WHAT DID YOU SAY BUD!
Our good friend Bud Poliquin wrote today that he wondered why County Executive Nick Pirro did not chastise the Syracuse Chiefs for a poor record like he did the Syracuse Crunch on Wednesday. First of all, the question should be why would any governmental official question the player development agreement that any professional team has. Columbus with the Crunch or the Blue Jays with the Chiefs. In baseball, it works like this – the Chiefs provide a facility for the major league club (Toronto) to send their players to play for the season. The Chiefs take care of travel, equipment, umpires, etc.. The Blue Jays provide 30 players, coaches and pay for their salaries that in 2006 totaled over 2.5 million dollars. The Chiefs can ask their parent team to bring back players they believe are good for the team and community, ie Chad Mottola, Kevin Barker, etc..but can’t insist that they play here. Example #1 top Blue Jays prospect Chip Cannon plays first base so does veteran Kevin Barker. Cannon will play in Syracuse at some point in 2007 with Barker moving to DH or the outfield. I believe in Hockey certain players need to play in Syracuse to find out if they can reach the next level – the NHL. I can excuse Nick for not understanding the process, but Bud!! No major league organization can promise you a 80-60 season, just as I’m sure no hockey team can promise you a Calder Cup Championship team. And by the way the 2005-2006 Crunch totaled over 100 points and had a pretty darn good club. And the 2005 Chiefs finished 71-73 and were in the playoff race until the final two weeks of the season (only 4-games back on August 24th ).
The real issue, the one that Bud missed is that facilities like the War Memorial and Alliance Bank Stadium need to be taken care of by our community leaders. That’s their job. Not to be player development people. Our job as operators of franchises are to make sure that the Toronto’s and Columbus’s want to stay here and send their players to our city. We as operators must also contribute to the leagues we play in and not force those league’s to question our community’s commitment to our sports.
Although only 10-years old Alliance Bank Stadium now needs new turf, the scoreboard is obsolete and seldom works properly, seats have begun to need major repair and the lighting failed major league baseballs latest testing. The War Memorial has seen it’s better day – like maybe when the Syracuse Nats played here. Although the Veterans display is outstanding the remainder of the building is still stuck in the 60′s. The players locker rooms are totally unacceptable for this level of Hockey and their playing surface (the ice) has been a problem since they returned in 1994.
Maybe it’s time that someone else was in charge of these decisions. A group of individuals who understand professional sports and facility management is needed. Our County Executive, Deputy County Executive and Legislature are good people – but unfortunately in these two areas, they are either getting bad advise or they are in over their heads.
But that doesn’t excuse our good friend Bud Poliquin who shouldn’t be questioning why our County Executive said what he said and excused the Chiefs on field performance - but rather why did he say it at all. Bud seldom misses the point but today he wasn’t even close.