End of the line for the Fat Cats: Could Ottawa Baseball also be in jeopardy?

Since the last time we talked a few days ago, Mayor Jim Watson had an editorial published in the Ottawa Citizen. As Ken Gray pointed out on Bulldog Ottawa, there has been a slight change of words from Jimmy on the status of Double-A baseball.

We are also working with the private sector to revitalize an important asset in the east end of the core – the Ottawa Stadium. We are working on a plan to make this a family-friendly destination once again. By Christmas, we will know if our efforts to attract investors willing to help bring professional baseball back to Ottawa have been successful.

Hang on a sec here. Here’s a separate excerpt from an article published in the Citizen on September 6th.

An announcement on which franchise and which major league affiliate will move to Ottawa could come as early as next month, though more likely at the annual Baseball Winter Meetings Dec. 3-6 in Nashville.

The Ottawa ownership group is known to city politicians and could be announced as early as next month. McEacharn expects the new Ottawa ownership group will have people in place early in the New Year and will be open for business sometime in January. That will give the franchise 15 months to prepare for its first season, and the first season of affiliated professional baseball in Ottawa since 2007.

He also said the city that loses its Double-A franchise will be awarded a minor league affiliate at a lower level, quite likely short-season Single-A.

It appeared that a few weeks back Double-A ball was a done deal here. Now, not so much. What happened that caused such a change?

I wouldn’t mind an explanation from the Mayor. The potential for no Double-A baseball team here also raises the potential for Ottawa Stadium to get mothballed. The city also doesn’t appear to be eager to look back at OSG and give them their own long-term deal on the place if the previous leases they were given are any indication.

Update – 10/30/2012 – 11:20 pm

I actually sent Ken Gray an email on this entire debacle and he decided to reply publicly on Bulldog Business. Check out what he had to say, plus my email to him right here.

In a nutshell, Ken ran down his talks with prominent folks in the effort to bring Double-A ball here, but there wasn’t really much that I was hoping to see. David Gourlay treaded carefully and said that his group would work with a new ownership group.

No guarantees there – not that I was really expecting any from Dave as he is more of an advocate for a Double-A squad. He likely knows just a tad more than I do. Who I was looking for something from was Richard Billings of Beacon Sports. The following is from Ken Gray’s Bulldog entry.

However Richard Billings of Beacon Sports contacted me Monday saying there is a lot of work to be completed but that getting the team in Ottawa is on track for 2014 and that Ottawans “will be very pleased” with the ownership group that has been assembled. The work that is being done at present is the normal process that would lead to the announcement of the new owners this coming December.

Take what you will out of that.

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