The success of Bangor’s entrant in the Senior League World Series this season could place the tournament for 15- and 16-year-old baseball players on firmer financial footing in the future.

Bangor, the host team, reached the championship game, where it lost to Aruba, 8-1, and finished the tourney at 4-2.

In doing so, it became the first Maine team to win more than one game in the international baseball tournament.

The further Bangor went in the seven-day tournament, the larger the crowds became at Mansfield Stadium, site of the tournament since 2002.

As many as 3,500 fans watched Bangor play Aruba in the final.

“Over at Mansfield, the crowds are judged by what we call Mark Rogers’ Night,” said WZON sportscaster Dale Duff. “This crowd was as big, if not, bigger.”

On June 8, 2004, the day after the Milwaukee Brewers made Rogers of Orrs Island the fifth pick in the major-league draft, more than 3,000 fans watched him throw a two-hitter and strike out 16 batters to lead Mt. Ararat to a 4-1 win over Brewer in the Eastern Class A final.

This year, Duff said, “They let (fans) go down in the bullpen and stand along the fence line.”

About 500 fans watched the game while sitting just beyond center field on the steep hill that runs up to Union Street.

The tourney is comprised of 10 teams from the United States, Canada, Europe, South America and Asia. Heightened interest in it could make it easier for organizers to raise the $175,000 needed to hold the event.

“We’ve already had a couple of businesses which have not been sponsors in the past tell us they were so impressed with the operation of the tournament and Bangor’s success they want to be sponsors, and we’ve had some sponsors who want to increase their visibility,” tourney director Mike Brooker said.

Little League Baseball, which sponsors nine World Series in addition to its international tournament for 11- and 12-year-olds in South Williamsport, Pa., pays for the costs of teams to travel to Maine. But the local organizers must provide food and lodging for nearly 200 players and coaches as well all transportation during their stay in Maine.

“There’s a lot of expenses that people don’t think about when you first look at it,” Brooker said.

The annual tab for the awards banquet held at the Bangor Civic Center on the eve of the championship game runs more than $10,000, Brooker said.

It also costs as much as $7,000 to print tournament programs. “We don’t make any money with that, but it’s something you’ve got to have to run a first-class tournament,” Brooker said.

The revenue generated by the larger-than-usual crowds attracted to this year’s Senior League World Series will help defray those expenses, but it is corporate sponsorships that are the key to the event’s financial viability.

“When you have to raise $175,000, concession sales and souvenir sales and ticket sales are a small part of it, to be honest with you,” said Dave Mansfield, who manages the facility.

“It’s nice that (the fans) all showed up, but certainly business people in Maine ought to realize (the tournament) is about what the state of Maine is.”

 

Staff Writer Paul Betit can be contacted at 791-6424 or at: [email protected]