Monday, September 3, 2007

The End of the Road For Our Neighbors to the North

On September 3, 2007, the Ottawa Lynx played the final Triple-A baseball game in Canada. Following in the footsteps of Triple-A teams from Calgary, Vancouver, Winnipeg, and Edmonton, the Philadelphia Phillies' Triple-A affiliate will head for greener pastures next year. The lone teams that remain in Canada are the Vancouver Canadians, a Single-A affiliate of the Oakland Athletics and the Toronto Blue Jays.

So what does this mean for baseball?

I think baseball is basically ignoring the United States' neighbor to the north and concentrating on globalizing baseball elsewhere, in places such as Asia and Europe. But why ignore Canada? It's not like the players coming out of there are horrible. Erik Bedard, Ryan Braun, Ryan Dempster, Eric Gagne, Rich Harden, Ferguson Jenkins, Adam Loewen, Russell Martin, and Larry Walker are some of the notable players to come out of Canada. Braun, Loewen, and Martin are all regarded as young stars of the game.

Yes, Canada is a hockey-first country, but is it really necessary to pull ALL teams out of Canada? Canadians are allowed to like baseball too. But this is the end of the road for Major League Baseball affiliated teams. When the only two teams in your country are a Single-A team which could be moved at any time and an underachieving MLB team, that's not good. The Blue Jays are only 14 years removed from a World Series title, but if they falter in the next 10-15 years, I can see them being moved.

When it all comes down to it in, 5-10 years, the Blue Jays will be the only team left and Major League Baseball will be wondering what happened to baseball in Canada. Unfortunately, they won't realize they brought this upon themselves.

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