Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Anybody got work for a goofy green sea monster in a baseball uniform?

Et Tu, Atlantic City Surf? We've seen em come, we've seen em go in this town. Not just beauty queens. But minor league sports teams who burst into town with great hopes and dreams and then, inevitably, leave town or go bellyup (sorry, Splash) in a fog of indifference. In the decade-plus I've been here, I've cheered for minor league basketball (the Atlantic City Seagulls, who oddly enough had R. Kelly on their roster one year), minor league hockey (the still missed Boardwalk Bullies, who actually drew a lot of fans but still left town) and minor league baseball (the Surf, who on Monday announced they were going out of business after 11 seasons). Honestly, the Surf was fun the first few years, but in recent years, hardly anybody remembered to go at all, except when there were fireworks, when it was a sellout. My daughter once sang the national anthem before a game there with her middle school chorus, and I think they had more people watch them in the concert at school than were in the stands that day. I always felt sorry for the promotions manager, who ran around the stadium all game trying to find enough people to join in on the dizzy bat games and the like, ketchup and mustard group games that used up the entire crowd, etc. But the staff there was excellent and enthusiastic and although many reasons have been given for their demise, I think one obvious one that was overlooked is the Phillies. Given the choice of heading up to Citizens Bank Park to see a team headed for greatness or sitting in Bernie Robbins stadium on the Black Horse Pike, where would you take your kid? But the Surf had its moments, and my children really dug Splash (in picture) and gave him many hugs (having not inherited their mother's mascot-phobia). We'll miss Splash, and hope he finds work, maybe even as a mascot with the Ocean City fire department (above). In 2002, Mitch Williams was the manager and pitching coach, and that was awesomely weird too. I got to hang with him for a story, in which he offered his advice on the head game: "Short memories." Yankee great Cecil Fielder managed last season and is kind of bummed about the demise of his team. It just wasn't in the cards.

Anybody got work for a goofy green sea monster in a baseball uniform?

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Et Tu, Atlantic City Surf? We've seen em come, we've seen em go in this town. Not just beauty queens. But minor league sports teams who burst into town with great hopes and dreams and then, inevitably, leave town or go bellyup (sorry, Splash) in a fog of indifference. In the decade-plus I've been here, I've cheered for minor league basketball (the Atlantic City Seagulls, who oddly enough had R. Kelly on their roster one year), minor league hockey (the still missed Boardwalk Bullies, who actually drew a lot of fans but still left town) and minor league baseball (the Surf, who on Monday announced they were going out of business after 11 seasons). Honestly, the Surf was fun the first few years, but in recent years, hardly anybody remembered to go at all, except when there were fireworks, when it was a sellout. My daughter once sang the national anthem before a game there with her middle school chorus, and I think they had more people watch them in the concert at school than were in the stands that day. I always felt sorry for  the promotions manager, who ran around the stadium all game trying to find enough people to join in on the dizzy bat games and the like, ketchup and mustard group games that used up the entire crowd, etc. But the staff there was excellent and enthusiastic and although many reasons have been given for their demise, I think one obvious one that was overlooked is the Phillies. Given the choice of heading up to Citizens Bank Park to see a team headed for greatness or sitting in Bernie Robbins stadium on the Black Horse Pike, where would you take your kid? But the Surf had its moments, and my children really dug Splash (in picture) and gave him many hugs (having not inherited their mother's mascot-phobia). We'll miss Splash, and hope he finds work, maybe even as a mascot with the Ocean City fire department (above). In 2002, Mitch Williams was the manager and pitching coach, and that was awesomely weird too. I got to hang with him for a story, in which he offered his advice on the head game: "Short memories." Yankee great Cecil Fielder managed last season and is kind of bummed about the demise of his team. It just wasn't in the cards.

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About this blog

Inquirer staff writer Amy S. Rosenberg has covered Philly police, city neighborhoods, Ed Rendell as mayor, the Jersey shore, Atlantic City, Miss America and the psychology of Eagles fans. She moved to Ventnor on July 3, 1995, which makes her a local, but not really.

Inquirer Staff Writer Jacqueline L. Urgo has spent every summer of her life at the Jersey Shore, and has lived there year-round for nearly 30 years, even fulfilling one of her bucket list dreams by once living in a house by the sea.

Since 1990, she has covered the waterfront for The Inquirer — from the Atlantic to the Delaware Bay shore — and some of the mainland in between. Along the way, she amassed an encyclopedic knowledge of this tear-it-down-and-build-it-back-up region, delving into the history and the hype of a place with a lot of unexpected stories to tell.

Reach The Downashore at arosenbegr@phillynews.com.

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