The Worcester Bravehearts (summer collegiate; Futures League) begin play tonight on the road before a home opener tomorrow night at Hanover Insurance Park at Fitton Field.
As you’ll recall, pro baseball in the form of the Worcester Tornadoes (independent; Can-Am League) flamed out spectacularly in 2011, with the team locked out of its offices and removed from Fitton Field. After talks with the Can-Am League and the startup Diamond League, the decision was made to eschew the pro game and instead work with the Futures League and a local owner, John W.S. Creedon, Jr., on a lease for 2014 and beyond.
Those efforts come to fruition today and tomorrow. The addition of Worcester puts the Futures League in pretty good shape in terms of markets: the North Shore Navigators, Nashua Silver Knights, Pittsfield Suns, Brockton Rox and Old Orchard Beach Raging Tide play in former MiLB and indy facilities, including some historic ballparks — like Wahconah Park and Holman Stadium — that would be endangered without the presence of summer-collegiate ball. (Indeed, saving old ballparks is a central core of the summer-collegiate business model.)
That business model should serve the Bravehearts well, per the Worcester Telegram:
Whereas Maryland businessman Todd Breighner served as an absentee owner of the Tornadoes in their final years, John Creedon Sr. and Jr., owners of Creedon Co. Inc., a Worcester catering and tent rental company, plan to be hands-on owners of the Bravehearts. The corporate partners that Breighner burned trust the Creedons.
“To have a family like the Creedons running this operation means a lot,” said GM Dave Peterson, “because they’ve been in business here in the city for 30 years now, and they understand the fabric of the Worcester community. It’s not like we’re trying to take a business plan from the state of Maryland and apply it in Massachusetts.”
Unlike the Tornadoes, the Bravehearts own the concession rights. According to Peterson, John Sr. plans to work the concession booths to make sure the food is prepared properly and the lines aren’t too long.
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