By Matt Noonan
PITTSFIELD, MA – The struggle to put fans in the stands continues to be the biggest challenge facing the Pittsfield Colonials, who lost Tuesday evening to the 2010 CanAm League champion Quebec Capitales, 2-1.
“We’re going to play hard no matter if it’s 20 or 1,000 [spectators], but we’d like there to be a lot of fans out there,” Colonials catcher Chris Torres said. “[Hopefully] the community figures it out and start’s coming.”
“It doesn’t have to be 3,000 people, we’d love to have [that particular number], but the more the merrier. Bring [them] on and there going to see good baseball and these guys are exciting and fun to watch,” Colonials manager Jamie Keefe said.
The Colonials, who rank last in league attendance, could certainly use some help, as well as some old fashion support. They haven’t attracted a true quality fan base, which seems to make many casual supporter of the local team wonder if this particular squad is a good thing for the city of Pittsfield?
“The league is just as adamant about us staying here,” team owner Leslie “Buddy” Lewis stated. “I live here, I want it to stay here, but it is a business and we need [1,200 to 1,300 fans] to break even and [on] a night like [Tuesday], you have 300 to 400 people, it’s hard to put it all together and make sure it works.”
Baseball at Wahconah Park is special. It’s exciting and something everyone should take in at least once in his or her life, but besides its rich culture, it also houses some quality hitting, fielding, catching and pitching, as well as players that aren’t playing for lucrative contracts or endorsements, but instead, the love of the game.
“We’re playing to have fun, we’re playing to win, [but] of course, we want the community here behind us,” Torres said.
“If we can continue to go out there and battle and get good pitching from our side and play good defense, we’re going to win some ball games,” Keefe said.
So, what exactly will it take for the Colonials to acquire more fans? Do they need to win all of their games? Perhaps, win a championship? Again, what is it that they can do to attract more spectators for the rest of the season?
“We’ve reached out to the Little League and girl’s softball players by giving them lanyards and laminated cards with their names on it. We’ve reached out to the senior segment and we hope that now that schools out and Little League has stopped… that it will all work out at the end,” Lewis said.
The Colonials, who are currently parked in fifth place, are certainly a team that shouldn’t be overlooked. They’re [14-11] record may not be the most flattering compared to Quebec [19-6] or Brockton [15-10], but overall, they certainly seem determined to win every game on their schedule.
“The team itself, it’s a continuum of last year,” Lewis said. “If you remember the chemistry of this team last year was so great and we have half the kids back and the kids from last year really set the tone… this group is really great. I always tell them, I love [them]. I do, they’re all like sons to me and it’s really fun kind of being with them.”
“Obviously we’d like to have a lot more wins under our belt, but we’re playing pretty good baseball right now, we’re playing hard,” Keefe said. “All you can ask for is give yourself a chance in that last inning. You’ve got to get 27-outs against this team and if you don’t, we’re going to get [you].”
Pittsfield and Quebec will return to the diamond on Wednesday, first pitch is scheduled for 5:00pm eastern.