Unsettled spring costs Bowie in stands, not field

June 05, 1994|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,Sun Staff Writer

Their gypsy-like existence may have cost the Bowie Baysox nearly $1 million in revenue from refunded tickets and the loss of billboard advertising, program sales and concessions, but it hasn't affected their play on the field.

"I don't think we could have played any better had we had a home," said manager Pete Mackanin, whose team is challenging Harrisburg for the Southern Division lead in the Double-A Eastern League.

"It is a credit to the players' attitude. They have been very professional about this whole thing and haven't let the lack of facilities and fans distract them."

Mackanin said his biggest concern was not a lack of fans, but how the players would respond to the situation.

"It would have been easy to go through the motions, but they didn't," he said. "After a while, playing before 200 and 300 people gets pretty old."

Outfielder Curtis Goodwin said because the team "has never had any fans, you almost get used to that. We were shocked we didn't get many people in Frederick, but it became normal after a while."

"Bowie will be a lot of fun now," said infielder Edgar Alfonzo. "When you get 7,000, 8,000 behind you, you want to play. Not that you don't when there are very few, but there is something extra with a big crowd."

Bowie's best attended games were in Wilmington, Del., where a series against Reading was promoted heavily as an Orioles vs. Phillies showdown.

General manager Keith Lupton, a former GM of the Single-A Frederick Keys, said he "wouldn't have thought" that attendance would be so low in Frederick, "but it goes to show you that fans come out for a hometown team."

He believes the Baysox have gained some supporters through their travels.

"I remember one day at Navy a guy in a business suit was just wandering around the academy and heard a baseball game," said Lupton. "He came up to me and said, 'I didn't realize it was you guys.' He said he'd be back the next day, and he was.

"I think we've developed some friends like that along the way. That part is kind of exciting."

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