Friday, September 07, 2007


Someone else can dwell on the feeling that a guy from North Carolina, Miles Wolff, cares more about having baseball and green spaces in this country's major cities than some of the decision-makers appear to, but that's for another time.

The long and short of this city's post-Lynx baseball future is that the Can-Am League is eager to get into this market. Carl Kiiffner at Ottawa Lynx Blog got the commish on the phone the other day (please, go read it) what Wolff told him about his dealings with City Hall raise questions about where Mayor Larry O'Brien and city council's heads are these days.

Carl's take, after talking to Wolff:

"Here's the killer: The Can-Am League deal has no strings attached. It wasn't contingent upon finding a local owner, arranging funding or any other proviso. As has been widely reported, they (the league) would undertake a five-year lease agreement with the City, picking up the remainder of the Lynx lease at the same cost -- even though they were only playing 50 games."

Also, something that bears underlining in the Nashua's paper about the Can-Am League taking over the Lynx lease:

As part of the deal, the Lynx would drop litigation against the city over parking issues.

So much for the Lynx not showing their hand! Anyway, it is such a no-brainer.

Anyway, if the Can-Am League is shut out by the city, don't say that Ottawa and its fans are have become anathema to an "American game." Miles Wolff, who already owns a team in Canada, and who helped bring indie ball to Winnipeg with the Northern League Goldeyes, believes in baseball in this city.

Don't beat ourselves up and start listing off the teams that have failed. It looks every bit like the mayor and City Hall alone are the ones saying no to a something that's very cost-effective and which would stand a good chance of succeeding. Why, no one knows. Sorry, but an elected official's worth is based on what he or she will do for people who don't make a up a big voting bloc and when an election is not coming up soon. They should be standing up for baseball fans now.

It's odd how in the States, where capitalism is next to godliness, the Americans get it with green space and the simple idea of going to a minor-league ballgame. The short-season indie leagues and summer college leagues are booming. Meantime, in Ottawa, we get let's just tear everything down approach.


The Can-Am League has one franchise, maybe two that might be moving. The Nashua, N.H., team isn't drawing well. Then there The Grays, the league's "road team." I'll admit I overthought the Grays' reason for being, assuming it was one of those indie-ball gimmicks, but a 2005 Boston Globe feature on The Grays captures the reality of what those players go through. No league would want to put a team through that and the team could be moved here.

Former owner weighs in on future (Tom King, Nashua Telegraph)
Ottawa hoping to land Can-Am franchise (Tom King, Nashua Telegraph)

That's all for now. Send your thoughts to


Pete Toms said...

Isn't it ironic that the Boston Globe article mentions that Allentown's Indy team went bust after 04? A few weeks ago Sports Business Journal published their list of "Best Minor League Markets". Their comments on Lehigh Valley (which is Allentown) are, "The bottom feeder in our 2005 ranking will have a new Class AAA team and a new stadium next year, and years of failed pro sports ventures could be wiped away. Maybe." All that glitters isn't gold....

As for the Nashua Telegraph pieces ( N, you're really doin your homework ) they do point out the instability of Indy Leagues. Franchises are often nomadic, leagues fold & resurface. I.E. At it's height in 02 the Northern League fielded 18 teams and drew 2 million + fans. This past season the same league fielded 8 teams. After the 05 season 4 of NL's teams in the Midwest moved to Wolff's startup American Association (Wolff left the Northern League after 02) which opened the door for Cdn cities Calgary, Edmonton & Winnipeg to join the Northern League.

As for what's going on at City Hall, I like everyone thinks chaos reigns presently. Good luck getting this on the radar of Council and the Mayor.

I am starting to get hopeful though that I could be watching Can Am ball next May!

Bob said...

Neate and Pete,

Not only isn't it ironic that this article mentions Allentown's most recent failed franchise, the Ambassadors, but the reason the concept of a road team exists in the first place stems from a complete debacle in the Lehigh Valley years ago where a stadium was partially built, halted, and eventually torn down.

The result is the Road Warriors of the Atlantic League who pop up every time the league has an uneven number of teams.
It seems that site has exceeded its transfer limit. But searching for the Williams Township Ballpark should bring up some results on that ignominious chapter in Allentown sports history.