Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Victoria vs Calgary and Edmonton

By Jim Tang
[Victoria Colonist, Jan. 19, 1953]
That ever-recurring uproar at City Hall about the back rent owed by the Victoria Tyees for the use of Royal Athletic Park at the continue sniping of a civil employee at professional baseball is in direct contrast to the situation at Edmonton, which is one of two new member cities in the W.I.L.
John Ducey, general manager of the Edmonton club who has been in the city for the past three days, reports nothing but co-operation from city officials in the Alberta capital.
“They are 100 per cent behind our club in every way,” Ducey stated. “It is there opinion that helping to bring professional baseball to Edmonton is a public service and that anything spent will be returned two-fold in the advertising Edmonton is bound to receive from its professional baseball team.”
Edmonton, as has been reported, will spend 45 thousand dollars to refurnish Renfrew Park for its new ball club and will ask an extremely reasonable rental. It has done the same for the football Eskimos, spending thousands of dollars on Clarke Stadium to provide accommodation for its football-mad citizens.
In Calgary, city officials agreed last year to relinquish the city’s 12½ per cent of gate receipts, expected ton average about $17,000 annually, to help out its football Stampeders. The club, needing all the financial help it can get to keep operating, has now asked the city to reimburse it for the $21,000 it spend on Mewata Park last year, add 4,000 seats, and forego the $5,000 rental for 1952 and 1953. And it stands every chance of getting what it asks.
It is the same in most smaller Canadian cities. Whenever it is obvious that civil help is needed to provide citizens with the best possible sports entertainment, civic officials do what they can to help. As Ducey says, it is a public service and the resultant publicity is return for the money spent. The Eskimos, for instance, have brought Edmonton almost as much advertising as the oil boom and there are few Canadians who haven’t heard of the Calgary Stampeders, hockey, baseball or football.
Victoria, of course, is much different. The accent here is on such things as hanging flower baskets and the baseball club a means of getting personal publicity or settling political and/or personal differences with the people who are interested in keeping the sport alive. It’s about time it was changed. It could be remembered that the baseball club has spent about $30,000 on Athletic Park and that more than 700,000 Victorians have spent an evening or an afternoon enjoying professional baseball in the past seven years. Not many, if any, of them would miss the baskets or the pipers at the docks.
Random Harvest
Nick Pesut, veteran catcher, and Tony Freitas, the ageless ex-major league southpaw pitcher, are reported to have applied for the managerial job at Tri-City…Vancouver Capilanos are going to forsake Penticton as a training-camp site. General manager Dewey Soriano, no doubt, shuddering at reports of the April Okanagan winds, has announced that the club will condition at Healsburg, California…Pete Hughes, who will be able to hit as long as he can lumber up to the plate, led the class “C” Southwestern International League in hitting last season with a .366 average and in home runs with 28. A minor leaguer all of his career because of bad ankles, he has been a major-league hitter.

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