Thursday, November 3, 2011

Victoria nudges closer to West Coast League baseball team

Back in May, I wrote a blog post on the possibility of Victoria getting an expansion franchise in the West Coast League. I also passed on the information to Cleve Dheensaw of the Times Colonist in the hopes that he would do some additional investigation and help break the story. You can imagine my delight when I came across the following article while reading the Times Colonist on my smart phone last week:

According to West Coast League President Ken Wilson, the league will attempt to finalize the details in November. On the down side, the possible expansion team is for 2013, so we will be forced to sit through another summer without baseball at Royal Athletic Park.

I found a couple of quotes in Cleve Dheensaw's article to be quite interesting. First, Ken Wilson stated that:

Photo from a Seals home game in 2010
"Any time Victoria has had baseball in the past, attendance has been outstanding. We love RAP because it's close to downtown and provides a great atmosphere and setting for baseball. We believe it's the right owner, right league and the right economic structure. We finally have the right mix and combination that will be successful in Victoria."

Then ex-Seals President Darren Parker went on to say: "There are no salaries and no plane travel, so this business model makes more sense."

These quotes back up my position that the demise of the Victoria Seals had more to do with the instability of the Golden Baseball League and the high costs associated with an expanded North American Baseball League than it did with the City of Victoria. Last year, the North American Baseball League added teams in Illinois and Texas which further inflated travel costs. Now there are reports that the Calgary Vipers may pack it in.

If the West Coast League does in fact come to Victoria, we can expect to see a much more stable and better-organized league than the last couple of circuits that came to town. Let's just hope that a deal gets done in the near future and we can start the countdown to the 2013 home opener.