno Silver Sox Blog:
Favorite Teams: NL: Arizona Diamondbacks, AL: Baltimore Orioles, AAA: Reno Aces, AA: Bowie Bay Sox, A: Rancho Cucamonga Quakes, Ind: Chico Outlaws
Glad your having fun in Eugene GO DUCKS!