Dutchmen Forced to Go Dark for 2024

By: Dutchmen Front Office

Guilderland has no room for the Albany Dutchmen, so the popular 15 year old, summer wood bat baseball franchise won’t be returning in 2024. 
After recent public outcry to keep the Dutchmen in town, the Guilderland Town Board determined that the we were over using Dutchmen Field @ Keenholts Park and also depriving local kids of playing time, so a decision was made to not renew our lease for 2024.
The Albany Dutchmen were forced to lead a “nomad existence” for our first eleven years due to the fact that we couldn’t find a facility in the Capital District that satisfied all the requirements of both our franchise and our league.  We set up shop at three different ball parks prior to arriving at Dutchmen Field in 2022, but once we did, we knew we had finally found what we’ve been searching for.  The facility was excellent and the playing field itself soon became one of the best in the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League.  
The Dutchmen had never intended to deprive local ball players of field time.  It goes directly against our mission.  Our product, which is inspiring to young children, offers them a chance to “get up close” to college players who will one day play in the majors. (NOTE: The Dutchmen have had over 50 players sign pro contracts.)  The Baseball Buddies Program actually allowed Little Leaguers the chance to play catch with the Dutchmen players on the field prior to the game, take photos, get autographs, and then accompany the starting lineup onto the field for the National Anthem.  Hundreds of local kids participated in Baseball Buddies during the time the Dutchmen were here and Dutchmen players also contributed hundreds of hours of community service during that same period of time.  All good intentions aside, we were told that unfortunately there was no room in the field schedule for us to be able to continue.  We were also told that because of the addition of our 20 home games, the field didn’t have the proper amount of time to “recover” between uses.  Not wanting to challenge the grounds crew experts, even though we didn’t agree at all with their accusations that we failed to properly care for and respect the condition of the playing field, we found ourselves outnumbered by the opposition…and it became the final nail in the coffin for the Dutchmen.
The Dutchmen franchise, which will now go dark in 2024, is saddened to have to leave Guilderland.  It was a community that we respected and felt at home in and was also a community that respected our mission: to offer a good quality, family-friendly, inexpensive entertainment option while also nurturing the baseball careers of college players from around the country and sending them back home, after the season was concluded, as more mature young men as well as better ball players.
We wish to thank everyone who supported them during our stay in Guilderland and offer special thanks to all of our Host Families, Host Family Coordinators, Interns, Volunteers, Sponsors, Coaches, Players and fans.
One final note:  We often talk about the number of Dutchmen players who have gone pro, but the organization is also extremely proud of the many interns who used their Dutchmen experience to receive college credit and prepare themselves for jobs in broadcasting, journalism, sports marketing, and sports medicine.
The Dutchmen are aware that the PGCBL is planning to operate a replacement team in 2024, not based in Guilderland, for the purpose of honoring commitments and obligations to the remaining franchises in the league.   
Follow up statement (4/27/2024):
As previously stated, we truly appreciate the outpouring of support from those that have enjoyed their Dutchmen experiences; former players, host families, fans, interns, coaches, anthem performers, sponsors, other league members, and even parents of former players.
In response to many comments that have been posted recently, we’d like to add a brief statement of clarification. The actual decision to prevent the Albany Dutchmen from returning to Dutchmen Field @ Keenholts Park, although it was finalized during a special meeting called by the Town Supervisor, was actually made by Guilderland Babe Ruth.  Although the Town of Guilderland owns Dutchmen Field, Guilderland Babe Ruth oversees the use and maintenance of the facility.  Guilderland Parks & Recreation, also present at the meeting, deferred to the final decision made by Guilderland Babe Ruth.
Guilderland Town Board member Christine Napierski was also in attendance, but as an advocate of the Dutchmen.  She and fellow Town Board member Jake Crawford have supported us during our time here…and the entire Town Board should also be recognized for their willingness to listen and their efforts to seek a solution. 
Contrary to statements made about the timing of a Guilderland Babe Ruth and Parks & Recreation decision, there was no communication provided to us immediately following the 2023 season or at any time throughout the fall. The discussion period began in January, as it had for the prior seasons, and it ended with the recent meeting.
Some suggestions regarding other potential facilities have been offered.  Unfortunately, it quickly became clear that the numerous challenges to move to a new ballpark (in a new community) and begin play in such a short period of time made it not at all feasible.  We chose instead to immediately notify all signed players so that they, with assistance from our staff, had the best chance to quickly find new teams.  We also notified the league in order to enable them to facilitate all necessary arrangements to fulfill our schedule obligations. 

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