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.