It has not been all baseball and apple pies for minor league teams in the Northeast. A long, cold and wet winter extended into April, then creeped into May for many teams in the International and Eastern leagues—including the Syracuse Chiefs. So perhaps it’s a sign that spring has finally arrived to see the Chiefs atop the minor league attendance leaderboard yesterday.
Syracuse drew 12,269 fans to NBT Bank Stadium yesterday, easily the biggest crowd in the minors and well above the ballpark’s listed capacity of 11,671. The attraction for the Chiefs? You guessed it, an Education Day promotion. (Hmm, where have we heard that one before?)
Art Silber has had plenty of chances — and reasons — to give up on his dream of a new ballpark for the Potomac Nationals. For more than two decades, Silber has rolled out replacement plans for Pfitzner Stadium, the P-Nats’ ballpark in Northern Virginia that has been considered out-of-date for just as long, only to see each project collapse.
Silber said he will soon announce a new proposal for a ballpark, a little over a year after his latest — and most promising — bid fell through. Silber said he has been in talks with several Northern Virginia communities interested in hosting his Carolina League franchise. He plans to announce his new project in the next 60 to 90 days.
Silber wouldn’t reveal the locations he’s considering, however last summer he called Fredericksburg, Va., a “very viable” market, according to the Free Lance-Star. Fredericksburg has previously flirted with other minor league teams, including as a landing spot for the Hagerstown Suns in 2014.
Silber, a Brooklyn native and lifelong Jackie Robinson fan who used to wear No. 42 while coaching first base for the P-Nats, remains optimistic about building a new ballpark — even if history has given him reasons to not be. “I’m 77 now. I believe that we will celebrate my 80th birthday in a new ballpark.”