Our chat with Christian Dolce, General Manager of the Jamestown Tarp Skunks in Jamestown, New York.
Who are the Jamestown Tarp Skunks?
In 2015, the amateur Prospect League, a collegiate summer baseball league, took up residence in Jamestown at Diethrick Park. The team continued to use the name Jamestown Jammers which had been in existence since 1994.
In 2016 they were replaced by a team in the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League which played there another 3 seasons before the team was moved to Milwaukee in 2019.
Before the organization left for Milwaukee, the PGCBL franchise itself was donated to Jamestown Community Baseball, LLC – and has been community owned since. The new ownership, consisting of several local investors from prominent Chautauqua County businesses, aims to keep baseball local and alive in Jamestown for years to come. The team took the field as the Tarp Skunks for the first time in 2021 after the cancellation of the 2020 season.
What led you to the Tarp Skunks?
I recently graduated from John Carroll University in the fall of 2022 and took over with the Tarp Skunks full time in January 2023. In the summer of 2021 I started working with the Tarp Skunks as a game day intern and was promoted for the summer of 2022 as the Assistant of Business Operations. This experience has been extremely fulfilling as a resident of Jamestown and a huge fan of the Jammers (former team name) growing up.
How do the Tarp Skunks aim to impact the community?
The Tarp Skunks number one goal is to be a family-friendly environment that will keep people entertained and wanting to come back. We will be able to allow each and everyone of our fans to have the best experience possible, every time they come to the ballpark. With new exciting picnic opportunities for before games, new and enhanced in-between inning games, interactive promotional nights, new merchandise options, and the addition of the brand new “Tarp Skunks Kids Club”, we are all about the fans this year.
We want to make Diethrick Park and Jamestown Tarp Skunks baseball a place where families and friends can enjoy their time together while watching baseball. Jamestown is a very tight knit community and we know creating a positive impact on the city is a top priority.
Who are some famous alumni or people associated with the Tarp Skunks?
Jamestown has seen many players make it big in the MLB as a former single A team for the Montreal Expos (1977-1993), Detroit Tigers (1994-1998), Atlanta Braves (1999-2001), Florida Marlins (2002-2012), and the Pittsburgh Pirates (2013-2014). In addition, the team also hosted various minor league teams as the "Jamestown Falcons" prior to the Montreal Expos. Our "Mount Rushmore" of players that played in Jamestown are Randy Johnson, Giancarlo Stanton, Dave Roberts, and Nellie Fox. However Jamestown has also seen other great players such as Jim Leyland, Delino Deshields, Gabe Kapler, Josh Johnson, Jason Vargas, Logan Morrison, Chris Coghlan, Steve Cishek, Brad Hand, Marcell Ozuna, Jose Fernandez, Austin Barnes, Austin Meadows, and Adam Frazier.
What does "Support Local Baseball" mean to you?
To support local baseball means to come together for the betterment of a community. Local baseball is so special because you are getting an added value of entertainment while being able to enjoy watching a baseball game that you might not get at the MLB level. I believe supporting local baseball is extremely important to the success of small towns because that's what makes your individual town so unique.
When your number one goal is to impact the community rather than making money, the success will come naturally through the support of the community. Supporting local baseball is a giant team effort between residents of the town, front office members, grounds crew members, players, coaches, and anyone who dedicates time to make their own community better!