Support Grows for Baseball Team

OUR VIEW: Welcome Our Team, the Bay Sox
New Bedford Standard-Times
December 17, 2008

Mayor Scott Lang formally announces the New Bedford Bay Sox at the End Zone restaurant on Coggeshall St in the north end of New Bedford. The New Bedford Bay Sox are a new NECBL team that will call New Bedford home. Photo Peter Pereira/The Standard-Times

Baseball lovers, get your peanuts and Cracker Jack ready for the Bay Sox, the collegiate summer league team Mayor Scott W. Lang plans to announce today. If New Bedford is going to host a team, it can only do so with the support of fans from around SouthCoast.
Mayor Lang and his staff deserve a cheer from the crowd for their successful effort to bring a ball team here, especially baseball. In Red Sox country, no sport is more loved. Although the mayor previously lobbied for a team in the Cape Cod League, known as an incubator for future big leaguers, the Bay Sox’ membership in the New England Collegiate Baseball League gives the city exposure in all six New England states.
Also in line for a cheer are Robin Wadsworth and Rita Hubner, co-owners of the Torrington Twisters, the team that will be renamed when they move it here next year. They shopped for a new home for the team after what The Register Citizen, a newspaper that covers Torrington, Conn., described as difficult lease negotiations with Torrington that ended bitterly. Ms. Wadworth told The Standard-Times Tuesday that she and Ms. Hubner believe New Bedford has “community pride second to none” and is well-positioned to survive the economic meltdown. We couldn’t agree more.
And of course, the all-female ownership, truly unusual in baseball, will set a great example for SouthCoast girls. The owners have attended every home game since buying the Twisters in April, according to the team Web site. Each has a career in the Boston financial world, Ms. Wadsworth at Fair Isaac Corp. and Ms. Hubner at State Street Corp. The latter has a strong SouthCoast connection, too: She has spent summers in Wareham for decades.
The team sponsors baseball camps for children, and Ms. Wadsworth said they plan to hold a contest for New Bedford kids to pick a mascot. What a wonderful way to get the community involved from the beginning.
Having a collegiate team will bring people to the city who will eat in our restaurants and use local lodging. The league has 12 teams, and it hosts visiting teams as well. The USA Baseball national collegiate team plays exhibition games against all the teams in the league, and this year, China’s Olympic team visited the Twisters prior to the Olympic Games.
Despite the doomed lease negotiations in Connecticut, the Bay Sox owners did not come to New Bedford on the cheap.
They will pay more to play here than any other team in the league pays their host community, Ms. Wadsworth said, though she was not ready to disclose the amount.
It looks like the arrangement is a good deal for the city and SouthCoast all around — good, affordable family fun, coupled with positive economic development.
If you really want to get in on the excitement, catch the press conference today at the End Zone at 2:30, where former Red Sox General Manager Dan Duquette will introduce the owners.
Then get ready to watch the Bay Sox next summer. The team will need fan support to help build a long and productive relationship with New Bedford and the SouthCoast region.
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