It seems appropriate, I guess, that I should say something about the Twisters leaving Torrington. A lot of other people have had their chance, but my way of looking at the subject might be a little different.
First I must state that I became sports editor at The Register Citizen in July of 2007. The Twisters had a decent season in 2007, which ended in a first-round playoff loss. And of course I was here during the 2008 season, a sub-par campaign which will unfortunately be remembered as the final one for the team.
I was as surprised as anyone when the Twisters’₼ new ownership, led by co-owner and CEO Robin Wadsworth, felt the need to raise ticket prices and cut out the discount for season-ticket buyers. It seemed like a weird thing to do for a team that was struggling at the gate. I mean , it₼s not like the extra ticket money would help put a better team on the field.
When Major League teams raise their ticket prices, at least they can say they need the money to pay for the big-time free agents they have signed and will sign. The last time I checked, the Twisters weren’t paying any player salaries at all. And from what we’ve learned recently, they weren’t paying for much else.
So after raising ticket prices and having a crummy year, Wadsworth wanted to negotiate a lease. This is an owner who is not from this area, one who lives a state away and has no ties to Northwest Connecticut. And despite what she said more than once during the past year, I never believed she was that dedicated to keeping the team in Torrington.
Not that I really blame her. She owns the team, and has the right to make money from it. Why else buy a team so far way from where she lives? And I think it’s unrealistic to have expected Wadsworth to come out with the truth, that she was shopping the team around trying to find a better deal than staying in Torrington.
I don’t even think Wadsworth was set on leaving. But the reality is that the team was approached every year with opportunities to move, so it wouldn’t make sense for her not to listen to offers.
So now in retrospect it seems Wadsworth negotiated with at least two different cities, and took the best deal she could. Good for her. The team will probably prosper in New Bedford, Mass., a city that is three times the size of Torrington, closer to her home, and a lot closer to many other teams in the NECBL.
But now here’s my real point. So what? It’s not like the Twisters were the only game in town.
Baseball will survive in Torrington. Fuessenich Park is not going to sit empty for even one extra day because the Twisters have left. Between the Tri-State League, American Legion, Connie Mack, Stan Musial, Babe Ruth, the men’s over-39 league and who knows who else, there will be plenty of baseball to be played and seen at the field.
There is so much baseball going on in this area over the summer it’s hard to keep track of. Believe me, we try, but it’s not easy. And Fuessenich Park is the centerpiece for the area. It will not suffer for the lack of the Torrington Twisters.