Minor League Dominos
Our condolences go out to the fans of the Berkshire Black Bears, the Northeast League team which played its inaugural season last summer at Wahconah Park in Pittsfield, as the team has apparently decided to relocate to New Haven, CT. New Haven, of course, recently lost its AA Eastern League Ravens (Blue Jays) to Manchester NH (now the New Hampshire Fisher Cats - see link on this page.) Both New Haven and Berkshire finished last in attendance in their respective leagues (according to league sources):
- the New Haven Ravens (79-63) drew 140,922 in 62 home dates, for an average of 2,273, while winning their division and contending in the Eastern League Finals.
- The Berkshire Black Bears (20-26) drew a total of only 43,846 in 45 openings, or just 974 fans per game average. Contrast that to the Brockton Rox, drawing an average of over 3,500 per game, though in a new stadium and in a bigger population pool.
Pittsfield has had so many teams come and go in the last several decades that you wonder if Wahconah Park, built in 1892, is still viable as a professional baseball site. According to the team site (which has not commented on the move, though the league site has), the teams in Pittsfield have been:
- New York League -- 1894
- Hudson River League -- 1905
- Eastern Association -- 1913-14
- Eastern League -- 1919-30, 1965-76, 1985-88
- Canadian-American League -- 1941-42, 1946-51
- New York-Penn League -- 1989-2001
- Northern League -- 2002
- Northeast League -- 2003-present
Anyway, we wish the Black Bears and their new fans well, whatever their new name is, in New Haven. If we get a chance, we will get down there for a game in 2004.
As for Wahconah Park, this site should be bought by Major League Baseball and converted into a historic landmark, with occasional visits by various minor league teams for charity benefit exhibitions or Old Timer Games. It should be saved, and, celebrated - not abandoned.