Are Winnipeg Goldeyes Destined to Be a Road Team Again?
American Association Daily provides insights, features, and recaps of the action from around the American Association of Professional Baseball League, as well as player and coaching profiles and transactions. In today’s edition, Robert Pannier discusses the likelihood that the Winnipeg Goldeyes will be a road team once again, at least for part of the 2021 season.
Frontier League Changes Prophetic for Winnipeg Goldeyes?
If you have not heard yet, the Frontier League announced on Saturday that two of their teams – the Ottawa Titans and Trois-Rivieres Aigles – will not be playing this season. In addition, the Quebec Capitales will be a road team, fielding a group of players that will be managed by Pat Scalabrini.
The reason behind this is simple. With the Canadian border unlikely to open anytime soon, there is simply no way that these teams would be able to cross the border to play baseball in the United States or for American-based Frontier League teams to travel north to play. That left the league with only one option – drop these teams for the upcoming season.
With this being the only sensible decision for the Frontier League, one American Association team may face the same reality. The Winnipeg Goldeyes also faces the same challenge that their other Canadian-based teams face.
With this being the reality, one has to wonder if the same decision made for Québec will be the one that Winnipeg has to accept for this season as well.
Another Season on the Road
Last season, six American Association teams played while the other six sat out. Five of those teams either started the season in their own home ballpark or eventually returned home sometime during the season. The one exception was the Winnipeg Goldeyes. Because of restrictions at the border, they remained a road team for the 60-game season.
Amazingly, the team played exceptionally well despite not having a permanent home. They were leading the American Association for the first 40 games of the season, but eventually the wear and tear of being on the road wore them down.
Now it is looking like they will be a 100-game road team for this season.
Prepared for this Eventuality
There is still a chance that at some point during the season the team may be able to return home. The challenge is that not only does the team have to deal with the provincial government and any restrictions they may have in place, but with the national Canadian government as well. At this time, neither seem interested in accommodating the baseball team.
While the American Association had hoped the team would be in their own ballpark for the upcoming season, they were prepared for this eventuality. Commissioner Joshua Schaub and Executive Vice President Josh Buchholz had planned for the possibility that the Goldeyes would not play any of their games at Shaw Park this season.
Some would argue that it might be in the team’s best interests to sit out a season. That will not occur. This is one of the proudest and most important organizations in all of independent baseball, and ownership, behind Stan Katz, is committed to keeping the Goldeyes on the field. So, they will be playing baseball the season, even if it is as a road team once again.
By Robert Pannier