For many summer really begins today as July 1 begins what should be the busiest 8-week stretch of the season. 

MTV's J Woww (L) and Snooki (C) meet Governor Christie (Instagram via Snookinic)

However from my observation this is more likely to be a summer that is half-empty then half-filled.  Despite all the radio and TV commercials telling us we are stronger than the storm the fact of the matter is this is not going to be a banner tourism season for much of the Jersey Shore.

There will be exceptions and some towns will fare better than others but there are just too many factors working against many shore-area communities that rely on tourism dollars.  I read with interest a story in the Asbury Park Press over the weekend that in the case of Seaside Heights it may be lack of “Snooki” than too much Sandy.

Many believe that the downturn is due as much to the departure of the MTV show “Jersey Shore” which spent parts of four summers in Seaside Heights and certainly attracted tens of thousands of visitors.

The Jersey Shore Sports Hall of Fame (Kevin Williams, Townsquare Media NJ)

It was quite a night Saturday at FristEnergy Park as after several years the Jersey Shore Sports Hall of Fame returned with a class second to none.  In a pre-game ceremony that I hosted eight individuals and the first-ever team were inducted into the Hall which will have a permanent display at the home of the BlueClaws in the near future.

It was great to see Colts running back Donald Brown talking with Keith Elias, who spent time playing in Indianapolis while UFC fighter Frankie Edgar was reunited with his former wrestling coach at Toms River East Warren Reid.  University of Denver basketball coach Joe Scott got to the share the night with his sons and family. Elias was thrilled to be inducted along with his high school coach Lou Vircillo of Lacey and the Brookdale faithful came out to show their support for record-breaking softball coach Bo Scannapieco.

Another softball great, Michelle-Carlson Nevelling, came all the way from Florida to accept her honor and had many family members and friends join her in the picnic area later.

Then there was a 15th anniversary reunion of the Toms River East Little League World Champions with 8 of the 12 players on hand plus a video message from Cincinnati Red Todd Frazier.  Manager Mike Gaynor accepted the induction honor of behalf of the true “Boys of Summer.”  Just a great night with much credit to the BlueClaws Greg Giombarrese and the HOF committee that made it happen.

Kevin Williams (C) with Keith Elias & Joe Scott (Townsquare Media NJ)