All posts by Kimberly Pena

The Curse Is Over!

 

by Kimberly Pena

One of the greatest post seasons that this generation will ever see has come to an end and the conclusion was nothing short of incredible. The Chicago Cubs ended America’s longest championship drought with their first World Series win in 108 years. They ended their magical season in dramatic fashion by roaring back from a 3-1 deficit to beat the Cleveland Indians in a nerve-wracking Game Seven.

“Game Seven,” for many sports fans, is one of the most anticipated and greatest words ever spoken in sports. All hands are on deck and every rule in the book is off the table. Both managers will do everything in their power to assure victory, even if it means that they have to make bizarre decisions that they would never make in the regular season. That is how pivotal Game Seven is: winner takes all.

Game Seven was filled with that and more. The game began with a bang as Dexter Fowler became the first player in MLB history to hit a lead-off home run to begin a Game Seven. Later on the game, Cubs manager Joe Maddon made a questionable move in the fifth inning when he removed pitcher Kyle Hendricks from the game after a harmless two-out walk. Prior to the walk, Hendricks was absolutely dominating the Indian’s offense and had an 5-1 cushion. With the new pitcher in, John Lester was a bit erratic and threw a wild pitch, which led to two runs across the board. One of those runners got on from an infield hit against Lester, cutting the lead to 5-3.

The Cubs would eventually get one of those runs back by a home run from the veteran catcher David Ross. The game was really beginning at that point. In the eighth inning, with two outs and a runner on base, Cubs closer Aroldis Chapman came in the game to get the final out of the inning. However, an obvious fatigue, Chapman was not able to get the job done as he allowed a dramatic game tying two-run home run from the bat of Indians’s outfielder Rajai Davis, tying the game 6-6.

The game remained tied heading into the 10th inning. But before the inning began, there was a 17-minute rain delay, allowing the Cubs to recompose themselves after the momentum swung to the side of the Indians. During the delay, Jason Heyward gave a pep-talk to the Cubs, reminding them of who they are.

“I had to let them know that we had 103 wins because we had overcome every bit of adversity that we’ve had thrown at us to this point,” said Heyward to reporters. “We needed 114 wins, and I told them, everybody in this room could go out and get this 114th. It was a venting thing for me, letting these guys know to keep that fire.”

His talk did seem to resonate as the team would take a 7-6 lead in the top of the 10th from the bat of the eventual World Series MVP Ben Zobrist. Miguel Montero would tack on an insurance run and the eventual game-winning run.

With one out away from World Series galore, Mike Montgomery pitching with a one-run lead allowed a weak ground ball to third baseman Kris Bryant, who threw across the infield to first baseman Anthony Rizzo, sealing the team’s first ever World Series championship in over a century. Something that 108 different Cubs’s teams were not able to accomplish, this 2016 group was able to do. The city of Chicago jolted of excitement and had the party of a century, uniting the city once again.

“Just blow for blow, everybody playing their heart out,” said MVP Zobrist. “The Indians never gave up either, and I can’t believe we’re finally standing, after 108 years, finally able to hoist the trophy.”

The series was highlighted by bullpen dominance and sub par hitting with runners in scoring position. Both teams depended heavily on their bullpens as neither team’s starter were able to pitch past the sixth inning. Left handed pitcher Andrew Miller was Cleveland’s secret weapon; meanwhile, flame thrower Aroldis Chapman was the Cubs.  Both pitchers threw a combination of 15 and 1/3 of an inning with each pitcher throwing seven and 2/3 of an inning.

The organization is hoping with this monkey off their back, the team can hold up to this caliber of excellence and potentially create a dynasty. With the youth and strong talent that the team has, it is not something too big to dream of for the Chicago hopefuls. With the World Series loss, the Cleveland Indians became the new team with the longest drought without a World Series championship (68 years).

With their present looking just perfect, the Chicago Cubs cannot look anywhere but up. The curse is over, the drought is done with and the Chicago Cubs are the World Series Champions.

New Baseball Team May not Actually Help The New Britain Economy

 

by Kimberly Pena 

NEW BRITAIN- Mayor Erin Stewart is hoping with the new baseball team in town, it will revitalize the city once again. However, economical experts seem to believe the New Britain Bees will not cause an economic boom as hoped for.

Donn M. Johnson, a Interim Chair of Economics and a professor of Sports Economics at Quinnipiac University, suggests that bringing a new team to a town does little to none economical improvement.

According to Johnson, if the people who are going to the games are largely local then it is just arranging the way town citizens use their money. For example, the eight dollars used to buy a game ticket could instead be used to buy a small pizza from a local business owner. The only thing being changed is where the eight dollars are being spent.

“Benefits are going largely to owners, not really to the community,” said Johnson. “Not much will change within the town.”

If those attending the games are out of town, then it probably could lead to some potential change to the New Britain economy. However, minor league teams affiliated with Major League baseball usually do not attract many out of town citizens to the games, so for the situation to be any different for an Atlantic League Baseball team, who are not associated with Major League baseball, seems unlikely, said Johnson.

Mayor Erin Stewart seems to think otherwise. She believes bringing in the new team would continue on New Britain’s strong legacy of baseball.

“Every year, minor league baseball draws hundreds of thousands of residents, families, and visitors to the games at New Britain stadium,” said Stewart. “I wanted to make sure that tradition continues.”

The moves came after the Yard Goats, formerly known as the Rock Cats, announced on June 2014 that they would be relocating themselves to Hartford. The team left behind unpaid utility bills of up to $150,000.

According to the Hartford Courant, the team has not reimbursed the town for the gas, electricity, water and sewer bills it used up in its final season in New Britain. The bills due are as followed: $80,582.62 to Eversource, $47,907.37 to TransCanada, $8,635.85 to Connecticut Natural Gas and $12,245.37 for water and sewer use.

Yard Goats officials said they will keep their end of the deal and pay the bills out in the upcoming four months.

With the Rock Cats already behind her, Stewart plans to use the Bees as a way to fill the void that the Rock Cats left.

The lease that the town negotiated with the team officials was approved just last year. The organization will pay $150,000 a year in rent, pay all the electricity and utility bills and the team will receive all the parking revenue.

Under the terms, the team is guaranteed to stay in their new home for the next 20 years.

The agreement comes with great pleasure to New Britain Bees General Manager, Patrick Day, who was named team GM just last December. He appreciates the baseball history that New Britain offers and believes that the Bees are a perfect fit.

“Its history that New Britain has had, its always been a successful market,” said Day.
Day also said the team currently has 12 full-time employees in the front office and when the summers comes along, up to 200 part-time workers could be employed.

However, according to Johnson, these are not the type of jobs one would like to have for their town to improve the economy. He says usually those who take on those part-time jobs are young people and students who know it is not a lifetime employment and are willing to be paid minimum wage.

“No one is getting rich from this,” said Johnson.

But team officials are happy the way the town citizens have responded and are looking forward to the beginning of this new journey.

The team is already off to a positive start in ticket sales, as they have sold close to 500 full season tickets, says Day. A full season ticket is worth $500 and a single game ticket is worth eight dollars. Parking costs five dollars.

For further information, email info@nbbees.com, call 860-826-BEES (2337), or visit nbbees.com.