Baysox come up winners in attendance department


Traditional baseball thinking dictates that won-lost record has a direct effect on home attendance.

In the minor leagues, that is not necessarily true.

"I've had teams with some of the worst won-lost records and some of the highest attendance," said Bowie Baysox general manager Keith Lupton, previously a front-office executive with the Hagerstown Suns and Frederick Keys.

"If you have a winning team, it makes all your promotions a lot easier to sell, but people come for the family and fun aspects more than the winning."

Despite some bitter cold nights, the Double-A Baysox averaged 4,291 fans while playing nine of their first 11 games (eight dates because of a suspended game) at Prince George's County Stadium. They lead the Eastern League in total attendance.

A substantial season-ticket sale has helped, but the in-house crowds have been amazingly high considering the elements.

"At this time of the year, you'd rather be on the road," said Lupton. "Attendance always increases when school ends.

"What we're drawing is about what you'd expect for April. But that doesn't mean we're satisfied."

The Baysox hope to attract between 400,000 and 500,000 customers to their plush new facility. They have 71 scheduled home dates, but that number always is reduced by rainouts.

"You figure 65 dates," said Lupton. "If we can average 7,000 for that many, we're right where we hope to be."

Bartee in slump

The experiment to push center fielder Kimera Bartee from Single-A Frederick to Triple-A Rochester is not going well.

Bartee is off to the same sort of start at the plate that he endured last season and has been dropped from the leadoff spot to No. 9 in the Red Wings' batting order.

After nine games, Bartee was 4-for-33 (.121) and had undergone an 0-for-18 stretch. He also had struck out a team-leading 10 times.

Still, Bartee was one of only two players (with outfielder Tyrone Woods) that manager Marv Foley had played in every game.

After 27 games in the 1994 Carolina League, Bartee was batting .194 with an alarming number of strikeouts. He finished with 117 whiffs to lead the Orioles system, but recovered to bat .292 with 44 steals.

Then, he was sensational in the Australian Winter League, finishing with 15 homers and a .328 average. He tied for first in runs scored, and was second in hits and stolen bases.

Faulkner joins Baysox

Veteran minor-leaguer Craig Faulkner joined the Baysox yesterday as their first base coach.

Faulkner played eight seasons, four of them in the Orioles system, before finishing his career at Rochester last year with a .216 average in 36 games.

A neighbor of Jack Voigt's in Venice, Fla., he also was a college teammate of Voigt's at Louisiana State.

Bobby Dickerson, who has been coaching first for Bowie, has resumed his duties as the Orioles' roving infield instructor.

Around the horn

Rochester was the last remaining unbeaten Triple-A club (4-0) before losing to Ottawa, 9-3, in a rain-shortened game. . . . Pitcher Shane Hale, impressive in spring training, has been sent to extended spring training after developing an inflamed nerve in his left elbow. The Red Wings have been bitten by a series of early injuries, with Junior Noboa (back) out indefinitely and Steve Chitren (sore elbow) and Jeff Huson (strained stomach muscle) missing time. . . . Rod Robertson played five positions in the Red Wings' first nine games, including two starts as a catcher. He also had a .389 batting average. . . . T. R. Lewis had the first four-hit game of the year by a Red Wing and also reached on an error in a game against Norfolk. . . . Scott McClain hit three early homers to tie for the International League lead. . . . The Baysox got off to the worst start in their history and were out-homered in nine home games, 9-1. They had not won two straight before departing. . . . Carlos Chavez, rated one of the top breaking-ball pitchers in the organization, moved into the starting rotation at Frederick this week. In his first relief outing, he allowed a run and a hit in 2 2/3 innings. . . . Todd Dyess, a 12th-round pick last year, made his debut Saturday for the Keys, allowing one hit and two walks in four innings. The first selection, Tommy Davis, is off to a fine start with a .368 average, two doubles and a homer at Frederick. . . . Julio Garcia has taken over the extended program and Gulf Coast League Orioles.

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