Location, location, location.
That is supposed to be the key to success in real estate and it also doesn't hurt when it comes to affiliating with a major league baseball team.
Since 1977 when Jamestown returned to the New York-Penn League after a three-year hiatus, the local team has been affiliated with the Montreal Expos, the Detroit Tigers, the Atlanta Braves and the Florida/Miami Marlins.
Mike White and his 7-year-old son Gavin, from Espyville, Pa., show off their Pittsburgh Pirates’ allegiance at Diethrick Park on Thursday. See additional photos at cu.post-journal.com.
P-J photos by Jim Riggs
Fans of the Pittsburgh Pirates, Jamestown’s major league affiliate, make their way to their seats before the game. See additional photos at cu.post-journal.com.
P-J photos by Jim Riggs
Those areas are not close to Jamestown, but more importantly, those are teams with not much fan base in Western New York and particularly Jamestown.
Perhaps the best out of the group was Detroit because there are quite a few Tiger fans in the area, dating back to the many years Jamestown was affiliated with the Motor City in the PONY and NY-P League.
Last fall the Jammers ended their affiliation with the Marlins after 10 years and signed a two-year deal with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Not only is the Steel City less than three hours away, but there are also plenty of Pirate fans in the area and that was evident at Jamestown's home opener on Thursday night at Diethrick Park.
There were plenty of black caps with a ''P'' on the front and numerous Pirates T-shirts and quite a few jerseys featuring the names of Pittsburgh hall of famers.
The return of a Jammers season was the attraction, but being a Pirates' farm club sure didn't hurt.
Mike White and his 7-year-old son, Gavin, were in the Diethrick Park concourse before the game seeking autographs and their Pirates' apparel made it no secret what team they root for. Why did they travel a couple of hours from Espyville, Pa., which is located about 20 miles west of Meadville?
''Because it's a Pirates affiliate, we came up, and we're kind of on a little tour for his birthday,'' Mike said. ''Last weekend was his birthday and we did three Pirates games at PNC Park and also did two games this week at Eastwood Field when the Jammers played the (Mahoning Valley) Scrappers.''
Now they were at Diethrick Park and when asked if they would be back, Mike said, ''As long as it fits into our schedule, we'd love to make it back up.''
And the main reason is because the Jammers are now a Pirates' affiliate.
''That definitely makes a big difference, but we're all-around baseball fans no matter what,'' he said. ''It's about a two-hour drive, so it's not really that far. And it definitely makes a difference it's a Pirates' affiliate. We want to support the Pirates.''
Dennis Mulson and Mike Waters made a shorter trip from Ripley and they were at the game for one reason.
''I've been a Pirates fan since 1960,'' Mulson said.
And he and Waters have come to Diethrick Park every season, but usually to see the visiting team.
''When State College was here or Williamsport, whichever had the Pirates,'' Mulson said. ''Me and Mike have always been Pirates fans. We always try to take in Pirate minor-league games.''
And now they can do so right in Chautauqua County.
''Usually we come over two or three times during the summer,'' Mulson said. ''I expect this year we'll be here a dozen times.''
Mayville resident Gary Say arrived at Diethrick Park proudly wearing his Andrew McCutchen jersey.
''We're usually here no matter who (is playing), but especially this year because it's the Pirates; we're going to make sure we're here to watch,'' said Say, who has been a Pittsburgh fan for most of his life.''I get to see some of the good talent right when they start out. I think we'll be at more games this year now that they're a Pirates' affiliate.''
That's music to the ears of Jammers general manager Matt Drayer. Since the change in affiliations last fall, he had been speculating there could be more interest in the Jammers because of the interest in the Pirates in the area.
''That was the big question,'' he said after Jamestown won its home opener, 12-6. ''Everybody said how do you think you're going to draw being (affiliated with) the Pirates and I was just assuming we were going to draw better than we did the last couple of years. The proof is in the pudding and we had a great crowd tonight. The team played really well and I couldn't be happier.''
He added, ''It's great, the community support and that people are coming in from Pennsylvania to watch the team play. It's a good thing for the Pirates and for baseball.''
And the Pirates have been a good thing for the Jammers so far, according to Drayer.
''The Pirates are just a top-class organization,'' he said. ''They came into town and they took off running. There weren't any problems or hiccups or little bumps. It was a smooth transition.''
So far it sounds like the Pirates and Jammers are in a win-win situation. And it has led to wins on the field because Jamestown is off to a 3-1 start.