Saturday, 15 December 2007

Whining in Victoria

Boosters Want Representation on Directorate
[Victoria Colonist, Feb. 26, 1952]
Athletics Booster Club members are demanding representation on the board of directors of the Victoria Baseball and Athletic Co. Ltd.
Meeting at the Fox Theatre Sunday night, the Boosters claimed they had “saved baseball” with their recent fund drive and will ask to have two directors, Some members are even recommending that all seven directors be selected from the A.B.C. membership.
Nomination for club directors was left in the hands of the executive and club members were urged to attend the annual meeting of baseball club shareholders to be held some time next month.
Frank Ireland was returned as A.B.C. president, Wilf Schroeder as vice-president, and Laurie Wallace as Treasurer. Iola Gordon is secretary and Mrs. Connie Segrist, Mrs. Harris, Mrs. Cooper and Roy Simmons were elected as the executive.

Victoria WIL Franchise Threatened by Council
VICTORIA, Feb. 26—This city’s franchise in the Western International League, saved by a financial drive, was threatened again here Tuesday after Alderman Waldo Skillings warned City Council that “the sooner the city gets rid of professional baseball and gives the park back to amateur sports the better.”
City solicitor Arthur Patton was instructed to study the contract between the city and the Victoria Baseball Company after Ald. Skillings read a letter from park superintendent W.H. Warren which stated the recent drive for fund would only wipe our the debt “and leave nothing for operational expenses.”

By Jim Tang
[Victoria Colonist, February 28, 1952]
It is difficult to understand the hostile attitude of some Victorians toward professional baseball. Thousands of dollars are often wasted in other ways—the Memorial Arena, for example—without creating half the furore being stirred up because the Victoria baseball club plays in a city-owned park and owes what amounts to a season’s rent.
That the club is blameless for the current state of affairs is not claimed here but it is the belief that prejudice is the main reason for most of the fuss. Certainly, it would not seem to be within the rights of the park superintendent to forecast in his report “a dim future” for the club on the basis of his belief that attendance would have to be doubled to pay off accumulated indebtedness and that “this appears to be an impossibility.”
Nor is if fair to imply that professional baseball is the reason for the deficit shown in the operation of Royal Athletic Park. Last year’s operation cost has been set at 13,370, of which $7,960 was claimed attributable to baseball. This may or may not be just but would the cost of operation have been appreciably less without professional baseball and what other sport would yield as much as $4,000 during a summer? To claim on the basis of the above figures that the city subsidized professional baseball last year to the extent of $3,960 is, at the very least, a bit misleading.
And why the stress on professionalism? Professional baseball in Victoria is professional only because the players are paid a stipulated salary and the Victoria team is a member of a professional league. The Victoria club is owned by several hundred Victoria stockholders who do not expect any investment return other than the enjoyment they get out of the game and the only profit motive here is the hope that receipts will exceed expenditures by enough to keep the club in continued operation.
That the Victoria club has not been able to realize that hope is not at all unusual. The situation, due mainly to tremendously increased operational costs, is prevalent in most minor-league communities. Only in Victoria can one find the prejudice which talks of “subsidization” of professional sport and works in an attempt to see that a valuable, and much-needed, recreational facility is lost. In six seasons, professional baseball here has been attended to by more than 700,000 fans, proof enough of its worth and proof enough that “saving baseball” is not nearly as ludicrous as the unnecessary bombast which stirs up needless and useless controversy.

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