Thursday, August 31, 2006

R.I.P Ottawa Lynx

One of the things I didn't get to do during my time in Ottawa, was to watch a Lynx game. Now that they're leaving the Nation's capital, my chances of seeing them play are a little slim.

The Ottawa Lynx are a Minor League Baseball team that compete in the International League. They began play in 1993 and won the IL championship in 1995. During the last 13 seasons, the Lynx have been affiliated with three Major League teams. In 2007, they will become affiliated with the Philadelphia Phillies. Currently, they are part of the Baltimore Orioles farm system. However, they will mostly be remembered as the Triple-A affiliate for the Montreal Expos. During their association with the Expos, Ottawa fans got to see future stars such as José Vidro, Matt Stairs and Javier Vazquez.

The Lynx were once very popular but the over the last few years, attendance and interest have dropped significantly. It's so bad that the Lynx have the worst attendancee record in the entire minor league system (and that's covering a number of levels and leagues). There has always been talk about the Lynx leaving Ottawa; and now, it will happen next year.

Following the 2007 season, the Lynx will be relocated to Allentown, Pennsylvania. It's no surprise to those who live in Ottawa. Having lived there, I can tell you that no one will even notice.

So why did professional baseball ultimately fail in Ottawa? When the Lynx started, Ottawa was considered as a "minor league" town. The Senators were just getting started, the CFL's Rough Riders were just abysmal, and the most successful teams were the Junior hockey clubs; the 67s and the Hull Olympique. Since then, the pro sports scene in Ottawa has changed. The city is slowly becoming a "major league" town. This is due in large part to the Senators and the success they have had. In any major league town, minor sports will never succeedd. For example, look at Toronto's hockey structure. The Maple Leafs always sell out while the Majors, Ice Dogs, Battalion and Marlies can barley get any fans. Now combine this idea with some recent poor seasons by the Lynx, and the fans just stopped coming.

So now that the end is near, I hope that the citizens of Ottawa will at least come out just to enjoy the benefits of a baseball game during a summer day or night. Once the Lynx leave, they won't be able to find something like that again.

The Hek

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