JAMESTOWN – Professional baseball has had a presence in Jamestown for 75 years, but if the city wants to continue to keep a single A team, it will need the support of the entire community. That’s according Jamestown Mayor Sam Teresi, who admits it’s going to be a struggle and a challenge to keep the Jamestown Jammers in town – but it can happen.
During a recent interview with WRFA, Teresi said there are only 150 markets in North America that have professional baseball. He also said that Jamestown ranks among the smallest – not only when compared to other markets across the country, but also within the New York Penn-League.
“We are the equivalent of the Green Bay Packers of the New York-Penn League. Twenty years ago we were one of the larger markets within short season, Single A baseball. Now we’re among the smallest markets.”
Not long ago, Jamestown was the ideal market in the New York-Penn League. But during the past two decades, there’s been a push by much larger markets in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio and elsewhere to have their own team.
“Places like Brooklyn, Staten Island, Aberdeen, Maryland, the [Albany] area with the Tri-City Valley Cats, and Youngstown Ohio – these are the places that are now in the league. It’s difficult for us to compete with those areas and there’s other bigger areas out there trying to poach and steel what we already have here in Jamestown,” said Teresi.
The mayor also said that it’s not impossible for Jamestown to compete, but it will require commitment from the entire community.
“It is going to be a struggle. It’s going to be a combination of showing that there is continued corporate, community and fan-based support for this team,” Teresi explained, adding, “Also maintaining the facility up to the minimum standards of professional baseball – which our facility meets – but the unofficial standards of what has become the criteria throughout the New York Penn League.”
The Jamestown Jammers are currently a minor league affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Recent reports have said, however, that Pirates may want to relocate the team to Morgantown WV. Even if that were to happen, there’s still a chance the Jammers could stay in town and simply change affiliation to another major league team.
A recent economic impact study found that the Jamestown Jammers help to generate more than $3.4 million for the local economy on an annual basis. Gate receipts have totaled an estimated $92,000 per year and concessions have accounted for an estimated $120,000 a year. The team plays 38 home games a year and leases Russell Diethrick Park from the city at a cost of $15,000 annually.
The first pitch of the 2014 season is this Friday night at Diethrick Park. For more information on the team visit JamestownJammers.com.