As sports continue to evolve into a business maybe even more so than a game, teams are trying to find unique ways to not only win on the field, but off of it as well. As our Brian Dwyer reports, that's especially true with small teams in small towns.
WATERTOWN, N.Y. -- From professional minor league teams to summer ball for college players hoping to get noticed by scouts, the history of baseball in Watertown isn't half bad. Neither is the support the teams have gotten.
"Baseball is good here," Watertown Baseball Team Owner Todd Kirkey said. "Our league is good. All the sports here are doing well."
But off the field, this is a different time especially in small towns with these small teams.
Getting in the black, putting fans in the seats, staying above that Mendoza line is harder than hitting a 100 mile per hour fastball. So teams turn to sponsors, someone to join forces with to hopefully hit it out of the park.
"The kicker there is, if you're going to do it, you've got to have a little teeth to it. We want to be a winning franchise and a winning organization," Watertown Rams Owner Todd Kirkey said. "What better than FX Caprara?"
If you follow baseball in Watertown, you know the team has long been known as the Watertown Wizards, but under new owner Todd Kirkey's name on the screen, you just saw Rams. He also mentioned FX Caprara, the number one Dodge Ram dealership around.
The sponsor no longer just on the outfield wall or a patch on the jersey. The sponsor is now the name. For a team that hasn't made the playoffs since 2007, the two partners think this move could be at a championship level.
"To be honest with you, we've been passed," Kirkey said. "Amsterdam, Mohawk Valley, Glens Falls, Newark, all those organizations, they've kind of gotten by us both on the field and off the field. We're picking it back up. We want to establish Watertown as a top place to play."
"You need to keep the name out there," Brad Charlton of FX Caprara added. "You need to support your community events. Obviously the sporting with the youth, it's nice to keep that going."
"It's a tougher image, if you will, and more importantly a winning image," Kirkey said of his new team.
An image that in 2013 will also see a new field manager and a new G.M. It's a reshaping of the on the field product as well.
The Rams' season kicks off in June.