When the Batavia MuckDogs did not get an invitation by one of the MLB clubs last month, it was another New York-Penn League whose future was not clear. Today, the city announced it will join the Perfect Game Collegiate League.
Former pro hockey player in the American Hockey League and International Hockey League, the 56-year-old Robbie Nichols presented his plans for owning a collegiate league team to the city council of Batavia, NY. Apparently the city council liked what it saw as it approved the plan. Now the city will start setting up operations in the former minor league town.
Nichols wife Nellie, owns the Elmira Pioneers in the PGCBL. Let’s hope this will not be the start of a rivalry within their marriage. 😉
Regarding the name, Nichols said that MuckDogs may be a possibility. Batavia always had some trouble to draw fans to their ballpark, as a result the team was in financial trouble. During several years, the team was run by the AAA Rochester RedWings. Collegiate ball may be a perfect fit as the players are not paid. If the team can have a promotional campaign like the Savannah Bananas, this club can be a big hit.
The new Batavia team will be run by Can-USA Sports LLC. The organization will pay for the maintenance and utility cost of the ballpark. In the first three years, the organization will pay one dollar to the city of Batavia, $7,500 in the fourth and $10,000 for the fifth season.
Nichols had been involved with the Elmira Pioneers of the PGCBL since 2012. In 2017, he took sole ownership of the club in another former minor league town. It saw the attendance increase from 700 to 3,000 per game thanks to promotions and community involvement. Nichols told local newspaper The Batavian that he would like to do the same in Batavia.
Through the decades, several former New York-Penn League affiliates turned to collegiate ball. Batavia is the tenth in total and likely won’t be the last.