Catching Up: Part 2 – The Stadium

In the 1st part of my series called Catching Up, we talked about the on-field performance of the Fat Cats, and how Ottawa’s newest players are fitting in. Now we move to Part 2, the final part of Catching Up, in which I will take things off of the field.

When the Ottawa Lynx were granted an expansion franchise into the International League of the MiLB, they needed a baseball stadium. To solve that problem, Ottawa Stadium was built. In 1993, the stadium opened and it was arguably the nicest baseball stadium in Canada. It continued to hold that title until just recently.

After AAA Ball left the Stadium, the condition of said stadium began to deteriorate. It wasn’t terrible while the Rapidz occupied it, but things were noticeably worse off than they had been in the past.

Things started to take a turn for the worst after the Rapidz left. The Stadium almost went an entire year without being properly maintained. Before a group of City Councillors stepped up to bring the Stadium back into acceptable condition, weeds almost 2 feet tall were growing in the outfield of the ballpark.

When the Fat Cats came into existence last summer, the Stadium was taken care of, but not as ‘well’ as it was when Pro Ball was occupying it. The washrooms stink, there are dry patches of grass in the outfield, the sound system needs updating and the Merch shop needs renovating. This is understandable, but now because of below average overall care, the Stadium’s overall condition is starting to deteriorate due to the maintenance problems.

Our Scoreboard also needs repairing. Unless things have changed since the games against Burlington last weekend, the analog scoreboard of Ottawa Stadium is broken, and the screen where the batter’s name, number and position usually flashes, is doubling as a score clock. I would say that it needs repairing, but what Ottawa Stadium really needs, is a new board. This may be something worth investing in. If not, at least fix the screen that’s doubling as a score clock. I can’t even read the “Due Up” screen anymore.

Now, I’m not sure who is responsible for the general condition of the Stadium. If it’s the team, then they should put a lot more effort into the care of the Stadium. Just look at the New York Islanders. Their arena is one of the worst in the NHL, and many blame the arena on attendance issues. I don’t want Ottawa Stadium to be a push factor; something that will drive people away from coming to watch baseball.

If the city is responsible (which I believe they are), then they need a dose of reality. There are some Councillors that know that baseball is alive and well in Ottawa, but many of them believe otherwise. Any Councillor who believes that baseball is done here has to look into the situation a littler further. The Fat Cats draw over 2,000 fans regularly, which is more than the AAA Lynx did in their last few seasons. This team isn’t even a pro team, yet we’re still outdrawing the Indy Leagues. Ignorance seems to be at a low price when it comes to baseball in Ottawa, which really shoves me off the track sometimes.

If the city can step up and help baseball here, that would be great. I know that all the issues that surround Ottawa Stadium can’t be fixed by just the Fat Cats. I say, we should put pressure on the city to help the ‘Cats freshen up the Stadium. New board, some renovations to areas that are frequently occupied (Merch store, Canteen, Luxury boxes) and a new Sound System. I’m not sure how much this would cost, but if the city is willing to put money into Landsdowne Park, then they should be able to do the same for the best outdoor sports facility in Ottawa.

    • Eric
    • June 27th, 2011

    Great post ! Couldn’t agree more !
    I contacted my local councillor last week regarding the issues you brought up (Scoreboard, washrooms and overall stadium maintenance) and I was told that according their lease agreement those are the responsabilities of the Fat Cats organization…

    • That’s good to know. I emailed my city councillor a last week as well, but haven’t received a reply yet. I hope that they can do something with the park ASAP.

      Thanks for reading/commenting, and I’m glad you like the post!

  1. I was at the game Sunday afternoon, and I can tell you the scoreboard is still a wreck. I found myself using my smartphone to log into Pointstreak to find which inning the game was in. Not only that, the hitter’s backdrop (out past the centre field wall) is shredded and wind-blown. Last season I contacted the Fat Cats organization asking why there is no Canadian flag on at least one of the empty flagpoles, and they told me since the whole stadium is owned and operated by the city, the Fat Cats can’t even put up any flags! City Hall – that’s where the problems are.

    • Something needs to be done with this Stadium as soon as possible. The city needs to understand that they aren’t going to get away with avoiding repairs…. they’re entirely rebuilding Landsdowne for a CFL team, and a soccer team that will be gone within 5 seasons. Why can’t they invest a little bit of money into the baseball stadium??

      Thanks for the comment!

    • Eric
    • June 27th, 2011

    Great replies guys ! Couldn’t agree more !
    Funny thing is last week there was a similar post with several replies on the facebook page of the Fat Cats, very lively topic which…mysteriously disappeared within a few hours…

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