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Thursday, Apr 24th

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West Coast League at 11 for 2013

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West Coast League

The summer-collegiate West Coast League will be at 11 teams for 2013 after adding Medford (Ore.) and Victoria (B.C.) to the circuit; as expected, Yakima is not in the mix.

Adding two pretty good markets in Medford and Victoria is a big accomplishment for the circuit; those are two solid markets in two solid ballparks. Adding Jerry Walker as an owner in Klamath Falls is also a solid move. And we expect the league to add Coeur d'Alene in 2014 should fundraising efforts in that Idaho city continue.

One potential market for the league is Yakima after the move of the Yakima Bears (short season A; Northwest League) to Hillsboro for 2013. But we were told early on that getting a WCL team into Yakima next season was never a serious proposal: city officials were not eager to enter into a new lease pending some discussions of the future of baseball in that town. Indeed, some city officials think they can lure back pro ball if Yakima County Stadium facilities issues are addressed -- issues the city wasn't willing to address with the Bears. And it may take a year or two of baseball-less summers in Yakima before city officials are ready to make a decision on the future. Because of this uncertainty, there's no ball -- summer collegiate or pro -- in place for Yakima in 2013. We wrote this in June:

We're told Yakima is highly unlikely to enter the league in 2013, once the Yakima Bears (short season A; Northwest League) depart Yakima County Stadium for Hillsboro. (Let's put it this way: Yakima is too large a market for affiliated ball to walk away from, and county commissioners opposing any renovations to the ballpark for the Bears may reconsider if it means landing another pro team.)

RELATED STORIES: New for 2013: Medford Rogues; Medford take initial steps toward WCL team; New for 2013: Victoria HarbourCats; Walkers expand baseball holdings to Klamath Falls

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