Ottawa Stadium elevator mishap highlights need for improvements

Baseball Day in Ottawa was the first action at Ottawa Stadium this season (source)

Baseball Day in Ottawa was the first action at Ottawa Stadium this season (source)

The first inaugural Baseball Day in Ottawa took place yesterday afternoon at Ottawa Stadium, which featured a lineup of Ottawa Knights games on the ballpark’s soggy field.

The Elite 18U Knights hosted the Carleton Russell Aces to start the festivities in the early afternoon, then the 18U AA Knights finished off the day with game number 2 of the double header as they entertained the Hull Volant – a club that has faced the IBL’s Fat Cats in the past.

The inaugural event was supposed to be kicked off by Mayor Jim Watson, Can-Am Commissioner Miles Wolff and hall-of-famer Fergie Jenkins – but an unscheduled incident prevented that from happening.

OTTAWA — The seventh-inning stretch couldn’t come soon enough for Mayor Jim Watson, Hall of Fame pitcher Fergie Jenkins and nine others who were confined inside an Ottawa Stadium elevator for almost an hour Saturday during the city’s inaugural Baseball Day.

The incident — emblematic of Ottawa’s recent pro baseball fortunes — ended when one of the mayor’s aides, Will Bulmer, managed to open the elevator doors with his umbrella.

The party entered the elevator on the stadium’s fourth floor at about noon in order to take part in the 12:15 p.m. opening ceremonies on the stadium’s rain-soaked field.

But the elevator jammed between the third and fourth floors.

Multiple sources mention that over 10 people were in the elevator at the time and as seen above, they were headed to field level for the pre-game ceremonies. Given this information, it is reasonable to assume that commissioner Wolff was trapped along with Jenkins, Watson and Champions of Ottawa Baseball head Dave Gourlay.

Regardless of Wolff’s presence, the situation is still ridden with irony.

Mayor Jim Watson has been attempting to bring pro baseball back to Ottawa for a while now. In this quest for investors, the stadium itself has taken a place on the back burner. We’ve seen weeds growing in the infield on multiple occasions and now an elevator stalling between floors, long past its expiry date.

It just so happens that the man overseeing the upkeep of the stadium (albeit along with the rest of the city) was in the elevator at the time that it malfunctioned. How’s that for a wake-up call?

Don’t get me wrong, Jim Watson has done an admirable job keeping the baseball culture alive in the city and making the right decision by securing another Can-Am team. However, since the city tossed the Fat Cats out, the stadium’s condition has gone under the rug.

Due to that, we now see incidents like these pop up. It’s almost as if the elevator knew who was inside at the time that it shut down in an attempt to bring the dire need of improvements to the attention of the right people.

Hopefully, noticeable renovations start soon and we’ll be able to see the unfortunate hiccups come to an end. Miles Wolff did mention in an email this past winter that renovations are well underway.

“The city has already done considerable work at the stadium and will continue over the next year” Wolff said in December.

Until this work has completed, perhaps Ottawa Stadium users should consider taking the stairs.

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