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Ottawa ballpark will sport artificial turf — per request of parent team?

Eastern LeagueA Class AA Eastern League team in Ottawa will reportedly play on artificial turf based on the request of its future parent team — though there’s no team there yet and no parent team on tap.

Gerald Sheehan, chief financial officer for Beacon Sport — the investment firm working on a plan to buy an Eastern League team and moving it to Ottawa Stadiumtold the Ottawa Citizen’s Ken Gray that his firm would be installing artificial turf at the ballpark based on a request from an MLB parent:

“The plans are to have artificial turf” at Ottawa Stadium for the 2013 season, said Gerald Sheehan, chief financial officer for Beacon Sport. Contacted this week in his Boston office, Sheehan said the call on the ballpark surface is that of the affiliated Major League Baseball team. MLB clubs like to have their prospects playing on the same surface as the big team uses.

So which teams still have artificial turf in the majors? Tampa Bay and, you guessed it, the Toronto Blue Jays. See where this is going?

Of course, this isn’t true. Unless we missed one or two, by our reckoning no Minor League Baseball teams actually play on artificial turf: the Syracuse Chiefs (Class AAA; International League) dumped artificial turf in favor or grass while a Toronto Blue Jays affiliate. (UPDATE: We love our readers! We did miss one, and a sharp fellow working at the Triple-A level pointed it out: artificial turf was installed last year as part of the renovations at Covaleski Stadium, home of the South Bend Silver Hawks — an Arizona Diamondbacks farm team.) (If we missed another one, let us know.) There are only two MLB teams playing on artificial turf — Toronto and Tampa Bay — and neither has an affiliate playing on artificial turf. So there’s no evidence whatsoever that MLB cubs like to have their prospects playing on the same surface as the parent.

Still, the quote allows Gray to continue beating the drum in favor of a Blue Jays affiliation with a potential Ottawa team. Gray’s not very acquainted with the workings of Minor League Baseball, so we’ll give him a pass. For now, given that Toronto is strictly barred from talking with any potential Ottawa owners while under PDC with the New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Class AA; Eastern League), we’ll pass on the assumption that the Blue Jays will end up with an Ottawa affiliation and apply Occam’s razor: artificial turf will be used at Ottawa Stadium because of its northern climate and the need to play games in early April, when snow and wet weather are still strong possibilities in that Canadian city.

RELATED STORIES: Ottawa committee approves $5.7 million in ballpark improvements; Blue Jays GM: We’re not shifting affiliation to Ottawa; It’s official: Eastern League to Ottawa in 2013; Report: Eastern League to Ottawa in 2013; Ottawa puts off ballpark decision; Ottawa baseball bid losing steam?; No, Canada; Group seeks Ottawa Stadium lease for 2013 and beyond; Ottawa out of running for SWB Yankees — but in line for affiliated ball; 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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