action:article | category:SPORTS | adString:SPORTS | zoneID:40

Home » Sports

November 17. 2011 11:32PM

Kevin Gray's On Baseball: Contrary to story, Fisher Cats aren't going anywhere

Eastern League president Joe McEachern chuckled while reading the Ottawa Citizen on Thursday — and he wasn't looking at the comics.

The newspaper presented a far-fetched scenario in which the Fisher Cats could move to Ottawa by 2013, and the New York Mets would send their Double-A franchise to Manchester after a so-called “trade of affiliations.”

No chance. Not even close.

Ottawa officials have, indeed, explored the possibility of bringing Eastern League baseball to its city, but the published report involving the Fisher Cats has more holes than Canada's worst goalie.

“It's not even feasible. For one, there is no process where, let's say, New Hampshire and another team trade affiliates. You can't do that,” McEachern said. “Teams sign a player development contract (PDC) for two or four years. You can't trade that contract like a major-league team trades a player.”

Furthermore, the Fisher Cats may never pursue a PDC with a New York team, an agreement that is part of a territorial waiver signed by Red Sox team president Larry Lucchino. That contract clause is based on major-league TV markets and precludes the Fisher Cats from entering a PDC with the Mets or Yankees.

There's more about this story at Union Leader sportswriter Kevin Gray's blog, graymatter123.blogspot.com.

Binghamton Mets president Michael Urda has dismissed claims the franchise is likely to be sold or moved. Fisher Cats president Rick Brenner quashed the Thursday rumor when asked to comment.

“Unlike media speculation that has no foundation in fact, we are going to abide by the rules governing the affiliation process between major league and minor league teams and only say that both the Blue Jays and Fisher Cats are very happy with our eight-year relationship,” Brenner said.

The Ottawa Citizen made it sound like the 2013 Fisher Cats will be playing in the capital of Canada:

“All signs indicate Ottawa would become the new home of the Eastern League franchise in Binghamton, New York. That would involve a swap of working agreements between the New York Mets, the major league parent team of the existing Binghamton club, and the Toronto Blue Jays, whose Double-A team now plays in Manchester, New Hampshire. That trade of affiliations would occur after the 2012 season.”

Ottawa does have a history of affiliated baseball. The Triple-A Ottawa Lynx played in the International League from 1993-2007 before new ownership moved the franchise to Allentown, Pa. Poor attendance led to the Lynx' demise.

City-owned Ottawa Stadium, which seats more than 10,000, would need major improvements to attract an Eastern League team, according to McEachern.

“I won't deny to you that Ottawa has opened up the possibility of trying to attract a major-league (affiliated) team, but right now, it's so early in the process,” he said. “The Eastern League is investigating whether there is an opportunity there. We haven't identified anything beyond that. Undoubtably, it would need millions of dollars of renovations.”

The Fisher Cats have won two Eastern League championships and sent 52 players to the major leagues, including All-Stars Aaron Hill, Brandon League and Ricky Romero. Toronto's director of minor-league operations, Charlie Wilson, said the Blue Jays want to stay in Manchester “as long as we possibly can.” Wilson would not address the Ottawa report.

“Our organization has a policy about not commenting on rumors, whether it's about a player, potential trade or affiliation,” he said. “Now if you want to talk about our relationship with New Hampshire, it's amazing.”

Staff writer Kevin Gray covers baseball for the New Hampshire Union Leader and New Hampshire Sunday News. His email address is kgray@unionleader.com.


 NH Sports Angle more
Links to news and happenings around the world of sports with a Granite State connection, updated daily.

NHMS, Miller Lite extend deal for another 3 years

NASCAR: Who the Vegas wise guys like heading into Loudon

Goalie Danny Tirone to enroll at UNH for second semester after star's suspension for domestic violence

'Smoke' blows into New Hampshire with the law in his rear-view mirror

Man found unconscious at Winchester Speedpark Saturday

Too young to drive, but old enough for NHMS

Police examine speed, possible horseplay in golf cart fatality

Mass. man, 27, dies in golf cart accident at The Links at Outlook

Hanover's Sarah Groff competes in the women's triathlon final during the 2012 London Olympic Games.

Hanover Olympian in spotlight at Las Vegas Super Sprint

FHL makes it official, team planned for Berlin will play in North Adams, Mass. instead

Can NH soccer star Charlie Davies make a comeback?

Inside NIKEs secret sports lab; born in Exeter, now located in Oregon.

Concord Monitor decries gender pay gap in professional tennis

FHL franchise slated for Berlin may go to North Adams, Mass. instead

Eagles' Kelly says he learned his offense by studying defense while at UNH

Former Concord area youth baseball coach sentenced to 30 more years in prison

Maine boxer Brandon Berry making Fight to Educate history

Hudson family, classmates working to keep Alvirne soccer standout Raul Stedile in U.S.

Israel unrest moves meet for NH swim star

Race date for Oxford 250 moved from July to Aug. 30 next year

NH's Groff a highlight for U.S. at ITU World Triathlon Series Grand Final

Maine fighters Lamour, Berry on New Hampshire boxing card

Q&A with Matt Bonner as he weighs free agency

MORE

 New Hampshire Events Calendar
    

    SHARE EVENTS FOR PUBLICATION, IT'S FREE!

Upcoming Events

 New Hampshire Business Directory

  

    ADD YOUR BUSINESS TODAY!