Archive for July, 2014

OSEG transit deal should be duplicated for Champions

When crowds were sparse at Ottawa Stadium, it mostly had to do with lack of parking available in the area.

When crowds were sparse at Ottawa Stadium, it mostly had to do with lack of parking available in the area.

Ottawa is buzzing over the return of football with the RedBlacks moving in to the newly renovated TD Place.

Equally exciting is a Lansdowne Park that has been transformed from a sea of concrete into a vibrant village featuring unique stores, outdoor skating rinks, green space, condos and more.

In my opinion, these upgrades at Lansdowne will do wonders for the city and the sports scene, despite the loud cries of a small group of protesters.

However despite all this new infrastructure, a new problem has risen that makes the situation at TD Place somewhat familiar to that down the road at Ottawa Stadium; how in the hell are we going to get there?

With the buildings occupying the former parking lot at Lansdowne, spaces for cars have been reduced to paltry amounts. Only 500 spots will be available at Lansdowne Park, reduced from 2,200 before the renovations.

Similarly, the Ottawa Stadium parking lot was slowly eaten away during the Lynx existence, to the point where only 800 were available on site. Since then, this number has been reduced with the expansion of the Hampton Inn next door, and the addition of the pedestrian bridge. It is a rough estimate, but I’d say that just 600 spots remain on site.

To combat the parking issues for TD Place events, OSEG and the city of Ottawa have partnered and initiated a plan, titled The Game Plan to Get Down to Lansdowne.

The “game plan” consists of shuttles from various locations, incuding Carleton University and the RA Centre, as well as free OC Transpo bus service for those with a ticket to a TD Place event.

The first thought that came to mind when reading this was one of relief, knowing that I’ll be able to get to 67’s, Fury FC and RedBlacks games directly from school and not having to commute back to the east end before headed back in the same direction.

The second thought, however, had to do with baseball.

Remember when the Can-Am League was given the lease of Ottawa Stadium? The city claimed that they would help the team find parking in the area (but no guarantees).

Well, a similar plan to one that the city brought to life while collaborating with OSEG could do wonders for the baseball club, even if it’s on a smaller scale.

In fact, smaller scale fits the stadium plan perfectly, given the new pedestrian bridge that the city is currently in the process of building. This pedestrian bridge connects the stadium directly to the Tremblay Road transitway stop across the highway.

Since many busses will go directly to the ballpark, ease of access is there and the need for special routes to the ballpark disappears.

Free rides would help encourage those to bus as well. I already will be bussing and I know that many other fans will be, but an enticing element would be to negotiate free bus rides for those with tickets.

After all, the city just negotiated this with OSEG at TD Place. One would think that if the city values baseball as much as it does the other sports, the same would be done for the Champions.

Mayor Watson has a lot on the line with baseball. In my opinion it would be wise for him to advise OC Transpo to negotiate a similar deal with the baseball team in Ottawa.

If this is not done, it looks bad on the city to be helping one of their sports franchises with a parking problem and not the other. It also effectively nulls all of the mayor’s previous support for professional baseball, given that the city would be showing favouritism toward the OSEG group over the Champions.

If Jim Watson does want baseball to last in Ottawa, this could be the first step to success.

 

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Ottawa Champions: How will they fare?

Occasionally, I have guest contributors pitch in with articles here at the Litter Box. A new writer, Matthew Rose, joins that crowd today. Matt will be contributing to the blog, helping cover the Champions. Here’s his first post – an introductory one if you will. Welcome to the team, Matt.

BY MATTHEW ROSE

Finally! The wait for the return of Ottawa baseball is over at last. With a new Can-Am baseball team set to join the league in 2015, there’s a new buzz around town. However, some are still a little skeptical.

For some residents of Ottawa, they couldn’t be happier about the new ball team. Some are still very disappointed in the fact that the Fat Cats were pushed out of town. I still sort of feel a bit confused as to why the Fat Cats left the city. They did attract fairly decent crowds and what’s better than going out to a game on a Sunday afternoon with your family?

With the Champions, we could probably have just as much fun! The Can-Am league however, only has 4 teams with Ottawa becoming it’s 5th – the schedules may become a bit tricky.

One thing that everyone can agree on is that the Ottawa Stadium needs significant upgrades and the city has promised to put quite a bit of money into it. The current seating capacity in the Stadium is approximately 10, 332 which is perfect considering the average attendance of a Can-Am league game is 2, 137.

This could mean the renovation of the Stadium could include taking out seats to put in something that makes the Stadium better or creates more money to put into something like the concession stands. I believe most people would agree that the concourse has been a major issue in the stadium.

There are currently 2 Canadian teams (Quebec, Trois-Rivieres) and 2 American teams (New Jersey, Rockland, NY). Since the league has reformed in 2005, the Quebec Capitales have won 6 championships (currently winning the championship 5 seasons straight). With a team name of the ‘Champions’, Ottawa’s expectations will be raised much higher and will most likely be laughed at if they’re terrible.header-bg.jpg

Before I end this blog, I’d just like to say a huge thankyou to Michael Nellis for giving me this opportunity. I love baseball and am very excited to be writing about my own city’s baseball. Here’s to a new and improved baseball team in Ottawa!