For the eighth time and fourth consecutive year, the Amarillo Globe News votes the Amarillo Dillas the “Best Local Sports Team.”
You can say their dynasty began in 1994 and reached its pinnacle in 1999 by capturing the Texas League championship, but all good things come to an end.
Financial problems, a lackluster attendance record, and a neglected stadium all lead to a team dismissed from the Central Baseball League, formerly known as the Texas-Louisiana League, in 2004.
One of the first “Indy” leagues to be formed when independent baseball ascended to its revival in the mid-90’s the Texas-Louisiana League did reach a prospective audience, reaching 600,000 fans its first year. Unfortunately, even successful “Indy” leagues are met with disappointment.
The Central Baseball League disbanded in the 2005 season with half of the clubs along with four Northern League teams joining forces to create the American Association. The other half became charter members of the newly formed United League.
Since joining United League Baseball in 2006, the Dillas have slowly but surely worked their way up the rankings to become the powerhouse they once were and were crowned champions of the 2009 season. A team without a home in 2005 has certainly reversed its fortunes.
With the accolades mentioned above, they are champions on the field and off the field as well, told by Dillas General Manager, Mark Lee.
“This is the fourth year in a row that we (Dillas) have been voted and honored, by fellow Texans, as the ‘Best Local Sports Team’, but truth be known, our fans should be receiving this award because without them there isn’t any baseball in Amarillo, it’s just that simple.”
“With the economical struggles that has touched every house hold over the last 18 months, we were able to give folks a place to spend time together as a family and be able to afford some good family fun” Lee said.
Minor League baseball as well as independent baseball strives to be quality family entertainment and entitles its fans to feel ownership of their teams. If a local franchise gets the opportunity to prove its worth to the fans, the sky is the limit with the support that will follow.
The Amarillo franchise has seen its difficulties, just as with today’s current economic state. Nevertheless, you can bet this franchise, which has shown that you can succeed in any situation, will continue to provide its followers with the same dedication to its community that they have shown to them.
“We want to pass along our sincere gratitude to our loyal fans and those who voted for us (Dillas)”, said Mark Lee. “We have the best fans in baseball – period.”
Devon Teeple is an author for the Business of Sports Network, which includes the Biz of Baseball, the Biz of Football, the Biz of Basketball and the Biz of Hockey. He is a former professional baseball player with the River City Rascals & Gateway Grizzlies.
Devon is a former student within Sports Management Worldwide’s Baseball General Manager Class. Devon is the founder of The GM’s Perspective and is a intern with The Football Outsiders and contributor with the Plymouth River Eels.