Major league baseball’s plan to cut 42 franchises puts the Daytona Tortugas, and indeed the sport’s long-term future, in danger.
Word of minor league baseball’s proposed radical restructuring hit local sports fans hard when they found out that the Daytona Tortugas may be among the 42 franchises slated for elimination.
The heartbreaking possibility is all the more shocking given the team’s successes in building an already solid franchise. Even in a season cut short by the threat of Hurricane Dorian, the Tortugas had the second-best attendance record in the league with a total attendance of 137,570, up 16,842 over the past season and a season record for the team. (The Clearwater Threshers were in No. 1 place with a ballpark with twice Daytona Beach’s capacity in a location that enjoys the advantages of an urban market.)
In a city that has seen professional sports teams come and go – who remembers Daytona Beach Thunder indoor football and Daytona Sun Devils Hockey? – minor league baseball has been a local passion played at the same ballpark since Daytona joined the Florida State League in 1920.
And what a ballpark! Jackie Robinson Ballpark is on the National…