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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

End of the Road(Runners)

Good article from The Spectrum, the local newspaper in St. George, regarding the end of the road for the RoadRunners.

Loss of a team

Summers will be just a little less exciting in St. George and the surrounding area. Bruce Hurst Field at Dixie State College won't be home to the sounds of baseballs cracking off wooden bats. We won't hear cheers.

The Roadrunners, a minor-league baseball team that had played in St. George the past three summers, announced last week that it will cease operations here. Despite a shoe-string budget and growing fan support, owners simply couldn't make the team profitable. The loss of some sponsors because of the poor economy proved to be too much for the team to weather.

The Roadrunners came on the scene in 2007 and, to be honest, had a difficult time building a fan base because of how badly the team played. But the ownership proved that it wanted to build a winning franchise by continually changing personnel throughout that first year and into the next.

Then, in 2009, the team posted a 48-34 record and qualified for the playoffs in the Golden Baseball League. Attendance grew to 1,168 people per game, but that only ranked eighth out of nine teams in terms of average fans per game. Too many empty seats this year will equate to an empty stadium next year. That's sad.

It's true that not everyone is a fan of the game of baseball. America's pastime has been said to be too slow to keep the attention of people in today's fast-paced world. But a look at the faces in the stands at Hurst Field last year shows that old and young alike came together to enjoy a game at a reasonable price. Fathers and sons, mothers and daughters - and don't forget grandparents - would come together to cheer on the team and enjoy the atmosphere.

Especially in 2009, it wasn't too difficult to see Roadrunners apparel being worn by residents as we traveled to the grocery store or the mall. People wore those items with pride. Little did they know at the time that those shirts and hats would become relics.

Indeed, the loss of the Roadrunners leaves a void in St. George and the region.

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