Archive for December, 2012

The Inevitable has happened: Cats suspend operations for 2013

Mark Charrette makes his entrance before the Fat Cats engage in one of their final homestands (photo courtesy Freedom Photography)

Mark Charrette makes his entrance before the Fat Cats engage in one of their final homestands (photo courtesy Freedom Photography)

The news may not exactly come as shocking, but the Ottawa Fat Cats have officially announced their suspension of operations for at least the 2013 season. The Fat Cats announced this today on their facebook page:

Dear Fans:

It is our deepest regret to announce that the Fat Cats have ceased operations for the 2013 baseball season. We want to take the time to thank the amazing fans of Ottawa, who supported us during the past three seasons. Staff, players and management have enjoyed spending summer weekends with the greatest fans in the league and we continued to hope that a resolution would be made with the city for a lease extension. Unfortunately, the city did not extend a lease to the Fat Cats, making it impossible for us to continue to operate. Our goal is to continue the baseball tradition in Ottawa and we will remain in contact with the City in order to work out a new lease agreement. On behalf of the players, the staff and the management team, we would like to thank you for your continued support of baseball in Ottawa. We hope to one day return to the field and offer our fans the most affordable family entertainment.

Happy holidays,

Ottawa Fat Cats Management

The news isn’t exactly shocking, as we know what the intentions of the city are. It’s Double-A or bust by the looks of it, as they barely gave the Cats a chance at survival.

I’ve covered this whole story fairly closely, there’s lots of info out there on the quest for Double-A and the situation that the Fat Cats have been thrown into here, so I’ll keep things short tonight. That being said, there are a few things that I want heard.

The situation here in Ottawa right now couldn’t get any messier. The future of the sport is up in the air because of an ownership group pulling the plug and it doesn’t really appear that anyone is happy about the current standing of things on either side.

Could the situation have been fixed? I believe the Fat Cats could definitely be playing in 2014, but when it comes to Double-A, it is what it is. The only thing we can really do is hope that it materializes, because it doesn’t look like we’ll be seeing baseball again if it falls through.

The Ryan group backed out for unknown reasons, but from what I’ve heard they were asking for too much.

That’s life, but there was a set renovation schedule for Ottawa Stadium last summer and the Fat Cats were told that they’d be allowed to play. What would’ve made this year any different? Don’t say they would’ve had less time this go around, because the original target date for Double-A ball was 2013.

Mayor Watson and the city could’ve handled the situation differently. Will it result in baseball being exiled from the city? Maybe.

The thought that I may never watch another baseball game at Ottawa Stadium is a hard one to stomach. If that is the case, however, I’ll really have no choice but to shut The Litter Box down. Hopefully that won’t have to happen – I’ve heard conflicting reports on the status of the deal. We’ll know for sure what will happen by April 1st, assuming that Richard Billings and Beacon won’t get another extension. Doubt they can finalize things any later than the April date, however.

The Fat Cats have provided many great moments over the years. From Matt McGovern picking apart the Barrie Baycats, to Wade Wilson’s desperation dive in right field to preserve a Fat Cats win. Things are looking pretty bleak right now, but we can still hope that there will be many more memories to come.

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Wrong turns

Most of you will know that those attempting to bring Double A baseball to the city were originally presented with a deadline of – pretty much right now. The details surrounding the team were supposed to be coming out around this point.

However significant hurdles have been put in the way of Beacon’s progress. Hurdles that once again have me worried about the future and have taught me a lesson: always be sceptic until something concrete is announced.

The bid to bring professional baseball back to Ottawa is facing long odds after the projected majority owner and one of the big-name minority ownership partners have apparently backed out, the Citizen has learned.

A Texas-based businessman, who was considered the front-runner to finance much of the purchase price of the Double-A Eastern League’s Binghamton Mets and provide a majority of the operating capital for the new Ottawa franchise, is believed to have pulled the plug within the last two weeks for undisclosed reasons.

There was an extension granted a little while ago on the deadline for securing the franchise. I now see why that happened. They need to find a majority owner!

At this point, I would just ditch the 2014 target date. In my opinion, they’re setting themselves out for failure by attempting to go for that. It would give them just over a year to set things up and with a situation like Ottawa’s; I don’t think that’s enough time.

All this depends on whether Beacon will continue on in their trek to save Ottawa baseball. I have sent an email to the Beacon CEO, but he has yet to respond (going to be honest, I’m not really holding my breath). In fact, all Ottawa baseball groups and the Mayor haven’t been able to comment.

Look, I’m a kid. A kid who stumbled upon the Ottawa Lynx in 2007 – the worst possible time for an Ottawan to become a baseball fan. Since that point, around June of that year, I’ve devoted my summers to this sport only to have my adopted team taken away from me 3 times now (Lynx, Rapidz, Fat Cats).

After all the interest the winning Fat Cats team generated, it appeared that we were getting a fresh start and the feeling accompanying that may have been bitter-sweet for obvious reasons, but in the end it was a good one because of the fall-back. Were there flaws in the process that had the Fat Cats getting kicked out of the stadium? Absolutely. However, the one thing that I could fall back on until this point is that there was still baseball in Ottawa’s future.

Now, it appears that we’ve taken the dark and gloomy road. Soon there may be nothing to fall back on and baseball could be gone from this city for good.

That’s not a good feeling.