Summer Tradition

Attendance Steady For Tarp Skunks Despite Struggles

Pictured is Tommy Schroeder IV, Jamestown Tarp Skunks shortstop and third baseman. Schroeder is in his Shorter University College’s baseball uniform sporting brown hair. Submitted photo

The Jamestown Tarp Skunks are riding high this season as more and more fans have been attending home games.

The team plays at the Russell E. Diethrick, Jr. Park which has a reported seating capacity of 3,000 fans and plays on average an eight-week, 48-game schedule through August. According to Christian Dolce, the team’s general manager and director of business operations, the team has seen a record number of crowd attendance at several home games.

That’s despite a recent losing streak and the resignation of the team’s manager, Ben Julian.

“Our June 6, (Kids Day) game which was sponsored by the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation had 2,754 people attend,” he said. “This was an all-time, record breaking, attendance to one of our home games,” he said. “Our June 4, game sponsored by Prevention Works, CASA-Trinity (Council on Alcohol and Substance Abuse) Northwest Bank and the Rotary Club had 1,026 fans in attendance.”

When questioned about the surge in game attendance, Dolce believes a lot of it has to do with the team’s culture, atmosphere and fan-first philosophy.

The Tarp Skunks’ starting lineup rendered honors during the playing of the National Anthem during a home baseball game. According to team management officials the park buy-out nights have become more popular, and attendance is up for the season. P-J photo by Christopher Blakeslee

“We are a family-friendly, fan-friendly, affordable, local baseball team, and we want to give each and every fan the best baseball experience we can,” he said. “I stress it to all our players and staff, that we are here for the fans. This is something this team has really embraced, especially when it comes to signing autographs and interacting with the youth. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of any team member turning away a fan, not spending a moment to talk with them or autographing anything they want. They really seem to relish the opportunity to be a positive role model for the kids in our community.”

Dolce’s philosophy is rubbing off and is well received by most if not all the entirety of the team’s fan base.

“I love bringing my kids here,” said Monica Isabella Colone’ a mother of three and resident of Jamestown. “My oldest son plays little league baseball and looks up to the Skunk ball players. They’re always willing to talk, hang out and sign autographs.”

For Stephan Anderson, a 12-year old student who lives in Warren, Pa., he has his favorite Tarp Skunk players who he gets autographs from every game he comes to.

“Tommy Schroeder, the shortstop, he’s the best player on the team,” he said. “He’s got cool blonde hair, and he cracks the heck out of the ball every time he bats.”

Tarp Skunks bleacher seats are becoming more and more filled with each home game, as the team’s popularity soars with the local baseball fan-base. The Tarp Skunks play in the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League. P-J photo by Christopher Blakeslee

Schroeder is a senior at Shorter University where he plays baseball in Rome, Ga.

When Schroder was questioned about his baseball playing and status as a popular Tarp Skunk, he stated.

“First I give all the credit to God,” he said. “It’s really an honor to play ball and be a positive role model for kids. It’s a huge responsibility.”

Schroeder’s mother and father were spectators at the team’s recent 6-4 victory over the Elmira Pioneers, and couldn’t be any more proud of their son.

“He’s a good kid. He played football, baseball and wrestled and maintained good grades,” said Thomas Schroder. “We are so proud of him, and he really does like working with children.”

“As a mom, I’m so very proud of him and all that he’s accomplished and done,” said Kim Schroder. “He’s always been good with kids, and to see him smile and interact with these young baseball fans… I just can’t stop smiling.”

For Dolce, Schroeder’s actions are what he expects from all of his team players.

“It doesn’t surprise me about Schroder,” he said. “This is the culture of our team, and I hope to find more fan-based, community activities for them to be involved with in the future.


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