2008-01-16

Why Can't Athens Have a Minor League Baseball Team?

One of my dreams over the years has been waking up one morning and finding out that minor league baseball had come to town. Well it is coming, but to the wrong town. The Atlanta Braves are moving their AAA team from Richmond, VA to Gwinnett County. While this all sounds wow on paper, thhink about the numbers:

Cost to Build Stadium: $45,000,000
Braves lease at $250K/year for 30 years: 7,500,000

Taxpayer Tab: $37,500,000!!!

I cannot imagine the economic impact and related taxes will make up that bill, so for the sake of Gwinnett taxpayers, I hope they find alternate use for the stadium.

Meanwhile, Athens already has a stadium at the University of Georgia, and absolutely NOTHING going on during the summer. Would it not be great if we could have our own Class A or AA team in town. Wouldn't it be great if UGA would allow that to happen?

If I am going to go to Foley field and get really bad headaches trying to watch the game through the black netting, I would rather hear the crack of a wooden bat than the ping of aluminum. I do not want to have to drive to Gwinnett or Rome for that. I already have to for my annual minor league hockey fix.

There are a lot of people in Athens from the economically depressed area of Binghamton, NY (located upstate just above the Pennsylvania line). People like almost all of the members of 5-8 (Mike Mantione went to school there though), the owners of Cutter's Pub downtown, and many more. The metro area population of Binghamton is roughly the same as Athens. Yet, they have minor league hockey AND minor leauge baseball. AND they are hosting the American Hockey league All-Start Classic this month! (The AHL is the AAA of hockey)



There is no way we are going to build a hockey arena here unless it is included as part of a new Stegeman coliseum (hint, hint). But we do have Foley Field. Would it not be great one lazy summer evening to head down to the stadium, sit back with a beer, friends, and family and listen to the cracking bats of players trying to make it to the show? Even better, it would give the University of Georgia Athletic Association Basketball promotions staff extra practice at runny silly promotions to fill the stadium.

Wow, wouldn't that be a dream? So, if we were to have a hockey team and baseball team, what would the names be and how would you design the logos?

1 comment:

Tim said...

Now here is a topic I can really get into! I am a Diamond Dogs season ticket holder and have been attending games at Foley since I was a third grader up the hill at Barrow Elementary. I really love Foley, particularly since its been spruced up. I also really enjoy minor league baseball, in fact I'd rather see a low AA game than go to Turner to watch the Braves.
I don't know how UGA would handle having Foley used for a minor league team after the Dog's season is over, but I think thats a great idea. I will leave the logo design to others, as I have no artistic abilities at all, but I would suggest the Athens Crackers as the name. That would be a nod to the old Atlanta Crackers and would tie in nicely to the old Sally League of that era.
I'd buy those season tickets along with my Diamond Dogs season tickets!