Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Can Victoria Survive - Column

By Jim Tang
[Victoria Colonist, Sept. 16, 1951]
Victoria is a good baseball town. As recently as 1949 it was conceded to be one of the best Class “B” franchises in baseball. Yet, two years later the W.I.L. office reports that the Athletics played before only 69,850 paying customers, the club is about to write the final figures in the debit side of its ledger for the third successive season, and there is grave doubt that the present ownership can raise enough fresh capital to pay off its indebtedness much less start another season, Worst of all, it has lost public confidence and a good number of fans who at one time seldom missed. Why?
It is true that smaller crowds are prevalent throughout baseball and that probably six other clubs in the W.I.L. will show a losing season financially this year. But it is also true that an attendance of 69,850 for 74 games in Victoria can not be attributed to these facts alone. In view of the success of hockey and lacrosse, there must be other reasons for the poor showing of baseball.
It can be said, of course, that the reason is the lack of a winning team. This is without doubt correct but why haven’t we had a winning team? And why have the past two teams been composed mainly of the type of players which collectively made for a team which made baseball dull and uninteresting.
Much of this can not be blamed to the management. It is admittedly difficult to obtain players and officials have tried, and tried harm, to assemble a winning team. Unfortunately, they have failed and with this failure, baseball interest in Victoria is at a new low. If the diamond sport is to regain its lost place in Victoria’s sports sun, some drastic changes will have to be taken.
Too much, perhaps, has been made of the necessity for local ownership. It is to be preferred but it is not at all essential. The average baseball fan cares not who ownes the team as long as he gets good baseball. Trampoline acts and clowns are poor substitutes. The money spent for side attractions would be better spent to procure the one or two proven players who mean the difference between a winner and a loser.
Baseball can come back in Victoria next year but nothing short of a winning team will accomplish this. If the present ownership is not positive it can field a winner, it should get out as lightly as possible. Fans are certain to await developments next spring before spending their money. If developments are not good it will be only throwing good money after bad.

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