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Former Canadian IL Club Turns Double-A

Put on your parka and cinch up your Snuggie, baseball is coming back to Ottawa.

From 1993-2007, the PawSox ventured to Canada’s capital each year to play the Ottawa Lynx.  In the club’s 14-year history, they were affiliated with the Montreal Expos (1992-2002), the Baltimore Orioles (2003-06), and finally the Philadelphia Phillies (2007) before closing their doors.

The following year the Ottawa Rapidz  (no, I didn’t misspell that) were formed and had a cup of coffee in the Independent Can-Am League before declaring bankruptcy in September of 2009. Since that time, the cement-clad Ottawa Stadium has been in an indefinite off-season.

(Side note: I actually applied for the play-by-play job with the Rapidz when I was a recent college grad living with my parents in St. Louis.  Fortunately, I didn’t get it.  I can still remember the look on my mother’s face when I told her I applied for a job in Canada.  It wasn’t good.)

Although they won’t re-enter the International League, is reporting that “we should see the move of a Class AA Eastern League team to Ottawa Stadium for the 2013 season.”

The website goes on to say that it’s local Boston-based Beacon Sports that has been negotiating a 10-year lease for the ballpark which would be renovated prior to the start of the season.  According to a press release from the city, “Beacon Sports is proposing to invest approximately $2,000,000 into the facility for player development improvements and would also lease a new scoreboard that is estimated to cost an additional $1,000,000.”

So the obvious question is what major league team will the new Ottawa club be affiliated with? Rumors began when the Ottawa Citizen reported that the Double-A Binghamton Mets will close their doors following this season.  The B-Mets, who have been the Double-A club for New York’s B-Team since 1992, denied the report. proposes a true musical chairs approach to the situation: “One in-the-know person speculates the Mets could wind up in New Britain in 2013, with the Twins moving to New Hampshire and the Blue Jays in Ottawa.”

If this were to play out, I’m not sure the fans in New Hampshire would care all that much.  The majority are such big Red Sox fans that when I was broadcasting in Double-A Portland in 2009, the Fisher Cats did a David Ortiz bobblehead giveaway night!  That’d be like if we did a Jose Bautista bobblehead night here at McCoy. Whats more, fans in New Hampshire actually cheered louder for a Sea Dogs’ home run than one from the Fisher Cats.

Good for the city of Ottawa for getting baseball back.  Although there are still lots of things to be figured out, we know that for the Red Sox prospects in Portland, Me., it’s a seven hour, 41 minute bus ride to Ottawa.