A sophomore slump can hit franchises, too, as the Joliet Slammers (independent; Frontier League) are seeing some setbacks at the gate and on the field.
The team had a pretty good debut in 2011, drawing 2,311 fans a game and generating some genuine enthusiasm for the franchise after the old Joliet Jackhammers (independent; Northern League) collapsed. The Jackhammers did no favors for the Slammers: we hear it took a little more money to bring the ballpark up to speed last season after the Jackhammers left things in pretty bad shape.
But owner Bill Waliewski and crew persevered. This season sees attendance somewhat down -- to 2,189 a game -- and the team went from league champion in 2011 to a losing record this season. Still, it's a far sight from where Waliewski wants to be in terms of profitability; he says another 1,000 fans a game is needed to turn a true profit. From an interview with the Sun-Times:
“I’m disappointed. It just hasn’t been what we anticipated coming off a championship year. For the effort we put in in the offseason, the effort has exceeded the reward at the end of the day. It’s frustrating, it’s disappointing. The numbers haven’t been terrible, but they haven’t been great, either.”
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