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Letter to the Editor: Let's get a record crowd out to support the Cats

Team was unfairly displaced from Port Arthur Stadium, needs fan support to help make up financial losses.
Border Cats first baseman Sal Taormina fouls off a pitch at Port Arthur Stadium. (Leith Dunick,

To the editor:

As long-time supporters and prior house parents for the Thunder Bay Border Cats, we have to voice our displeasure at the way this 15-year franchise has been treated by the City of Thunder Bay over renovations at Port Arthur Stadium.

For the City to use weather as the only excuse for the delays this spring is a cop out. Last fall it took over 2 weeks after the final event there to begin work on the field which they knew would be extensive.

The City and its Quebec-based contractor could have purchased locally grown sod from the Staal Brothers Sod Farm but instead went with a company from Southern Ontario.

When it didn't take, they turned to the Staals to replace it with theirs this spring.

Because of these delays, the Border Cats have been forced on to the road for almost 3 weeks to play 10 "home" games out of town. This is a huge financial hit as the team has lost out on anywhere between 75 and 100 thousand dollars as home game revenue. This doesn't include the refunds to season ticket holders for the 10 games lost.

The Cats have also been forced to pay for hotels, meals and laundry (all in US dollars) while they play "home" games out of town, not to mention the cost of leasing a bus for 3 weeks.

NWL teams are also responsible for the away teams accommodations, meals and laundry, so these costs are piled on as well. If I were the new Cat owners who committed to keep the team here last year, I would not pay a nickel in rent for the next 4 years of the lease unless the City is somehow or in some way going to help make up for these financial losses this season.

If the City had just maintained the stadium to a minimum standard over the past dozen years, a lot of the upgrades wouldn't have been necessary and the Cats would not have been placed in this predicament.

Could you imagine if renovations ever occurred at the Fort William Gardens that didn't finish on time and forced the LU Thunderwolves to play 6 home games at another venue or even out of town?

It could sink that team financially as well.

All of these upgrades were necessary for the World U-18 baseball championships this fall. With all of these setbacks it is even more imperative we get out and support our Border Cats! They need our support now so don't wait until September for the World's to get your baseball fix.

Close to 180 players from the Northwoods League have reached the Major Leagues, including five former Border Cats. The talent is there on the field.The much-delayed home opener is this Saturday night 6:05 p.m. Let's make this a record crowd! Hopefully, our local ball club isn't down to its last strike. 

Doug and Maggie Colbon,
Thunder Bay