Baseball’s Dead, Long Live Soccer

31 Aug

Driving home from a kid’s soccer practice tonight, we took a detour past this place:

Lynx Stadium

It is the beautiful home field of the Ottawa Lynx, Triple-A minor-league farm team of the Philadelphia Phillies.

Well, at least for a few more days, it is.

When the Lynx’ season ends this coming long weekend, the Lynx too will end, after 15 years as Ottawa’s minor-league baseball team.

Next season , they will be playing in Allentown, Pennsylvania as… I kid not… the Lehigh Valley IronPigs

The picture above shows a crowd only marginally smaller than those the Lynx usually get on sunny, baseball-friendly days – the main reason they will soon be gone.

When we drove by tonight, we saw more empty seats than fans for one of the team’s final games ever.

The Lynx are the latest – and the last – of Canada’s Triple-A baseball teams to depart for the United States. Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary all lost teams in the last ten years, leaving the Single-A Vancouver team as the only major-league farm team left in this country.

Of course, the Toronto Blue Jays are still around… but who cares, really?

Although some reports say baseball is alive and well in this country, that claim doesn’t feel right to me. When I was a kid, I played and followed the sport religiously and I could not only name every single player on the Montreal Expos, but also do a credible imitation of each of their batting stances.

The kids I know think of baseball as an old-man’s sport – they know who Barry Bonds is, but that’s about it. The kids I know are mad about soccer, a sport that was barely on the radar screen in my youth.

The empty seats in Lynx Stadium stood in contrast this summer to massive crowds across town at Frank Clair Stadium during the FIFA U-20 World Cup tournament.

The latest sign of Summer Sport Shift? News this week of a proposal to turn the soon-to-be-empty Lynx Stadium into a large soccer dome.

Additional reading on the subject here and here.


6 Responses to “Baseball’s Dead, Long Live Soccer”

  1. susanna August 31, 2007 at 10:13 pm #

    soccer and baseball would be better … if they were hockey.

  2. Alan Echenberg August 31, 2007 at 11:08 pm #

    Yeah, but what do you do from the beginning of June to the end of September?

    Or if you’re in Toronto, from the beginning of April to the end of September?

  3. susanna September 1, 2007 at 10:40 pm #

    mostly we sit in bumper to bumper gridlock in toronto.

  4. mike September 3, 2007 at 6:47 pm #

    the lynx might not be done yet they might stay so shut up

  5. Alan Echenberg September 3, 2007 at 8:53 pm #

    They are. They won’t. No.


  1. Anniversary of a Teamicide « echenblog - September 30, 2007

    […] now folded away for good. Three years on, my once-burning interest in baseball has ben reduced to indifference at best, schadenfreude at […]

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