Editorial By Hornell Dodgers General Manager Paul Welker

May 21, 2015

By Paul Welker

The 2015 Hornell Dodger season is right around the corner and the organization will celebrate the 22nd season of hosting high quality baseball in the Maple City. The tradition and success of Hornell Dodger baseball is something that is a reflection of our community.

In the first 21 seasons countless board members, host families, sponsors, and volunteers have made it possible to allow 18-22 year old men to work on their baseball skills and experience a new area of the country. Players like Tim Hudson, Dallas Braden, and Rajai Davis have had solid careers in baseball but more importantly former Dodgers have become teachers, lawyers, coaches, and valuable parts of their own communities.

In my 13 years with the Dodger organization there have been many great times and times that have presented challenges. The 2014 season featured both great times and some challenges. On the field the team rolled to a league record 44 wins and captured the franchises 5th league championship while off the field rising travel costs and a smaller sponsorship base created financial troubles and jeopardize the future of the franchise.

The board of directors has kept marching on in planning for the 2015 season but needs the community to rally around the franchise to create stability and to secure future years of Dodger baseball.
In my years of leadership I have only made one public plea for help on behalf of the organization and the community rallied and stepped up to meet the needs of the team. I am asking everyone (individuals, organizations, businesses, etc.) to jump on board to support this organization if you feel it has a place and future in our community.

There are numerous ways people can help:

· Become a host family (we currently are still looking for 7 to 8 beds for our players for this year) – contact Steve DeSanto: (607) 368-0237
· Sponsor the team – The team has sponsorship packages from $150 to $5,000 – contact Paul Welker: (607) 382-2664 or gm@hornelldodgers.com
· Come to the park and watch games – individual tickets are $4 per game or buy an individual season pass ($30) or a family season pass ($60).
· Volunteer with the team – We are looking for help around the ballpark on game days all the way up to a new leadership team. – contact any board member to find ways to help.

In my nearly 14 years as a resident of the Hornell area I have been proud of the support our community has given organization like the Dodgers. I hope the Dodgers current plea for help is met with support and the legacy of high quality baseball continues in our community.

Thanks and see you at the park,

Paul Welker
(607) 382-2664