Atlantic City Surf Strikes Out

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    After 10 years of poor attendance and a struggle for attention blocks away from the casinos, the minor league Atlantic City Surf has struck out.

    ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) -- After 10 years of poor attendance and a struggle for attention blocks away from the casinos, the minor league Atlantic City Surf has struck out.

    The team, which played in the independent Can-Am League, is discontinuing operations, along with another Can-Am team, the Ottawa Voyageurs.

    Miles Wolff, the league's commissioner, said Monday that a deal to sell the Surf last week fell through. Without strong ownership and the money to back it, Wolff says it made no sense to continue to operate the club.

    "We are tremendously disappointed that the Can-Am League will not be in Ottawa and Atlantic City in 2009," Wolff said. "These are two cities that we believe can be strong members. However, without solid ownership and the financial commitment behind these teams, it is in the best interest of the league to go with six clubs."

    Surf Fold Leaving More Emptiness in A.C.

    [PHI] Surf Fold Leaving More Emptiness in A.C.
    There will be no boys of summer in A.C. this year. After a decade of professional baseball in Atlantic City, N.J. the Surf have folded.

    Surf owner Mark Schuster could not immediately be reached for comment, and messages left at various telephone extensions in the club's executive offices were not immediately returned Monday afternoon.

    In a 2006 interview with Casino Connection magazine, Schuster said he was cautioned against buying the struggling team, which had never turned a profit.

    "Everybody told me not to buy this team," he told the magazine. "I feel differently. I know there is a lot of work to be done, but this team can be profitable.

    "Putting more people in the ballpark is always great, but you can also succeed if the guy who comes out here three or four times a year will come out seven or eight times," he said. "You can make your money on concessions."

    Last season, the Surf averaged 2,765 fans per game in a stadium that could hold more than twice that amount.

    The team was managed in its final season by Cecil Fielder, the former Detroit Tigers and New York Yankees slugger known as "Big Daddy," but even he failed to draw enough fans to Bernie Robbins Stadium, which was known as The Sandcastle when it first opened.

    Former major leaguers who played for the Surf include Giants outfielder Marvin Benard, Phillies shortstop Kim Batiste, Blue Jays pitcher Marty Janzen, Cubs third baseman Ryan Minor and outfielder Ozzie Timmons, and Angels pitcher Ben Weber.

    The Surf originally played in the Atlantic League, another independent minor league based largely in New Jersey. The Surf won the league's first championship in 1998 but never really caught on in the gambling mecca, even with cut-price tickets and imaginative promotions.