Memo to Frank Boulton and Miles Wolff,
In the spirit of trying to help out, there may be a relatively easy solution to the dilemma you face in the Atlantic League (Boulton is Founder) and the Can-Am League (Wolff is Commissioner).
The suggestion, which I would not be shocked is in your collective minds already, is to help you out of the bind whereby Ottawa is without ownership in the Can-Am League and Bridgeport, CT is lagging behind everyone else on a success basis in the Atlantic League.
Here we go.
If Richmond does not find a replacement for its longtime Triple-A franchise from within the affiliated ranks, move Bridgeport to the Virginia city (and give the Atlantic League another major market). Then, move Ottawa into Bridgeport.
These moves solve several problems, not the least of which would have either or both leagues end up with an odd number of teams in 2009, forcing resurrection of one or two travel teams.
We know the Atlantic covets Richmond, given all the confirmed reports that Peter Kirk, who owns nearly half the Independent circuit already, has been working the scene for some time. His proposal, which would preferably include a new stadium, includes building the Brooks Robinson Life-Skills Center to benefit after-school activities as well as hosting indoor sports events beyond the ballpark's outfield fence to generate added revenue.
Even if the Atlantic League cannot stay in the market long term, it will have provided a quality location until Louden County, VA or West Chester, PA or the Meadowlands of NY is ready, and Boulton and his Past Time Partners, LLC, who are in the midst of taking over the under-capitalized Bridgeport franchise, will not have to fight to re-build the Bluefish into a financially success franchise under the burden of a 140-game season. It is appearing all the more likely this battle is a stiff one no matter who operates, especially given the less-than-agreeable evening temperatures in Connecticut in April and May and the fact school does not end until the latter part of June.
On the other hand, Bridgeport should do nicely in the Can-Am League, where each team hosts only 45 games or so instead of 70 and the budget is much, much smaller. A break-even or better result is likely for Boulton or whoever ends up running the Bluefish.
The Can-Am League would like to hold onto Ottawa, which averaged an okay 2,200 in its first post-Triple-A season, but unless strong new ownership shows up soon Wolff and Company may have to give it up. Ottawa still could be viable at some time down the road as a companion to Quebec and Montreal, if the latter can ever be developed.
So, both leagues would have their immediate franchise issues behind them. It seems a win-win.
Now wasn't that easy.
Bob Wirz, author of the Independent Baseball Insider and www.IndyBaseballChatter.com