Monday, August 24, 2009

Ottawa Can-Ams: Dave Butler puts true fans in a show-us state

Put up or shut up, David Butler.

An attention-seeker with zero track record as a sports operator can only do harm to efforts to get any kind of franchise up and running at Ottawa's Coventry Rd. stadium. The big publicity stunt that you saw today was a pathetically obvious attempt to try to do a selling job on the city council.

Most reports have ignored that the sub-lease the Can-Am League negotiated with the ownership of the defunct Ottawa Lynx expires at the end of September. Butler is trying to create a groundswell of support — a hackneyed ploy straight from his hero Frank D'Angelo's playbook — before the amateurs have to clear the floor and make room for the big boys who would like to lay hands on that piece of property. That is his journey.

Anyone who has been following this story these past two years knows Butler, will in all certainty, go back under his rock once his 15 minutes are up. The real risk is that Butler can do damage to groups who want to make serious inquiries about the facility, be it for Can-Am League baseball, another ball team, perhaps soccer (you could get the capacity up to 14,000 seats by putting temporary bleachers, but where would people park?).

Stringing along the public while an indifferent and/or lazy media laps it up (hey, have to generate content and it is the last week of August) could be damaging. If people buy Butler's cock-and-ball story and it doesn't work out, which is pretty damn likely, it hurts the chances of a more credible operator doing something. It could also mean the city would be less likely to make a fair deal on use of the stadium. (For those who don't know, all the sports facilities in Ottawa, such as the Sensplex, are heavily subsidized by the city, but the ballpark was not, although that was one among many reasons the Lynx are livin' in Allentown.)

Meantime, for the media who gave Butler his photo op, how hard is it to work the Google on the Internet machine and get some idea of what he is about? How tough is it to contact Can-Am League commissioner Miles Wolff?

Dave Butler and his partner, Duncan MacDonald are inexperienced and in 99.9% likelihood are underfunded. They have no experience. It is established beyond a reasonable doubt that Butler has not produced when it matters. He could not even get the team bus to arrive at the stadium to pick the Rapidz up for a road trip last season. No amount of calling yourself an "Ottawa businessman" (CBC's term) and saying you are "ready to go now" will make up for being cash- and knowledge-deficient. If he can pull it off, more power to him, but it is probably not happening and shame on the media for letting itself be taken on a trolley ride.

Forget asking to see the colour of someone's money — in this case, it's more like seeing if someone has money, period. Meantime, once that lease is up at the end of next month, someone more credible probably will roll out a plan. Beware anyone who tries to push his case through the public.

New Ottawa baseball pitch lands at city (


Anonymous said...

Sadly, I have to agree - serious business people would have had their discussions with the City quietly and through the proper channels. That Butler's "group" felt the need to go about it in this fashion is telling - as in, we can tell this isn't credible.

Hopefully, for baseball in Ottawa's sake, he proves us all wrong.

On a brighter note, it was good talking with you today.

Anonymous said...

this guy is a clown - no chance he gets this done.

Anonymous said...

But, important thing here, why would the Ottawa Sun, which has an impeccable record with this sort of thing, do a story on him then? Naete is just bitter because they only let him cover tiddlywinks.

Anonymous said...

"Naete is just bitter because they only let him cover tiddlywinks."

Is that you again, Frank?

Anonymous said...

It may well be. I would imagine Frank has a lot of time on his hands these days.

Anonymous said...

There are said to be three other business groups interested. They are being quiet about their proposals. Hopefuly at least one of them has more substance behind them as it is clear that not many Ottawans have much faith in Butler.

MD said...

I keep hearing about the Ottawa Stadium Group wanting to bring baseball back to Ottawa and Mr. David Butler's involvement. What saddens me is that nobody seems to be digging to see who these people are. Mr. Butler used to be the owner of Superior Shuttle bus Company, a company that went bankrupt only to reopen under a new name, Bytown Trolley Company, which, apparently to Mr. Butler himself (from an email he has sent me personally), also went bankrupt. Now, we see all over the news that he is the owner of that company, this after telling me it was bankrupt!! By investigating, you will find that this businessman has left many trails of unpaid bills, NSF cheques behind him.

What bothers me is that my city council is willing to do business with someone of that will probably leave the City with more debt, using our tax dollars.

If you would like more information, I would be more than willing to share what I have.

Anonymous said...

I saw this publicity stunt and it was the dumbist thing i have ever seen is trolley bus dripped oil all across the brick walkway to city hall and delivered a speech which made zero sence ..They should just demolish this building and get it over with.

Anonymous said...

March 5,2010-
Some basic questions regarding the new IBL team-
who is the general manager?
who is the field manager?
what are the plans for player signings and recruitment?
when will the season schedule be released?
what are the plans for promotion of the club?
is there a websitefor the ballclub?