Talks heat up as Watson meets with Jays

I’ve had a couple recent inquiries into what’s been going on with the Double-A situation. With talks heating up considerably as of late, I have trouble offering any sort of analysis – which could turn out to be a good thing for the sake of your reading pleasure.

I’ll let Ken Gray take things away from here with an excerpt from a recent post on Bulldog Ottawa:

Meetings in Toronto and Ottawa today [Thursday] and Friday have come about because negotiations have reached a critical point, baseball insiders say.

The negotiations include Rogers Communications, the Toronto Blue Jays (which are owned by Rogers), Mandalay Sports Entertainment and Professional Sports Catering (two companies interested in bringing a Double-A team to Ottawa), Mayor Jim Watson’s office and the Eastern League.

Despite published reports to the contrary, the team that would be expected to move to Ottawa would not be the Eastern League Erie Sea Wolves, sources say.

Plans to sell Mandalay are making negotiations trickier than expected, but are not expected to prevent the company from being part of a potential Ottawa franchise, insiders say. The same sources said they were surprised that Watson announced the Toronto negotiations because the situation is very delicate. Mandalay and Pro Sports are two of the most successful and innovative operators in Minor League Baseball.

The talks are expected to result in a decision on the future of baseball in Ottawa. Sources would not speculate on their outcome but would only say the negotiations had reached a critical point. The principals to the deal are looking for financial support from Rogers and the Blue Jays.

I honestly have no idea what to expect from this. What a whirlwind ordeal.

Firstly, I don’t think anyone with a casual knowledge of the situation would have expected Mandalay to go on the market. It makes the situation tricky, but more importantly, the sale of a Double-A team can still happen regardless.

Judging by the vocabulary of the quotes here from certain insiders in Gray’s post, it appears that this is gut check time for negotiations. In the few weeks, I wouldn’t be surprised if we see some hints as to what direction we’re headed in.

Considering that there’s still another two months that have been allotted for the deal to materialize since the original April 1st deadline was extended, I’m expecting them to take all the time they need – maybe even working into the summer.

That’s all for now, hopefully I’ll be able to write about baseball soon.

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