AtlanticLeagueBaseball.com broke the news earlier today that the Newark Bears have folded.
According to one source, a representative of ownership informed the staff that the team was folding today, and all staff members were essentially asked to leave. There was no advance warning.
Even though the Bears have struggled to gain fan support, the news is shocking. The Bears were to host the 2009 Atlantic League All-Star Game, and just this week I got an email marketing survey from the team. Still, if I’m shocked, I can only imagine how much worse it must be for the Newark Bears staff members — all of whom were among the nicest people I’ve met at a baseball stadium.
Mike Ashmore writes that the Bears reportedly lost more than half a million dollars this season… not hard to believe when midweek games often failed to draw more than a few hundred fans. League CEO Frank Boulton bailed out the Bridgeport Bluefish earlier this month… it remains to be seen if he’s able and willing to do the same for the Bears.
Right now, though, the only ones who will be playing baseball at Newark’s Riverfront Stadium next season are the college teams that face Rutgers-Newark [edit-and NJIT].
10/26 Edit: The Newark Star-Ledger had an article on the Bears’ situation today, including some quotes from former owner Rick Cerone. Unfortunately, the version that ran in the paper isn’t online yet. Here’s a link to an earlier version that was posted yesterday.
I wonder if it would have made a difference if the Ledger had ever given the Bears the same level of coverage that they devote to high school sports.