Ottawa mayor to meet with Toronto Blue Jays
Jim Watson hoping to Blue Jays' AA affiliate can be in Ottawa
Ottawa's mayor will meet with representatives from the Toronto Blue Jays Friday, hoping to secure a new professional baseball team for the National Capital Region.
Watson has two meetings scheduled in Toronto where he hopes to work towards bringing a AA team to Ottawa. Currently, the Blue Jays' AA team is the New Hampshire Fisher Cats.
In addition to meeting with the Blue Jays, Watson also has a meeting scheduled with officials from the Eastern League.
The Eastern League is two levels below Major League Baseball.
"We think it would be a win-win situation to have the Jays affiliate with our AA (team)," Watson said Wednesday after the city council meeting.
"Certainly in our discussions with a lot of fans in Ottawa, they think that without the Jays, it wouldn't be a success because you need to have that high-profile and credible organization like the Jays involved."
In September, the City of Ottawa reached an agreement in principle with Beacon Sports Capital Partners for a lease and renovation plan for the Ottawa Stadium. That agreement took effect on Jan. 1.
Stadium renovations this summer
The stadium on Coventry Road is set to undergo renovations this summer in anticipation of a new professional team in 2014. Renovations include a new scoreboard, upgraded locker rooms, less seating and more playground or picnic areas.
Beacon Sports has also told city officials they reached an agreement in principle with the Eastern League to bring a AA baseball franchise to the nation's capital.
It is unclear if that agreement is still on the table. The group still has to find an individual or group to buy the franchise and stadium, plus agree to move the team to Ottawa.
Watson said the Blue Jays have been very positive about a relationship with Ottawa in his past conversations with team officials.
Just last May, Ottawa's bid for Toronto's AA affiliate was quashed when the Blue Jays re-signed with New Hampshire.