Is it a New Hampshire dick-slap of cockiness on the part of the group trying to bring Jays-affiliated Eastern League baseball to Ottawa, or another where there’s smoke there’s fire sign that maybe something is going on with the Jays and the nation’s capital? I have no idea, but apparently Beacon Sports, the Boston company who are trying to bring double-A baseball to the city, says that Ottawa’s refurbished stadium will have an artificial turf playing surface.

According to Ken Gray of the Ottawa Citizen, the company’s chief financial officer, Gerald Sheehan, tells him that the call on what surface a minor league stadium uses belongs to the affiliate’s Major League parent, and that teams generally want their prospects playing on the same kind of surface as the big club.

And as we all are too painfully aware of, the Jays are one of just two MLB teams still playing on shit-ass looking turf.

Interesting. Though you kinda get the sense that this is just desperation from the Ottawa group, going all-in to woo the lone MLB affiliation they know can make their venture a success.

On the other hand, while¬†MLB rules prohibit clubs from approaching another team’s affiliate while their player development contract is in effect, but maybe the Jays are within their right to speak to Beacon, while the group works to get their hands on an Eastern League team– supposedly the Binghamton Mets– to move. I have no idea. But there sure is a lot of smoke…

Comments (23)

  1. Having a minor league Jays affiliate in Ottawa is almost too good of an idea. On a side note, is this stadium supposed to be domed? Or are they thinking artificial grass on an outdoor field? That sounds really weird….

  2. Why is it such a good idea? Syracuse was closer than Ottawa and Jays fans weren’t exactly filling the stands out there. If being in Ottawa is best for the Jays I’m all for it, but let’s not pretend we’re all of a sudden gonna start heading out to the minor league games in droves.

    • Ottawa:
      a) Within the same media market as the Jays, creating a possibility for broadcasting minor league games on Sportsnet One or TSN 8: The Ocho or whatever
      b) Already full of Jays fans. If you’re in upstate New York, you’re probably a Yankees fan. Although you might head down to the ballpark the odd time to watch the SkyChiefs, it’s hard to become a diehard knowing that you’re graduating the next generation of a division rival.
      c) 10 times larger population than Syracuse. We (Toronto) don’t need to go to games in Ottawa to keep the team afloat. Ottawa can take care of itself.

      • Gotta say as a Jays fan from Syracuse, the Blue Jays cultivated alot of fans in Western and Central New York. It is a Yankees town but you’d be surprised how many Blue Jays fans are here in Syracuse and still loyal. Although I can’t say the Chiefs ownership did any favors for Toronto brass towards the end of the relationship other than revert back to the ‘Chiefs’ name (SkyChiefs was a PR fiasco and may have turned Syracuse against Simone’s ownership for good) and installing grass back in 2007 before kicking them out a year later.

      • Ottawa failed as an Expos affiliate, and Montreal is around the corner. I can’t see the Jays fan or population argument having any effect here.

        • That’s not entirely correct. Ottawa failed as a “Orioles” affiliate as they were the affiliate for a few years before the team folding. I wasn’t around Ottawa when they affiliated with the Expos but people I’ve talked to said they drew better crowds.

          Personally, i went to couple of games a year when they were around but if they brought the Jays AA team to town, I would be at the park a lot more and I have several friends who feel the same way.

          • They were actually a Phillies affiliate in their last year before being moved down to Pennsylvania.

            Regardless, attendance was a problem and it may continue to be. Though I think with the Jays trying very hard to build a national brand, it could work out well. Especially if Rogers is willing to televise some or most games.

  3. Plenty of Jays fans in Ottawa and surrounding area. I don’t think the intention is to attract fans from the GTA. You guys already have the big league club.

    I’m not sure what’s best for the club, but as an Ottawa resident, I’d love a Jays club here.

    I just couldn’t bring myself to watch Baltimore’s farm team when it used to be here.

    • Nice, exactly my point.

    • Fair enough, but is an affiliation with the Blue Jays really enough to prevent the team from the same cycle that happened to the Lynx? Attendance was a big problem when they were linked with the Expos, and I’d have assumed there were more Expos fans in the Ottawa area than Jays fans.

      • I really don’t know. Hopefully someone does the due diligence.

        I know that I would be very excited about attending Jays minor league games and I doubt that would wear off very quickly.

        That said, I realize I don’t represent the entire city.

        • I am also an Ottawa resident, and can say with confidence that I would attend Jays minor league games regularly.

          The interest in the Jays is palpable here and I think it would succeed. Just look at when they stopped here during Winter Tour – folks lined up for autographs starting at 8am for a 1pm session. I strolled in at noon thinking I’d be front of the line

      • AAA baseball lasted 15 seasons in Ottawa on its last go around, which is nothing to sneeze at.

        While it’s true that the interest in the franchise was already weaning during the tail end of the Expos affiliation, you have to remember that the Expos themselves were already dying at that point.

        So why would fans in Ottawa be expected to care anymore than those in Montreal? Then the switch to Baltimore was a bad fit as a division rival to the Jays who by then had a big fan base in eastern Ontario. By the time the Phillies came in, the team was a dead man walking.

        Sure, it’s a lot of excuses and if a city’s a baseball town it ought to support the team regardless. But hey, by that measure Toronto itself has been a failure for years now.

        In the end, just as the Jays are trying to reinvigorate interest in Toronto, with their renewed national strategy this is a great fit to try kickstart affiliated pro baseball in Ottawa.

  4. Hmm early start this morning.. I like it. The idea of more Jays related talent coming to play north of the border is an interesting prospect, just as a “maple dick tickling” prospect that is. How long before the novelty would wear off though? Seriously though.. who doesn’t like a little maple dick tickling every once in a while?

  5. Closer to who? You? Toronto? Being close to Toronto would probably actually hurt their attendance numbers because most who aren’t hardcore fans would rather go to the major league game vs the minor.

    I think its a good idea because the team will be in Canada surrounded by a population that enjoys baseball, within the Jays broadcast network, and within a region thats probably predominantly Jays fans. Yet far enough that people wouldn’t go to the major league game vs the minor league one.

  6. If any of this is true, and it does actually happen (Ottawa getting a team, the team being affiliated with the Jays, Ottawa putting down turf), then I hope they do it anticipating a transition to natural grass. I’d hate to have Ottawa go through what Toronto fans go through whenever the feasibility of installing grass at the dome is raised.

  7. “dick-slap of cockiness ”

    And who thought DJF would sell out by becoming an official score blog?

  8. With the rising popularity of blogs like this one, I personally feel there is a rising interest in the farm teams, or more accurately, in the prospects of the Major League team. Therefore, I do see how being able to drive to Ottawa for a AA game, would be attractive to a lot of Jays fans, as opposed to driving further and crossing the border to see the Fisher Cats.

    At the end of the day, I hear a lot about our prospects, but without tv broadcasts of minor league or spring training games, I do not actually get to see these kids play. The Marlies have done very well since the Leafs brought them from St Johns, and that is in the same city as the Leafs (I realize that it is more expensive and harder to get tickets to Leafs’ games as opposed to Jays’ games).

  9. Also, when I first looked at this post I was on my cell and I thought the photo was of Mac and Dennis from Always Sunny…

  10. With regards to driving up interest for the Jays, it can’t be any worse than the interest people in New Hampshire have for them. Going to their stadium, you would think that the Fisher Cats were Boston’s farm team as they sell far more Sox merchandise and try their best to promote matchups against the Sox and Yankees affiliates. Many of their promotions involve Red Sox player bobble heads. The only sign that they are the Jays affiliate is one rack in the merch store, one Jays logo in their 82pg souvenir program and a couple pictures of the 1992/93 World Series teams in the corner of their restaurant.

    The New Hampshire franchise does do very well though. They were Baseball America’s AA club of the year in 2009 and they’re about 20% above league average in attendance. Their stadium is nice and they obviously do well in terms of player development. I guess the fear is that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.

  11. Aren’t the Binghamton Mets in the IL, not the EL?

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