Sunday, January 10, 2010

Long Bearch Armada Lose Stadium Lease; GBL Teams Unclear for 2010

On January 4th, California State University took over the daily management of Blair Field, former home of the Long Beach Armada.  The Armada now have no stadium in which to play and will likely be unable to participate in the 2010 GBL season.  According a story in the Long Beach Gazettes, the Golden Baseball League, owners of the Long Beach franchise, is preparing to sue the city over the wrongful termination of the lease.  A statement of claim has apparently been forwarded from the league's attorney to the city of Long Beach:
“It is no secret that the city wishes to cede responsibility for maintaining Blair Field to its most important tenant, the Long Beach State ‘Dirtbags,’ a national powerhouse baseball program,” the claim says. “It is also no secret that Long Beach State does not wish to have the Armada share the facilities or control the concessions during its games. Our sources advise us that the negotiations between the city and Long Beach State are much more advanced than we have been told and that in fact a prerequisite of any deal between the city and Long Beach State was that the Armada’s permit be terminated.”
The story in the Long Beach Gazettes also suggests that the Armada had been falling behind in payments to the city in the last year.

In other GBL news, the Kamloops Daily News reported on Saturday that there will not be a Golden Baseball League team in that city for the 2010 season.  However, the Victoria Seals and Calgary Vipers will be playing a three-game exhibition series in Kamloops just before the beginning of the season (the GBL season will likely start around May 21st).  It appears the league will use this exhibition series as a way to gauge the level of interest in bringing a permanent team to Kamloops.  The city is positioned perfectly from a geographic perspective and would be a perfect stopping point for teams travelling between Victoria and Edmonton/Calgary.

This means that there are now only eight firm GBL teams for 2010: Victoria, Calgary, Edmonton, Chico, Maui, Orange County, Tucson and Yuma.  Other teams that could still join the league in 2010 (in estimated order of likelihood) are Ottawa, Tijuana, Palm Springs, Scottsdale and St. George.  As of today, there is still no word on which ownership group will be granted a lease on Ottawa's 10,000 seat baseball stadium.  The Nation's Capital could end up with a team in either the Can-Am League or the Golden League.

On the positive side, the name of the Maui team was revealed in late December.  The newest GBL expansion team will be known as the
 Na Ikaika Koa Maui, which is Hawaiian for the Strong Warriors of Maui.  The team will be managed by ex-major leaguer Cory Snyder.  Snyder steered the St. George Roadrunners to the South Division Championship in 2009.