A return to Thunder Bay for the World Junior Baseball Championship is not out of the cards.
But officials with the Thunder Bay International Baseball Association said Tuesday it’s premature to say they’re entering the bidding process.
TBIBA executive director Warren Philp said the event has been taken over by Major League Baseball, and is on the organization’s backburner until later this year.
Philp added the local group would also need the blessing of Baseball Canada to proceed.
Thunder Bay hosted the event, being held this summer in South Korea, in 2010, drawing more than 50,000 fans to Port Arthur Stadium.
“Thunder Bay International Baseball continues to exist after the 2010 event,” Philp said. “We’re a little more focused on baseball development in the absence of an immediate event to plan for. We are waiting for Major League Baseball to make a statement about their plans for the 2013 18-and-under World Baseball Classic, as it’s going to be referred to.
“They are focused right now on the qualifiers for the big World Baseball Classic, the senior level event that’s been held in 2006 and 2009 … We figure that sometime in the fall, maybe as late as Christmastime, we’ll know a little more about MLB’s plans for 2013.”
A little planning never hurt said Philp, whose organization brought the likes of future baseball hopefuls like Francisco Lindor, Bubba Starling and Cuban Jorge Soler, expected to sign a deal with the Chicago Cubs later this month, to Thunder Bay in 2010.
“Our organization wants to be poised and ready to go if they say ‘Yes, we would consider looking at a city like Thunder Bay,’” Philp said.
“There’s another part of the process. Baseball Canada, of course, the sport’s governing body, has to say that Thunder Bay has its support and (allow us to bid) for 2013.”
His fear is that because MLB – who TBIBA has not spoken with yet – has taken over, they may want to tie the renamed event to one of its member cities.
But that doesn’t necessarily rule a city like Thunder Bay out of the process, as Philp said there could be qualifying tournaments that could be up for grabs for a city like Thunder Bay.
Philp said he thinks Thunder Bay’s track record speaks for itself. But it still might not be enough, he added.
“I think it counts for a lot. We couldn’t have done any more in 2010 to show that we’re a city that can host a larger event. Now to be realistic, keep in mind the size of Thunder Bay, keep in mind the resources Major League Baseball has, the locations where Major League Baseball traditionally does business, you may see them turn the page on markets like Thunder Bay with this event going forward, if you start comparing it to world junior hockey.
“But nonetheless, we’re prepared if they deem that a market like Thunder Bay is suitable, given the success that we had, we’re good to go,” Philp said.
Click here to report a typo or error
You must log in to add comments.
Create a new account
Remember me next time.