There's virtually no chance the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees (Class AAA; International League) will be playing next season in Ottawa Stadium, but a Canadian ownership group is working to bring an Eastern League team to Canada's capital city for 2013.
Where the Yankees will end up remains a matter of conjecture, and the issue will be decided at the upcoming International League meetings in Albuquerque. Coca-Cola Park, home of the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, is a contender, as are a few other regional ballparks cited by MiLB owners. We don't expect the team to stray too far from home.
At one point Ottawa was positioned as a contender for hosting the SWB Yankees, but issues with the facility -- it needs a million dollars in improvements to be ready for affiliated ball, we're told -- will prevent it from being used for just a season by Class AAA ball.
Now, having said that, the prospect of affiliated baseball returning to the former home of the Ottawa Lynx (Class AAA; International League) is stronger now than it's been in recent years, with what we've heard described as a "strong effort" to being an Eastern League team to the ballpark as soon as 2013. There are plenty of moving parts at play, including the sale of the team by the current EL team and a purchase of a short-season A NY-Penn League team to replace it. This also coincides with the efforts of another Eastern League team owner to explore placing a team in Montreal, an efforts already receiving the approval of the N.A. Montreal is seen as the better market except for one big issue: there's no minor-league ballpark in the city.
If the effort to bring an Eastern League team to Ottawa falls short, the potential local owners could buy a NY-Penn League team instead.
As several owners pointed out, there are plenty of moving parts to coordinate with these efforts -- and where there are moving parts there are points of failure. Still, owners seem optimistic about the prospect to returning affiliated ball to Ottawa.
RELATED STORIES: NY Yankees making moves with minor-league teams; Fat Cats owners may seek affiliated team for Ottawa; Valcke: Baseball can work in Ottawa; Ottawa: Ballpark should be converted to concert venue; Affiliated ball may be returning to Ottawa
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