Rumor has it that after just one season the Yuba-Sutter Gold Sox Minor League Baseball team is calling it quits, but according to Gold Sox General Manager Scott Blackwood, this isn’t necessarily true. “I’m 95 percent sure we’ll have a team next year,” said Blackwood. The Gold Sox came to Marysville in January 2002, and according to Blackwood, the team started from virtually nothing. “We only had a few months to pick up players and get everything organized before spring training in May,” he said.
Despite a rushed beginning, Blackwood said the team had an excellent season, finishing with the third best record in the Western Baseball League (12-8, according to the Western Baseball League Website). The team was just a few games shy of a play-off bid. Gold Sox organizers were hoping the team would be well received in its rookie year, but according to Blackwood, promoting the team and getting the community involved got off to a rocky start. “I think a lot of people still had ill-will from the Marysville Mud Cats,” said Blackwood. “Marysville has never had a minor league baseball team for more than one year. People also may not have known baseball was back in town.”
By mid-season, attendance had begun to pick up, according to Blackwood, but the team still finished financially short. “But we weren’t too far off from what we had anticipated for our opening season,” said Blackwood. “We had several hard-core fans that came to every home game.”
Throughout the season, entertainment was provided in between innings, and sometimes, before and after games to get people involved. Entertainment included a Britney Spears impersonator, Blues Brothers impersonators, and the Gold Sox mascot, the Gecko.According to Blackwood, the entertainment and activities provide a social atmosphere for the whole family, and plans are being made to schedule even more entertainers for next season.
Some of last season’s players proved they have what it takes to be successful in baseball. After just one season of playing in a professional league, pitcher Courtney Hall was signed to the Seattle Mariners, and according to Blackwood, Yuba College stand-out Josh Cook continues to be looked at by major league scouts.
No new players have been signed to the Gold Sox yet, but Blackwood said the team has already developed a good reputation in the baseball community. “We have players calling us wanting to play,” he said.Gold Sox organizers expect this season to go much smoother than last season. “One advantage that we have this year is time,” said Blackwood. Plans for next season are still in the early stages.
All home games are played at Bryant Field in Marysville. General admission seats are $6.00, premium seats (behind home plate) are $8.00, and VIP seats are $10.00. “All seats are good,” said Blackwood. “Bryant Field’s set-up allows fans to interact with the players.”
The 2003 season is scheduled to begin anywhere from late May to mid-June, depending on which level the team decides to play at. “We’re looking for our best baseball option right now,” said Blackwood.Negotiations are underway with AT&T Broadband to broadcast some Gold Sox home games on Channel 5.
For more information on the Yuba-Sutter Gold Sox, call The Gold Sox Headquarters at (530) 741-3600.