Saturday, September 01, 2007


This is to throw in the face of anyone who's going to say that "no one cares about baseball" in Ottawa now that the Lynx are 99.9 per cent gone.

Well, guess what? Considering the team-in-limbo status of the Lynx, the tale of woe constantly batted around in the media, and the parking situation at the ballpark, it's not that bad. For all that reasons not to go, Ottawa doesn't fare too badly compared to the markets in the independent Can-Am League, which starts its schedule around June 1:

Lynx average attendance by month, 2007:
June: 1,864
July: 2,164
Aug./Sept.: 2,459
Post-June 1: 2,172

That's right in line with the 2,200 or so fans the typical Can-Am League team draws, give or take the normal vagaries with attendance (competition, the team's record, the weather). The Lynx had bad breaks this season. The Senators' run in the NHL playoffs probably hurt, and it was one of the wettest Junes in recent years. The team only had 11 home dates in July, so that kept attendance down, and owning the International League basement hurt.

The 2006 numbers show the same fluctuations, albeit with the higher attendance associated with a club that was more successful on the field, finishing above .500:

June: 2,060
July: 2,436
Aug./Sept.: 2,757
Post-June 1: 2,407

Please keep this in mind when anyone tries to say there's no chance for baseball to succeed here again. There are fans, and if this city is given a chance to cheer for an indie-league team where there's more of a kinship with the players than in the affiliated minor leagues, those numbers would jump. It's worth a shot, but of course, that's coming from someone who wouldn't be taking the financial risk. (We're all about the sweat equity here.)

Does anyone find this ironic? Major-league baseball dismantled the Expos, which led to Ottawa proper turning away from the Lynx and the city selling off parking around the stadium. So what's the biggest complaint about the new Washington Nationals ballpark? There's hardly any parking.

Chiefs 5 Lynx 1 (boxscore, play-by-play): Go figure -- Joe Thurston gets our nod as team MVP one night and makes an error (he hasn't made many) that opens the door to the Chiefs' go-ahead four-run sixth. By our math, three hits over the remaining two games would give him a .300 average in the IL for the season.

1 comment:

Pete Toms said...

Indy ball could come to town. Not coincidentally former Triple A cities Edmonton & Calgary are both now Indy ( Northern League ) towns. You're right, the shorter season ( no games in April & early May ) would be a big boost. The baseball fans in town that go to the Lynx ( I count amongst them ) are the same fans who would support Indy ball ( Can Am League or otherwise ).

What Miles Wolff has not told us so far is who the owner would be. Would it be him? ( he already owns the Quebec City team ), local people, out of towners?? I understand why he wants a team here, it makes sense logistically what with 1 Cdn team in the league (2 makes more sense for travel ), but I think until he has ownership in place......

This would also make a lot more sense if Wolff achieves his stated goal of a Can Am League team in Montreal as well, but there is no baseball stadium ( The Big O in my estimation never was a baseball stadium although I've seen many games there.)

It doesn't necessarily have to happen in 08 though, all the aspects that make sense about this will still be in place in 09 and onward.

As for the experience living here for the past 27 years indicates to me that our City government could be paralysed over the future of the Stadium for literally years ( can you say O Train? ). As for an Indy League franchise owner taking over the current lease...good luck figuring out what the hell is going on. When was the last time anything was reported re. the status of the lawsuit over the parking? For that matter does anybody know what happened with previous owner Howard Darwin's dispute with the City over stadium construction costs? Has that even been resolved?

Hopefully our City government will decide that we have a first class baseball stadium in this city and to destroy it or reconfigure it would be a waste and get on with working with the Miles Wolff's of Indy ball to bring a team here.