Support for the NY-Penn League in Ottawa
Hey folks! As I said (at least I think I did), I’m not going to be as active during the off-season on here, but I felt that I needed to get this off my chest.
I haven’t really spoken in-depth about the idea of bringing professional baseball to Ottawa as this is a Fat Cats blog, and I’m still going to reserve digging deep into the subject to another day, but tonight I felt like whipping something up in response to Carlos Verde’s article on MLB From Me To You.
The one well-lit path I see which could work for pro baseball in Ottawa in the immediate future is Single-A. I’m talking about the New York-Penn League, Single-A ball. To me, Short-Season A seems perfect for Ottawa. No freezing games in April like the Lynx had, nor many ‘businessman’s specials’, mid-week day games which killed Lynx and Rapidz attendance. The season is shorter, and won’t seem as long and drawn out to Ottawa’s casual fans as the Lynx did. Being on the lower end of the minor league spectrum means less player salary, and reduced front office costs. From an attendance standpoint, this league makes the most sense of any discussed; you don’t need 4500 fans per game in Single-A!
Aside from indy leagues having too many weekday home dates (there are quite a few, but I don’t think it “killed” Rapidz attendance numbers), this is pretty much exactly how I see this situation.
No disrespect to David Gourlay and the Champions of Ottawa baseball, but I’m not in agreement with them. I don’t see why we should aim for Double-A baseball, when it seems like the success of the team would rely on the Toronto Blue Jays.
With the Jays as partners, I think that Double-A would work here, however without the support of Canada’s team I doubt that Ottawa AA would be held afloat for more than 5 seasons. Given that, I ask you this question:
Why take a chance with something that may not work, when an option that almost certainly will regardless of the major-league affiliate is sitting right in front of us?
Not only that, but the smaller schedule would help when working out the Fat Cats home dates.
Independent baseball is also a realistic option that would definitely find success here with the right people running things.
Anyway, that’s all for tonight. Drop a comment if you’re in the mood.
Update – 9/6/2012 4:00 PM
Well, it appears that my post was a little late. We will be seeing Double-A baseball here. Beacon Sports has secured the lease to Ottawa Stadium and a conditional Eastern League franchise.
This is good news for Ottawa baseball fans, but the challenge at this point will be keeping the team. I hope that the group that has committed to bringing baseball here is ready for a battle in the first couple of seasons, because that’s what it’s going to be. I will be optimistic in this situation though, it can work for more that 5 years with some blood, sweat and tears.
Another thing that must be communicated is that the Fat Cats are a vital part of the baseball community here and should very much be part of the future. Even if it means going on hiatus for one season during renovations, it would be much better than having the team fold.
Champions of Ottawa baseball do have a plan to keep the Fat Cats around as said in a conversation on twitter:
@MNellisTLB we support prof ‘ball, Mike as u know. We also want a new team to complement our existing baseball culture including the FC’s.
This is very good and something to start with. Hopefully the currently anonymous potential owner shares these views.