Mike McCann / Minor Leagues
FOLLOW UP TO LAST CHANCE IN 2003
By Mike McCann
A reader asked me to put together a follow up to my March 2003 article where I talked about some of the rumored moves that I knew of at that time. Perhaps there are others out there who are curious as to what panned out and what possibilities were completely shot down.
It had been announced that the South Georgia Waves were going to move from Columbus, GA to Evansville, IN. When stadium financing fell through in Evansville, the team started looking at other options. They had considered moving to Mansfield, OH, but that also fell apart. So it looks like Columbus will have a team for a little while longer. Personally, I think that if you want to see Golden Park, you should do it sooner rather than later because the team does not want to be there. Although the way the owner of the team does things, I wouldn't be surprised if the team moved before the 2004 season.
So far there have only been two teams which confirmed relocations for 2004. The Orlando team moved to Montgomery, AL to become the Montgomery Biscuits and the New Haven Ravens moved to Manchester, NH to become the New Hampshire Fisher Cats for 2004. A Northeast League team will be moving from historic Wahconah Park in Pittsfield, MA to Yale Field in New Haven in 2004.
I'm still not sure what will happen to Ottawa. Despite rumors of the team moving for the past few years, the team has stayed put. I was hearing that the team might move to York, PA before. Recently, I read that the team may move to Harrisburg (as long as the stadium was upgraded to AAA standards) and the Senators would need to go elsewhere.
In 2005, the Edmonton Trappers will be moving to Round Rock, TX so that the Round Rock Express can become a AAA team. The existing Round Rock team will move to Corpus Christi, TX. If I were a Round Rock fan, I'm not too sure how much I would like this since personally I prefer AA over AAA. But since they are drawing so well, they feel that they can make the jump.
Reno, NV is still trying to get a Pacific Coast League team. I heard of some stadium proposals for the Reno and Sparks areas, so there is still a future possibility of this occurring. The Portland Beavers are still having financial problems, so something may happen with that team.
In March, I talked about some possible Florida State League changes, and I haven't heard anything new on those. I have heard rumors about moving an existing Florida State League team to Orlando since the Southern League team is now gone. I've also heard talk about putting a team in either Tallahassee or Pensacola.
I haven't heard any further information on California League teams. Stockton will be getting a new stadium. And I wouldn't be surprised to here High Desert and Bakersfield discussed in future rumors.
Danbury, CT should be the future site of a Northeast League team, so Savannah won't be moving there. I haven't heard anything about Savannah moving to a new location. It seems like Battle Creek might not have a team for too much longer. They were ready to move to Dubuque, IA, but voters shot down the stadium funding. Talk now is that they might move to Marion in southern Illinois.
The Provo Angels will be moving from their current site at Brigham Young University up the road to Orem and share a field with Utah Valley State College in 2005.
As far as some new rumors go...
Cashman Field in Las Vegas is in poor condition and there probably won't be a team playing there much longer. A new stadium could be built in Las Vegas, but if they can't do anything about the current situation, the team could end up somewhere else.
The Erie SeaWolves are often discussed in relocation rumors. I've heard talk about the team moving to Lancaster, PA or Perth Amboy, NJ. And if the Eastern League did lose the Erie team, the NY-Penn League would most likely put a team there.
There has been talk for a while about moving a Texas League team to Springfield, MO. The lastest I heard was that the El Paso Diablos would be the team to move.
Recently, I heard something about putting a NY-Penn League team in either of two Pennsylvania sites - State College or Bethlehem. The Williamsport Crosscutters objected to a State College team since it violates their territorial rights. I wouldn't be surprised to see the Phillies NY-Penn League team end up in Bethlehem sometime soon though.
This is all I can think of right now, so I hope you enjoy reading it. If you have any interest in seeing teams before they move on or build a new stadium, these would be some of the teams I would target. But any of the older stadiums are always candidates to get replaced.
I am always looking for topics to write about, so please send me an e-mail and let me know what would be interesting reading for you. Feel free to ask any questions or give an idea for a column.