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 ^_^