The Futures League has once against honored the Worcester Bravehearts, as the summer collegiate circuit has named the club its 2017 Organization of the Year.
Futures League Commissioner Chris Hall announced that the Worcester Bravehearts received the league’s top distinction for the third time in their four years of existence. Since 2014, the Bravehearts have continually ranked at the top of the Futures League and near the top of the country in attendance. In the 2017 season, the Bravehearts’ average attendance of 2,356 fans per game was good for first in the Futures League, first among all New England collegiate teams, and seventh in the country among 153 summer collegiate baseball teams. The team’s overall attendance of 65,957 was also first in New England and eighth in the country, according to Ballpark Digest.
On the field, the team advanced to the championship series for the fourth-consecutive season before falling to the Nashua Silver Knights.
“The Worcester Bravehearts have proven to be one of the best franchises— not just in New England but the entire country,” said Futures League Commissioner, Chris Hall. “They continually provide their fans with outstanding customer service, excellent food, fun music and just an overall wonderful family experience.”
For the Bravehearts and the Futures League, the 2017 season was also highlighted by visits from Team USA and Team Japan to the City of Worcester. The two national teams from both countries were based in Worcester from July 10 to July 18 for a series of exhibition games around New England. With the support of Worcester State University and the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Bravehearts were able to arrange for these top athletes in the world to stay and train on campus at Worcester State University between their slate of games that included a matchup at Hanover Insurance Park at Fitton Field. The week also included a youth baseball clinic with players from each team hosted by Worcester State University in mid-July.
With the help of Mayor Joe Petty and Jonathan Church at the Worcester Regional Transit Authority, the Bravehearts also reintroduced a long-lost tradition of celebrating opening day for the city’s youth baseball and softball teams on April 29th. The team’s first annual Worcester Youth Baseball and Softball Spree Day coincided with the Bravehearts’ Fan Fest and brought all ten of the city’s Little Leagues together for a parade down Fitton Ave on the campus of the College of the Holy Cross. Special guest, Trot Nixon of the Boston Red Sox, welcomed the players and provided a powerful message of support to the volunteer coaches and parents during the ceremony as well.
“It’s exciting to see what we’ve accomplished in four seasons,” said Bravehearts General Manager Dave Peterson. “In the fall of 2013 we were a two-person staff working out of a tiny electrical closet, and now we have a full sales team and employ 40 people each summer who have one common goal: to make sure fans leave our ballpark with smiles on their faces. Each night I think about how lucky we are that the City of Worcester has embraced this team since its inception. We don’t win this award without that kind of support from our city.”
The Bravehearts also won the Futures League Organization of the Year Award in 2014 and 2016.