Thursday, October 04, 2007

Ottawa hoping to land Can-Am franchise--from the Nashua Telegraph

NOW for something different.....
by TOM KING, Telegraph Staff

NASHUA – With the Nashua Pride’s future up in the air, a move north of the border cannot be counted out.
Nashua Pride owner John Stabile said he has had no “direct” contact with anyone from the city of Ottawa, Ontario, which is expected to lose its Triple-A team this offseason, but the Can-Am League is clearly interested in placing a team there for 2008.
“I have not,” Stabile, who was to be interviewed on Tuesday night by the Ottawa Citizen, which sent a reporter to Holman Stadium for the team’s Can-Am semifinal series against the New Jersey Jackals. “The (Can-Am) League called me up to make sure I (followed protocol).”

While Stabile says he hasn’t talked to anyone official about such a move – a source in Ottawa confirmed he hasn’t – there is clearly interest on the part of the Can-Am League to place a team in Ottawa’s 10-year-old, 10,200-seat Lynx Stadium. According to reports in the Citizen, Can-Am League commissioner Miles Wolff met with Ottawa city officials months ago about the Can-Am League taking over the final two years of the Ottawa Lynx’ lease, which expires in 2009. The Lynx are the Triple-A affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies. As part of the deal, the Lynx would drop litigation against the city over parking issues. Wolff has long sought a geographic rival for the Quebec Capitales, a team he owns. “Baseball stays (in Ottawa) and everybody is happy,” he told the Citizen of the proposal.

According to published reports, there is another proposal by Ottawa businessman David Butler to turn the stadium into a $40 million domed entertainment complex that would include baseball. Such a project, though, would preclude having any baseball played in Ottawa next year.
There would be two ways Wolff could go: he could find an owner in Ottawa as an expansion franchise and fold the traveling Grays, or see if a Can-Am League owner would be interested in selling or moving his team to Canada. Reportedly, the North Shore Spirit, based in Lynn, Mass., are up for sale. But what does the future hold for the Pride? It seems clear that if the team does return to Nashua, it won’t do so with Stabile as the sole owner.

“I have four options,” Stabile said. “One is to find someone who wants to keep the team in Nashua and take the team in whole or in part. Two, find another location that wants it, in whole or in part. Three, sell the franchise in its entirety. Rather than pay the league, they pay me. Or four, a sabbatical. Shut it down for a year and at the end of the year decide which way to go.”

Stabile reiterated there is perhaps more he could do for the health and well-being of the franchise, but wonders in the long run if it would be beneficial because of the existence of the Toronto Blue Jays’ Double-A team in Manchester and the Red Sox’ Single-A franchise in Lowell, Mass. Stabile says he has not had any discussions with any possible local investors.

What I have decided, given what I know . . . (is) I’m losing my shoulder people,” he said. “The Merrimacks, Amhersts, Milfords and Hudsons. And to the south, I should be drawing (fans) from places like Pelham. Instead, we’re seeing the same old faces every night.
“Today I was on the phone with my consultants. Whatever we do, we want to do it right.”

Stabile would not release a dollar figure on his losses for 2007 but did say it was less than the $500,000 he lost in 2006, “but not significantly less.”

One thing I found interesting is in the article it says "Reportedly, the North Shore Spirit, based in Lynn, Mass., are up for sale. "I haven't heard any real reports of this,has any of you?
As for the possibility of a team in Ottawa,I'd like to see another Canadian team in the league. It would be good for Quebec to have a team within a reasonable distance for them to have a healthy rivalary with....even if they are owned by that damned snake in the grass ^_^


Joe Grav said...

Well, the whole team is gone [ :( ] so I guess just the 'franchise title' or whatever would be up for sale. I don't claim to know the legalities and why it's better to buy an existing franchise than start your own.

I'm thinking we start the barrage of NECBL offices once the World Series is over.

Who's with me? It can't hurt.

John Leahy said...

" Same old faces every night? " That can't make the Pride existing fan base very happy...... you don't want to alienate the fans you do have left...... if the Can-Am league moves to Ottawa I will be applying; my brother lives up there.

DaveCo said...

That's what I thought. Maybe just buying the name and stuff is better than filing paperwork for a new one? idk,im just talking outta my arse =]
And I'm in on the NECBL thing. Forget Glouchester......Lynn = better :)

And I will agree with John (also,great to hear from ya). It would be great to hear ya broadcasting can-am games again,gl with that if Otawa happens

igami said...

Just to be clear on the distances, Ottawa is about a 5 hour drive from Quebec City... closer, but not really close.

DaveCo said...

Soorry,I didn't look at a map of the Canada to double-check distances.

Stilll.....probably better than driving all the way to this area,crosdsing the border,and all that.

Anonymous said...

This is a very old Telegraph article, published around the time of the playoffs. Whether Stabile talked "directly" or indirectly to Ottawa is a non-issue.

I've just gotten my first pitch from the Pride to "save the team" by paying real money for a real season ticket.

Whether the Pride stays or goes does not depend at all on Ottawa. If Ottawa is a reality, Miles will welcome it in, and will keep the Grays alive if necessary for there to be an even number of teams. If the Spirit and Pride survived and Ottawa and Leominster and Plymouth wanted in (and had a business plan), Miles would find a way.

A new team would pay a franchise fee, and a franchise might save some money by buying Nick's franchise (still certainly subject to the approval of the league and the other clubs). But the cost difference wouldn't make or break a plan.


Anonymous said...

On the previous topic: Virginia's signatures might not be out-of-state, but Josh asked for mine, and Virginia asked for an Internet signature from a friend of mine from New Jersey. It's valid to say that no one on the Lynn City Council will be swayed by our opinions.

I say again: Petition signatures don't bring a new club. Expectations of profit do. It is reasonable to ask (especially you informed Spirit fans) whether, and how, a new club would make a profit.

I was not "attacking" Virginia. But the anonymous poster nearby should not declare that Virginia, as a member of a Victim Class (nine-year-olds) should be spared from doubts about her signature drive. This insults her.

As for his insults to me, he obviously had it in for me before he started typing. You see, I am an outsider (a Pride fan from New Hampshire), not One Of Us, and I should go away. I compare the people of southern Maine with those lawn signs against the prosperity of a casino run by Outsiders.

I wonder if Nick ever got that feeling from the people of Lynn. I wonder if Fraser Field's next savior will. If so, all the parking issues may have been secondary.


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