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I’m sick of the 94 strike being blamed for the demise of baseball in Toronto, it is an excuse not a reason. See the reaction in this country to the NHL lockout for evidence. When the NHL returned TV ratings went up significantly and attendance was boffo. The reason? Simple, we missed hockey. We didn’t miss baseball, it was an excuse for the trendy fans to jump off the bandwagon.

Professional baseball is dead and dying in Canada. The Expos died, the Jays are floundering at the gate. AAA has left Ottawa, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver. Lower level leagues abandoned London, St. Catherines and Medicine Hat. Indy ball folded in Ottawa and is struggling in Edmonton and Calgary. There just aren’t enough ball fans here.

Pete Toms — Canadian citizen — building off yesterday’s post about the death spiral that is Toronto Blue Jays’ baseball. We can blame Jeff Loria for the Expos, but even he can’t be blamed for Ottawa, Edmonton, Calgary and Medicine Hat, can he?


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MatthewA
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MatthewA
Maybe we can blame it on Loria. In Ottawa’s case, they were the longtime affiliate of the Expos. And if the Expos were killed off by Loria, is it a stretch to say that interest in the team’s minor league system waned with it? A lot of folks become fans of their local team’s MLB affiliate, and you’d have to think the Expos’ treatment hurt Ottawa as well. Oh, and let’s not forget that they were eventually moved because the Phillies joined the march of teams bringing their minor league teams closer to home. And Edmonton? Nolan Ryan bought the… Read more »
kranky kritter
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kranky kritter

So. The Carolinas then?

Jeremy
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Jeremy
I live in Calgary and I go to a fair number of Vipers (Golden League) games. MatthewA is right about the weather and travel issues. Vipers attendance is very much weather-driven. Casual fans and families (who make up most of the fan base for any minor league team) just don’t want to sit out in the cold watching baseball. And Edmonton and Calgary moved to the Golden League from the Northern League last year to cut down on travel costs. And it’s also true that the density of baseball fans is lower in Canada, in part because not nearly as… Read more »
Pete Toms
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Pete Toms
Matthew – I live in Ottawa, do you also? (I encounter few true ball fans here).  Anyway, Lynx attendance was headed into the dumper while they were still Expos affiliate.  Yes there has been a shift in MLB with more clubs moving their affiliates closer to the big league club (different reasons for that).  But, the Phillies and As didn’t purchase the Edmonton and Ottawa franchises and move them.  In most cases, the affiliates are not owned by the parent club.  Ottawa’s franchise was owned by a guy from Vermont who sold it to Craig Stein (and some other guy… Read more »
Brandon Heikoop
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Brandon Heikoop

I dislike when people use a sample of three years to talk about how huge professional hockey is in Canada. Have we forgotten earlier in this decade when the Senators were filing for bankruptcy? How about the Oilers who were financially strapped leading into the lockout? Even the Flames have had some trying times despite owning one of the largest growing economies in the country.

Yes hockey has been on fire in the nation since the lockout, but lets see how long this lasts. Ticket prices have been escalating rapidly and not one of these franchises is a true contender.

MatthewA
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MatthewA
@Pete Toms: I’m not from Ottawa nor Canada, so I freely admit that I’m just hypothesizing here. That being said, I do think you’re downplaying the influence that the big clubs have on the Minors even if they’re independently owned. Why would anybody buy a team like the Lynx if they didn’t intend to move it? Moreover, the Phillies affiliated with the Lynx because all signs pointed to that franchise moving. With the affiliation, the Phillies could steer that move closer to home (hence, Allentown). It was the specter of the Phillies and Allentown that made the sale and move… Read more »
MatthewA
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MatthewA

BTW – I see your Winnipeg and Quebec City, and I raise you Vancouver. They’re doing just as well as Quebec in attendance and respectable numbers for a short-season single-A team.

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