Baseball team will need community

If you are a baseball fan in particular, or just a supporter of your community having diverse things for people to do, it is good news that the Yorkton Cardinals are going to be back on the diamond this summer.

That was far from a guaranteed occurrence as recently as last October when the long-time Western Major Baseball League franchise, they joined the league in 2002, announced it was in debt to the tune of $96,000.

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For a baseball team that plays a relatively condensed season, June and July, that is a significant debt load, and one that was clearly threatening the ability to field a team this summer.

Among those owed money were the league for past and present fees, and perhaps more distressing the local bus owner. The league might well operate with less fees for a time, but a bus operator faces some very real expenses in transporting a team across Saskatchewan and Alberta. Fuel tanks are not filled on the promise of payment somewhere down the road. The bus driver needs to earn a wage. The bus must be maintained.

Certainly any local business that has been supportive enough of the Cardinals to let them purchase goods and services on credit deserve to be paid back as quickly as possible.

But, to have any hope of recouping the debt the team needed to survive. It will only be through increased gate receipts and fundraising efforts that the Cardinals have a chance to raise the $96,000 to clear the debt.

The executive is formulating a plan to start the process of debt reduction. The $96,000 debt was not incurred in a single season, and will not be retired in a single summer either, but the process must start now.

For baseball fans, it’s a final chance to get out and support a high level of summer baseball, one that has seen three former Cardinals make it to the majors, most notably Andrelton Simmons of the Los Angeles Angels. Simmons is an outstanding pro having won a National League Rawlings Platinum Glove Award, four Rawlings Gold Glove Awards for shortstops, a Wilson MLB Overall Defensive Player of the Year Award, and six Fielding Bible Awards.

And of course pitcher Dan Runzler who won a World Series ring with San Francisco in 2012.

If we want to see the likes of Simmons and Runzler on the Jubilee Park field in the years ahead, the community must get behind the Cardinals in a bigger way than in the past. It’s really that simple, fans and sponsors join with the team executive and cut into the debt, or we are likely to lose the team, and that would not be a good thing for the community.

© Copyright Yorkton This Week

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