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Decision on future of Norwich market due by middle of October

A NY-Penn League team will definitely be moving into Norwich's Dodd Stadium, according to league insiders, and an Oct. 7 meeting of league directors will approve a team for a move.

A NY-Penn League team will definitely be moving into Norwich's Dodd Stadium, according to league insiders, and an Oct. 7 meeting of the league's Board of Directors will approve a team for a move.

We've been told for months that the team on the move will be the Jamestown Jammers, owned by Rich Entertainment Group, which also owns the Buffalo Bisons (Class AAA; International League) and the Northwest Arkansas Naturals (Class AA; Texas League). There may have been a softening of that decision in recent weeks, however; Ray Pecor, the owner of the Vermont Lake Monsters, has also reportedly expressed strong interest in the market.

We don't envy NY-Penn League Ben Hayes on this hard decision. There are a number of teams in the circuit that could do with a change of scenery: Jamestown draws only 1,400 fans a game, while Batavia draws considerably fewer. By contrast, the Lake Monsters draw a respectable 2,548 fans a game to a subpar facility. Does trading Burlington, where fans are working on funding a Centennial Field renovation, for Norwich really strengthen the league? If the goal is to help the weaker franchises in the circuit, then Hayes has a clear decision. We're also guessing that many in Minor League Baseball would rather not lose the Burlington market: you can bet that the independent Can-Am Association will be at the University of Vermont's doorstep the day after a move is announced. Burlington is not a market that will lie fallow a la Richmond unless a replacement team is promised.

So the next few weeks will be interesting for fans of short-season ballpark and quirky, lovable markets like Burlington.

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