The Fat Cats should be playing this season – and beyond

Rick Howroyd puts away the final out of game 3 in the 2011 IBL Championship (photo courtesy Freedom Photography)

Rick Howroyd puts away the final out of game 3 in the 2011 IBL Championship (photo courtesy Freedom Photography)

Back in 2011, the Fat Cats were the talk of the town as they made it all the way to the IBL final, drawing over 4,000 people per game consistently during their run, rivaling the storied Ottawa 67’s in terms of crowd size.

Now, due to the success of the Fat Cats, we’re looking at an empty stadium for two years. Ironic, isn’t it?

Of course, this wasn’t the original plan. If things went as they were planned at first, we’d quite possibly be getting ready to head out to a renovated Ottawa Stadium right now to watch the Ottawa Blue Jays – while not missing a single summer of baseball.

The Fat Cats, assumingly, would’ve had their final season inside Ottawa last year during renovations.  That’s right, it would’ve been possible for the team to play ball through the ongoing construction in and around the stadium.

So my question to Mayor Watson is this – why isn’t Ottawa Stadium being used for Fat Cats baseball right now?

The reason that the Cats and OSG weren’t allowed to play this year in the first place was because they couldn’t fit them in under the schedule. If the Fat Cats were able to fit in to the schedule before, what caused that to suddenly change? It doesn’t seem to make any sense.

The easiness of the Cats’ schedule reaffirms the strangeness of the sudden change. If they were in the IBL this season, they would play a 42-game schedule, with 21 of those games being at home. If you include Friday nights and add in a couple double headers, the entire Fat Cats schedule could be played in around 6 weekends.

This equals out, obviously, to 12 days. 12 days without construction and 75+ days with isn’t a major hoop to jump through for the city. It seems like they could accommodate the Fat Cats if they really wanted to – the first devised plan shows that.

Jim Watson clearly has a plan for the stadium this summer. He’s alluded to it in tweets and rejected an offer from Duncan MacDonald’s new group in order to go ahead with this plan. Not only that, but the city is not allowing the charity fundraiser Home Runs for Autism to utilize the stadium for their event. They’ve been forced into Carlington Park for this year.

I would like to know what that plan is and what it consists of. Now, obviously I’m not going to jump to conclusions and suggest that it’s a bad plan before I see it, but if it doesn’t involved a competitive level of baseball being played at the stadium, I would hope this plan isn’t in place until the current negotiations are settled.

Let’s see the field used for what it was built for – baseball. If it isn’t, we could see interest for baseball dwindle, as the momentum that the Fat Cats brought to town is slowly fading away.

In fact, why doesn’t the city welcome back the Fat Cats for 2014? We’ve already established that the Cats’ schedule is easy and can be worked into a construction schedule and that there won’t be Double-A baseball in 2014, so why not? If anything, it would boost the fading interest for baseball in this city as the stadium sits empty.

Give it some thought, Mr. Mayor! In the meantime, I hope the current proposal you’re mustering up doesn’t involve grass achieving waist-high levels.

 

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