Anytime a minor league or semi-pro team takes up residence in the Greater Syracuse area, eyes begin to roll, heads begin to shake and the ghosts of failed franchises past are presented before all to be replayed as an omen. All of that happens because, you know, it's REALLY frickin' hard to make fringe pro sports teams work in small markets.
And so, that brings us to The Syracuse ShockWave, the newest ABA Franchise and latest squad to try it's hand at getting the people of Onondaga County to spend some money and watch some semi-pro sports.
The ABA and Syracuse...where have I heard this all before? Oh that's right...THE RAGING BULLZ!!! Who could ever forget the low attendance! The financial problems! The copyright infringement fiasco! Though, all of it was worth it for that moment of hope that presented itself when the team was almost renamed The Syracuse SnowBallers. Ah, we can still dream.
Brent Axe has a fantastic rundown today about the history of semi-pro sports in Syracuse and the many failed franchises that stand before the ShockWave, reminding them this road is a tumultuous, and likely fool-hearty, one. We will never forgot The Soldiers, The Salty Dogs and The Smash, that is, assuming we remember them in the first place. And it would seem, using an "S" nickname only tends to makes things harder than they already are.
The team is owned by former Salina Supervisor Chuck Iavarone, who clearly has a thing for the ShockWave nickname. He previously tried to get a semi-pro football team called the ShockWave off the ground in 2002 and seems to have owned a ShockWave baseball team for a while as well. Third times the charm, I suppose.
The good news for Chuck? He's already got one fan in the bank for season tickets. I mean, maybe I'm just assuming here but I'm pretty sure Shane Sutliff has been waiting for this for a long time now.
Chuck, if I can give you one piece of advice, it would be to stock up on as many former Syracuse players and local talent as you can. I'm not saying the difference between survival and demise is whether or not Josh Wright is your point guard. I'm just saying that if I'm a Syracuse area basketball fan, I'm much more likely to go watch a group of guys that I am familiar with and have an emotional connection to than just another team of guys I've never heard of.
There's plenty to choose from...just head over to that King of Kings League in Utica and start cherrypicking. Find out which former CBA and De-Witt high school stars are still looking for a place to play and give it to them. Even if the line-up ends up being some kind of Syracuse University Low-Stars Freak Show, that's much more enticing to the average Syracuse sports fan than a list of unknowns.
If I told you there was a local team featuring Kueth Duany, Terrence Roberts, Josh Wright, Billy Edelin and DaShawn Wright, that wouldn't pique your interest just a tad? You might not buy season tickets but you sure as hell might go watch that for $10 on a Tuesday night.
Update: The ShockWave won't play until the 2010 season due to Chuck's being slightly busy in Iraq.