From the desk of: THE BRICK CITY NINE
NEWARK BEARS: Brick City Reaches the Mid-Point of the Season After a First Half of Struggles.
Sunday's game against the New Jersey Jackals was number fifty of the Newark Bears' season. There are now fifty games left. And it saddens me to say, the outlook for the second half of the season isn't looking very promising. The Bears are currently in last place with a 16-34 record, eighteen games out of first place, and twelve games out of second. But don't get too lost in that, as only two teams, the Quebec Capitales and the New Jersey Jackals, have records above the .500 mark.
Monday was an off day for the Bears who are in the middle of a three game series against the Jackals. So far they have split the first two games against second place New Jersey, with the rubber game scheduled for Tuesday.
After fifty games, my vote goes to Daryle Ward as the Bears' first half MVP. In forty-seven games, he has 179 at-bats and is batting .291, with nine home runs, and thirty-six RBI. For reference, the league leader in home runs has seventeen. The league's RBI leader has forty-seven.
On the mound, Mike Ness has been the Bears' best starting pitcher. In ten starts, he has a 5-2 record, with a 4.64 ERA. In 66.0 innings pitched, he's surrendered seventy-six hits, issued eighteen walks, and struck out thirty-eight batters. The league leader has seven wins.
My runner-up for team MVP is the Bears' closer, Jorge Vasquez. He's made nineteen appearances, pitching in 22.1 innings, allowing only eight hits, and one earned run so far, which translates into a minuscule 0.40 ERA. Vasquez has walked seven and struck out thirty-three batters en route to ten saves, one win, and one loss this season.
Off the field and in the seats, as has been the case for several years now, attendance is at critical levels. I do not have facts to substantiate the teams' financial health, other than deducing an opionion based on the league's attendance figures, in addition to what I see with my own eyes whenever I attend a game. But neither paint a pretty portrait.
Sporting the lowest attendance figures in the circuit over twenty-three dates, the Bears have averaged 750+/- fans per game. Their grand total for the season stands at 17,000 fans. The next lowest attendance figure is owned by the Worcester Tornadoes, who double Newark's head-count with 34,500 fans this season; good for an average of 1,700 fans per game. These numbers are rounded off, but I think you get the point.
Last season's CanAm expansion club, the Rockland Boulders, have led the league in attendance since they joined the circuit, unseating perennial attendance champs, New Jersey, and Quebec. The Boulders are averaging 3,100 fans per game this season, for a total of 76,000 over twenty-four dates. That's four and a half times more than Newark.
And the bears in Yellowstone thought they had it rough.
To Ownership, Tim Raines, and the Newark Bears team - Here's to a better second half.
Let's Go Bears.