That sound you hear is hearts breaking in Ottawa…

Or perhaps it’s actually the sound of money being flushed down the toilet. John Lott of the National Post explains that ”City council has approved $5.7-million in renovations to Ottawa Stadium, former home of the Lynx, a Triple-A team. A community group campaigned to bring the Jays to town and recruited 3,102 season-ticket deposits for next season, even though the nation’s capital still has no team.”

He adds that the nation’s capital may still land a Double-A team, but without a Blue Jays affiliation, it’s hard to imagine it being anything close to the kind of success it could have been as the Jays’ affiliate.

One might think that the group trying to bring Jays-related baseball there could turn their attention to the Triple-A International League, which could be home to the Jays farm club in 2013, as their PDC with Las Vegas expires after this season, but I think that horse may have already left the barn. Even if Ottawa could upgrade their facilities to Triple-A calibre, rumor has it– as Lott also passes along– that the Jays are going to try and get into Buffalo, as the Bisons’ deal with the Mets expires after this season as well. Of course, that’s where they wanted to end up when they left Syracuse, too, and that didn’t exactly go as planned…


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Comments (30)

  1. What the fuck?! Get your shit together and bring more minor league ball to Canada. Jeez….

    • Who are you speaking to? The Jays?

      They have their shit together in New Hampshire, apparently, or they wouldn’t have re-upped.

      The fact that Ottawa has shitshow potential probably didn’t help.

      • I think he was actually talking to you directly Stoeten. Get your shit together and get this done, will you!

  2. Ottawa is going to have to have a “build it and have faith” situation; even if they can’t land a Jays’ affiliate right away, it seems almost inevitable that the Jays will try and get there, somehow, someway, eventually.

  3. The Fisher Cats are one of the top minor-league operations in the US. They were Baseball America’s AA franchise of the year in 2010 and they’re one of the top teams in terms of attendance numbers in AA (and would be middle of the pack at the AAA level). Their stadium is great and I’m sure the Jays are satisfied with the training environment in place there. So it’s not hard to see why they would want to stick with them. If you have a chance to go see a game in Manchester I’d really suggest going and seeing it for yourself.

    The only issue where currently Ottawa would win out over NH is the marketing potential. When you go to a Fisher Cats game, you have little clue that they’re a Jays affiliate apart from a few team pictures of the World Series teams in a corner of the outfield restaurant, one logo in the team program and one rack of Blue Jays merch in the shop. In comparison, they regularly have Red Sox promotions and giveaways (Carlton Fisk bobblehead night, for example), and plenty of Red Sox merch in the shop. When we went to a game, we bought out tickets and were asked if we were Red Sox fans and would want to see Pawtucket play later in the week, and this is while we were all wearing Jays stuff. I assume that the Jays would work closely with an Ottawa franchise to boost their own image in that market in a way that just isn’t happening in NH right now.

  4. I thought the plan was to relocate the AAA team from Las Vegas to Ottawa anyway, not NH.

  5. From a fans perspective, this sucks. The Toronto Blue Jays are really missing out on building their fanbase and gaining excitement outside of Toronto.
    I don’t claim to know if this would make finacial sense even given that Ottawa City Council earmarked $5.6 mil to help towards renovations, but do know that the Jays AA team would bring in more fans the current tenants: The Ottawa Fat Cats of the Intercounty Baseball League.
    From a totally selfish viewpoint, I live in Kingston and would be excited to go to Ottawa to see these games!

  6. Right. So tod what team are the Jays relocating to AAA Ottawa? The Jays don’t own the 51s, and they can’t just “create” a team in a AAA league.

    • Ok I see your point and it makes sense but how would it have worked with NH then? It begs the exact same question.

      • I think that there was another team (forget which, but it was the Mets affiliate) that they were talking about moving here.

        This just fucking sucks.

  7. Full season baseball is destined to fail in Ottawa because of the weather. Fans will not come to the park until after the May long weekend. The Fatcats play a much shorter season which explains their success. A short season Blue Jay team would be ideal but I don’t know if it will work geographically.

  8. It’s going to be very complicated to switch. The only team I can see that’s in trouble in either the PCL or IL is the Tucson Padres, who were supposed to only be in Tucson while a new stadium was built in a San Diego suburb, but that deal died and now they are stuck in a dilapidated old ballpark in Tucson. I imagine the rest of the teams are fairly happy with where they are right now. Even some of the more eastern PCL teams are not going to switch: New Orleans is probably happy with Miami, Memphis is close to St. Louis.

    Could an IL team be in trouble? It’s possible, I have no idea. But I don’t think any of them are wanting to switch. The Jays might end up getting stuck again.

    I still think their ideal plan is to own all their teams under the Rogers banner and have the AAA team in Montreal, AA in Ottawa, and High-A (Midwest) to London, plus the Vancouver Canadians (and maybe a Pioneer League team in Calgary), but that’s pure speculation on my part.

  9. Having played in the stadium for awhile in Ottawa I can say that it certainly needs some upgrades and major on-field renos to be ready for that caliber of ball. The baseball culture here certainly seems to be lacking as well (and this is from someone coming from Toronto). Not sure how viabale a AAA team is, investement-wise.

  10. AAA ball has already failed in Ottawa. And it was an Expo’s farmteam.

    • That could be disputed. The team ultimately failed once the Expos affiliation was no more. The Lynx were only affiliated with Montreal until 2002. Attendance then dropped rapidly, as one cared that there was a AAA team with a Baltimore or Phillies affiliate. TV support went away and they had no radio support at all. City of Ottawa then sold off 1700 of their 2500 parking spaces.
      I agree it failed, but let’s put some context around how it failed.

      • Things had already started to head in the wrong direction before those thing happened. The culture doesn’t exist to sit in the stands on a cold wet day in April to watch baseball. The triple A team was uccessful early on because of the novelty. Once that passed attendence began to fall. A shorter season developmental team would be a better idea.

        • The owner was a real shit show, and the last year of the Expos affiliation had a new owner (it was also my first year in town). They had pretty good attendance that year.

          I think that a AA team here could be a moderate success if it was not a Jays team, but for AAA they would need to be the Baby Jays to get attendance comparable to the rest of the IL.

  11. Good, NH has been a great place for our prospects to develop and the team has done well, no need to move it.

  12. it seems like the AA team has done well in NH, so why change a good thing…as for Ottawa, well lobbying is can’t hurt, but I trust AA and his brain trust if they don’t move on that. What ever the reasons, I am sure they would be good ones.

  13. What the fuck is a Fisher Cat?

  14. As a Blue Jays fan from Syracuse I would be happy with them getting it on with Buffalo in AAA. Always seemed like the proximity of both cities was a better fit than here in Cuse. I can understand Ottawa fans frustration though.

  15. I don’t know that this says anything about Ottawa’s chances of getting a team. The odds were probably low that they’d have been up and running before 2015 anyhow, given the necessary stadium renos and associated bureaucracy. I also don’t think they had a great chance of landing a Jays affiliate out of the gate anyway, especially at AA.

    I don’t know much about the baseball culture in Ottawa, but I do know that it is an affluent urban centre that has no sports presence in the area close to downtown, especially in the summer. Ownership has really been the downfall of baseball and the CFL in Ottawa, but I see no reason that a franchise couldn’t succeed given responsible ownership.

  16. I would love to see Blue Jay affliate in Ottawa. I would support it by attending. I just have my doubts that enough others would.

  17. I thought I’d heard rumblings all along of the eventual plan being the NH franchise moving up from AA-ball to AAA-ball? If that were the case, none of this affects the entire ‘Jays AA team to Ottawa’ rumours, correct?

  18. I stand by my many assertions that any Blue Jays-affiliated baseball at Labatt Park here in London, ON would be successful. Labatt Park, in terms of beauty of natural setting, is truly second-to-none, but I’m tired of the low-quality semi-professional baseball that has come and gone in the past 20 years.

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