Pandemic puts Thunder Bay Border Cats in wait-and-see mode
Team hopes to return to Port Arthur Stadium next summer after cancelling 2020 season
The owners of the Thunder Bay Border Cats are hopeful the team will return to the field at Port Arthur Stadium once again next summer after cancelling the 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nothing, however, has been decided yet, said Border Cats general manager Tony Di Paolo.
"We're kind of at a standstill," Di Paolo said Wednesday. "We have to wait to hear word from the [Northwoods League], and what their thoughts are."
Di Paolo said more information will come out of upcoming league fall and winter meetings, which will take place in the coming months.
"From there, we usually get information on how things will proceeding in the following year," he said. "We'll just have to keep an eye on what's happening, what's going on around the world."
"Right now, it's hard to guess," Di Paolo said. "Anything can happen."
The Border Cats themselves may not have taken the field in 2020, but about 20 of the team's signed players did.
The Northwoods League ran mini-leagues with fewer teams this season, which operated in "pods" in several U.S. states.
About 20 American players, who had signed to play with the Border Cats in 2020, instead joined the Mandan Flickertails in North Dakota; the Flickertails placed second in their three-team mini league, which wrapped up play last weekend.
The Flickertails finished the season with a record of 24-24, behind the first-place Bismarck Larks.
Canadian players were left out due to the closure of the U.S.-Canada border, Di Paolo said.
Di Paolo said the Cats will continue with regular recruiting in the coming months in hopes that a full Northwoods League season will be played in 2021.
"Obviously there's been a hole in Thunder Bay for baseball," he said. "Our fans had some comments on social media. They're very excited for next year."
"They followed the team as they were in North Dakota and are really hoping to have baseball in Thunder Bay next year."