Congratulations, Rob Hall, you're No. 1.
In five short months, you topped Horn Chen and the Glieberguys as the worst sports owner in Ottawa history. There is no all-things-considered, no sympathetic ear for pulling the chute on the Ottawa Rapidz after a single season.
The record will show that you and fellow/former Zipperhead Rick Anderson bought the team and acted like overgrown brats with a new toy, not as keepers of a quasi-public trust. You rejected advice from people whose track record, unlike yours, actually suggests they know their ass from second base when it comes to baseball. Worst of all, you toyed with the hearts of the fans. They honestly believed that a new team would rise from the ashes of the Lynx's Long Goodbye. They feel like fools now, and honestly, that sucks.
Now you're going to take your ball and go home. This is how it works in business, huh? Be that as it may, it's a lousy way as far as the business of coming across as human being is concerned. Please, go stand in front of a mirror, and ask yourself, after what you have done, how is anyone in Ottawa ever going to trust another owner? All hope is not lost yet — last fall and winter is proof of such — but the window of opportunity is closing very quickly.
You have left Ottawa high and dry. The Can-Am League has assured itself stability in Nashua with the American Defenders of New Hampshire, there's no urgency to make sure there's an eighth franchise. They can run a road team next year if needed.
There would be sympathy for your situation if you had just manned up and said, "We tried, but we couldn't make a go of this ... we hope someone else will for the 2009 season." This is a business. Independent-league teams have start-up costs. Many flame out in a trice.
That would have left people with a small window of hope. Instead, you turtled. You resorted to a blame game. Forgive me for expressing a heartfelt opinion, since that's just not done in Ottawa, but there is next-to-no reason that anyone should buy your contention that you were "told by the city in a meeting early this month that rent at the stadium would jump from its present $108,000 per season to in the area of $1 million once the current lease with the city expires following the 2009 season."
No one is calling you a liar. It's just that anyone who caught the Rapidz' act and has a fully functioning brain knows better. You ran through any bit of public trust that you might have accidentally had, which makes it hard to believe anything that comes out your cakehole.
Best wishes on making a clean break. The least you can do is apologize to each and every Ottawa ball fan who is heartbroken.
(The Nashua Telegraph, unlike any Ottawa media outlet, is covering the Can-Am League meets in Brockton, Mass. Let's see what they have on this tomorrow.)
Ottawa Rapidz strike out (Don Campbell, Ottawa Citizen)