Legislature wants baseball trail created for tourists
By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Tourists visiting the Big Apple are encouraged to see Times Square, the Statue of Liberty and other sites. The State Legislature is asking, why not the Brooklyn Cyclones?
Brooklyn’s beloved baseball team would become part of a special program in which all of the state’s minor league ballparks would be promoted together as a tourist attraction. Tourists would be encouraged to go on the baseball trail and visit different minor league ballparks during the summer.
The Assembly and Senate both passed legislation calling for the creation of the Empire State Baseball Trails Program, an initiative to increase awareness and economic activity by promoting New York State's minor league and independent baseball teams.
The idea is to encourage tourism in all corners of the state, according to Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis (R-C-Bay Ridge-Staten Island), who was a co-sponsor of the bill.
“It would boost the local economy,” Malliotakis told the Brooklyn Eagle on Thursday. “People could enjoy a Cyclones games and then walk around Coney Island. They could go to a restaurant or a bar after the game. It would help businesses near the ballparks.”
The prime sponsor was Assemblywoman Crystal People-Stokes (D-Buffalo). That city is home to the http://www.milb.com/index.jsp?sid=t422 Buffalo Bisons, a minor league team. In a video on her website, People-Stokes http://assembly.state.ny.us/mem/Crystal-D-Peoples-Stokes/video/ stated her belief that the trail would be “helpful to New York’s tourism industry.”
The law would, in effect, establish a tourism operation that would encourage tourists to visit the various cities housing minor league baseball teams.
Malliotakis noted that there are baseball teams in the two of the boroughs she represents, the Brooklyn Cyclones and the Staten Island Yankees. She has been invited to throw out the ceremonial first pitch at Staten Island Yankee games in the past.
“This program would be a home run when it comes to promoting the state’s impressive minor league baseball teams and other countless local attractions. The program will not only provide a tremendous boost for minor league teams by helping them attract fans and sell tickets, it will also stimulate the local economy and tourism industry,” Malliotakis said.
“Minor league games provide families the thrills of a big league game in a more intimate setting without the big league cost. I am confident the establishment of an Empire State Baseball Trails Program will help the Brooklyn Cyclones and the Staten Island Yankees, as well as our local communities,” she said.
Along with New York City’s two Major League Baseball teams, the Yankees and Mets, the state also boasts the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.
The state is home to 13 minor league or independent league teams, including the Auburn Doubledays, Batavia Muckdogs, Binghamton Mets, Brooklyn Cyclones, Buffalo Bisons, Jamestown Jammers, Long Island Ducks, Oneonta Tigers, Rochester Red Wings, Staten Island Yankees, Syracuse Chiefs, Troy Valley Cats and the Hudson Valley Renegades.
One of the best things about the new program is that it won’t cost the state anything extra money, Malliotakis said. “The money for this will come out of the existing tourism budget,” she said. “It’s not as if we have to come up with a new tax to fund this program.”
The program would be designed to operate in a similar fashion as to the wine trails are operated upstate, where tourists are encouraged to visit various wineries along a trail.
The measure was approved by both the assembly and senate and had been sent to Governor Andrew Cuomo.