Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Ottawa baseball fans: Alone again, naturally

Question for everyone: If a team is broke, then any hypothetical figure the city throws out for annual stadium rent is irrelevant:
"If the Rapidz are already bankrupt, this million dollar a year lease argument is entirely irrelevant — a red herring. It’s pretty tough to blame the City for this — no more than I would blame an undertaker for not saving his unfortunate client. For his part, the commissioner of the Can-Am League, Miles Wolff concurs — the City has bent over backwards for Independent baseball in Ottawa, they’re not the problem.

"Watch closely as the facts continue to spill out over the next few days."
— Carl Kiiffner, The unofficial Ottawa Rapids blog
Please go read Mr. Kiiffner's post in its entirety. There are many salient points, along with some rather damning words from Rob Hall and Rick Anderson that have been retrieved from the memory-hole. He also makes it pretty clear why many were justified to withdraw in disgust after seeing the direction the club went in under the Zipperheads
"The Rapids were the team envisioned by most of us, people like Miles Wolff, Don and Lorraine Charrette and my son. A team that was snatched from the jaws of defeat more than once, and that had its zenith at the February 14th press conference with the introduction of its first manager, its front office staff, and its distinctive logo. The people involved all held one unifying trait: They loved the game of baseball.

"The contrast with the Rapidz was as stark as it was disquieting. First the name and logo change — a pointless decision that needlessly upset many of the fledgling franchise's fans. Next, the firing of GM Don Charrette and the very clumsily handled dismissal of Ed Nottle, the latter a complete PR disaster. Good things that had been done around the park were completely undermined and then forgotten. In the two years that I’ve written the Unofficial Ottawa Lynx Blog I have yet to receive one email from a former or then current staff member criticizing the organization. Not a single one. The Rapidz? Don’t even ask."
Every effort was made here to give this franchise a chance. However, it took just more than three months before one could be sure in saying there was "uneasiness over whether we'll have pro baseball in Ottawa beyond 2009."

It turned out that was being way too generous. There's still a flicker of hope, but it's not much of one.

Update: It appears the Nashua Telegraph swallowed the unsubstantianted allegation too:
"Reportedly, there have been lucrative offers to the city for the land that the Rapidz' stadium rests on, so much so the city has allegedly said it would charge the Rapidz as much as $1 million in rent after the current lease expires in 2009, an obvious attempt to force them out.

"City officials have denied that is the case.

"The Rapidz may be gone as soon as this year. Team owner Rob Hall informed Can-Am owners yesterday he was ceasing operations and declaring bankruptcy.

"' Right now, nothing official has happened," Wolff said. 'But we'll have to see.' "
Please bear in mind, the lease calls for a professional baseball team to play at the stadium through 2009. That would lead one to believe the City can't sell the stadium even if it was offered a billion dollars for the land.

No comments: