SATELLITE CLINICS - The experts come to you!
These clinics are available in May, June and July. Our coaches will come to your community and customize the right program for your team or association. $500 - 2 hours (maximum 20 participants - Extra players $25 each)
These clinics are available before a number of Prospect evening games from 4-5pm. Involve your team in our pre-game warm-up with Prospect coaches and players. Teams will participate in the Opening Ceremonies and receive 15 child tickets and 2 adult tickets to that evening's game. $200
*Cancellations for Clinics need a minimum of 1 month's notice or fee is forfeited. Previous to that deadline, there is a $25 Administration Charge
BY DAN BARNES
Fans find their seats for the Edmonton Prospects and Regina Red Sox Western Major Baseball League game at Telus Field on June 7, 2015. (Perry Mah)
The clock is still ticking on Edmonton's river valley ball yard, but it's been harder to hear lately, drowned out by joyful noise.
The Edmonton Prospects, who took over as leaseholders 10 months ago and are desperate to prove the ball yard's relevance, scratched and clawed their way to the Western Major Baseball League championship series last summer and that glorious run certainly livened up the joint.
The college kids played their last home game Aug. 13, but the park didn't go dark. Prospects owner Patrick Cassidy, who couldn't be more dedicated to keeping the bulldozers at bay, said there were 60 other bookings on his facility's calendar – corporate and charity slo-pitch games and barbecues and the like. The Folk Fest folks were in there, so too some television production companies.
He also signed eight-month lease deals with Vimy Ridge Baseball Academy and the fledgling University of Alberta Baseball Club, ensuring there's activity year round.
The 30 Vimy Ridge kids were in there five days a week in the fall, now three days a week during winter, but will go back to a Monday to Friday schedule. When the 30 University of Alberta kids aren't on the road – they're playing in Phoenix now and heading for Las Vegas – they're at the park from Monday through Saturday.
Local baseball lifer Mark Randall runs both enterprises, and is determined to build a development system that moves players from Vimy to the U of A, to the Prospects and eventually minor pro. But there's a much bigger picture in his head.
"The whole purpose of this venture from my end, really, is to save the facility," Randall said Thursday. "I know that having kids down there running around the stadium on a daily basis is going to help the cause."
Cassidy signed a four-year-plus-option deal with the City last spring and it represents the last and best hope for baseball. If the Prospects fail in their multi-pronged mission to provide an entertaining product, tend the game's grassroots and open the facility to the wider community, the land could be repurposed for condominiums.
"We're trying to keep the bulldozers parked up on the hill there," said Cassidy. "Part of our mandate was, prove to us that this building is relevant and has a future.
"I think we're going to be successful. We had a good year last year. We put over 40,000 people in the ball park."
The Prospects drew 38,226 fans for 21 regular season dates and another 7,940 for five playoff tilts as they upset the Okotoks Dawgs and Medicine Hat Mavericks en route to the league championship, where they fell to the Swift Current Indians. That gave them a year-long average of 1,775, second only to Okotoks in the 12-team loop.
Cassidy wants to build on last year's momentum by staging half a dozen special events that could attract perhaps 5,000 people nightly, as they do on Canada Day, when the park offers a great view of the fireworks. With more than 9,000 seats available, there is no urgency to buy season tickets. About 95 per cent of their crowd is walkup and they need to constantly beat the drum.
To that end, they reached out to the public with their inaugural gala at Fort Edmonton Park on Feb. 11. With former major leaguer and current Sportsnet analyst Gregg Zaun as keynote speaker, it was a modest affair but the team is gaining momentum in the corporate community.
"You keep feeling it, more and more companies jumping on board," said Cassidy. "Actions speak louder than words, they've got to put their money where their mouths are, and they're doing it."
So are the Prospects. This week, they started putting in a new electronic scoreboard, replacing a relic that had been there since Day 1, according to Cassidy.
"I think it might have been built in 1923," he laughed. "Instead of that Lite-Brite board with burnt-out lights, and only one or two colours, it will be more like a television. It's going to be a lot clearer, more functional. It's something that needed to be done.
"We're also looking at maybe putting new stadium lights in, not so much because we need new lighting and the players are struggling to see the ball – although they will use that excuse when they drop one – moreso because the existing lights are old technology and there is an issue with the amount of transmission and distribution we have to pay every month."
He said new lights could save the club about $75,000 to $100,000 per year on power.
He's already signed a new food provider – Prairie Catering will unveil a signature Edmonton-sourced hotdog this year – and has a deal pending for a naming rights sponsor. It's an international sales and marketing company boasting 3,000 agents in the Edmonton area, he said.
If the name is approved by City Council, the ball yard will finally have a new identity, and it will be a mouthful. The name of the corporate sponsor, which he wouldn't divulge, will be followed by Field and Entertainment Centre.
Given all that's going on down there these days, it sounds about right.
By Amanda Fewer
Canadian Baseball Network
It was a celebration of baseball at the Edmonton Prospects first annual Fund raising Gala in Edmonton.
What better place to celebrate the history of baseball in Edmonton than Edmonton’s historic Fort Edmonton Park? The Blatchford Air Hangar served as the backdrop for the Prospects “For the love of the game 2017 Gala.”
Managing partner of the Prospects Patrick Cassidy began the evening with a few announcements.
One being that subject to final approval by the city, there would be new naming rights to Telus Field. Although as part of the deal he was not allowed to say exactly who this new partner would be, he gave all of those in attendance a clue. They are an international company. Not much of a clue, but he says he is very excited to see this go through and that “local sales people are our allies.” He hopes that once this company is announced, supporters of the Prospects become strong supporters of the company itself.
Cassidy also explained where some of the proceeds of the Gala were headed. He explained that the Prospects will be updating the lighting at the park from halogen to LED, which will result in $100,000 per year in energy savings for the organization. David Mitchell, CEO of Lumican Corp. was in attendance and happy to chat lighting with anyone curious enough to ask.
In 2016 the Prospects and the city of Edmonton struck a four-year deal with an option for a fifth, bringing baseball back to the city. “This gives us an opportunity to prove ourselves, we’re on a mission,” Cassidy said.
A lot of ball has been played at that field. The Pacific Coastal League triple-A Edmonton Trappers occupied the park in 1995 when it opened and were later sold in 2004. Next came the Edmonton Cracker Cats of the independent Northern and Golden Leagues, who became the Capitals of the Golden and North American League.
And now the collegiate level Prospects of the Western Major Baseball League. The triple-A team began play in Edmonton in 1981. Before that the Edmonton Eskimos were in the class-A Western International League (1953-54), the class-B Western International (1922), class-B Western Canada League (1920-21), class-D Western Canada (1914), the Edmonton Gray Birds were in the Western Canada League (1912-13), the Eskimos in the class-D Western Canada League (1909-11) and the first-ever team, the Edmonton Grays in the class-D Western Canada League (1907).
That’s 43 pro teams the city has fielded for you scoring along at home, behind only Toronto (121 teams of different sorts of classifications), Montreal (96), Vancouver (83), Winnipeg (66), Hamilton (47) and Calgary (46).
You can feel Cassidy’s passion, as he says “any negative talk will only come out of the mouths of fools. We are baseball people through and through.”
As for where they see themselves in the coming years, well, Cassidy has high expectations. He says that as an organization they look up to teams like the Okotoks Dawgs, saying teams like the four-time WMBL champions have brought so much needed attention to the WMBL.
The Dawgs led the league in attendance again in the 2016 Season with 76,571, an average of 3,329 people per game.
“Our goal is to catch and surpass them, we want to continue to build this movement into an unstoppable force,” said Cassidy.
The Prospects saw 38,266 fans in the 2016 season. An average of 1,820 per game. They have some work to do, although they are up to the challenge.
Throughout the evening attendees were invited to bid on silent auction items ranging from Edmonton Oilers and Edmonton Eskimos memorabilia to Toronto Blue Jays and Calgary Flames items.
Guest speaker Gregg Zaun even threw in his four season tickets to a regular season game with on field BP and a live viewing of the Sporstnet broadcast. It fetched $3,600 towards the cause. Zaun entertained guests, which included a couple members of the Edmonton Eskimos football team, with a slew of anecdotes from his career.
Zaun also hosted a Hot Stove style panel with Orv Franchuk moderated by the voice of baseball in Edmonton, Al Coates. Franchuk was a scout for the Cinciannti Reds, hitting coach for the Edmonton Trappers and manager for the Vancouver Canadians to name a few stops. He was also a coach for the Canadian National Team at the 1978 World Cup, the 1981 Intercontinental Cup and the 2007 World Cup.
With its history in baseball well over 100 years old and the enthusiasm of Cassidy, Edmonton is headed in the proper direction.
UNIVERSITY OF ALBERTA BASEBALL CLUB
The NEW Men’s and Women’s University of Alberta Baseball Club will be hosting a mini-camp prior to start of the 2016/2017 season. The event is designed to identify players and to deliver information on the program to players and parents. The event will allow the University of Alberta coaching staff and General Manager a chance to evaluate players and have the players prepare for the season. Players will be evaluated through out the entire 3-day mini-camp which will include drills, small group activities and live scrimmages. All players that have been previously contacted about the program are required to attend the mini-camp. If you are not able to attend the mini-camp because of previous commitments, please contact Mark Randall @
After the on-field activities on August 29th which is the 1st day the University of Alberta Coaching Staff and General Manager will be hosting a parents and players information session in the Telus Field Lounge Area. This session will include information as it pertains to the structure of the new program, eligibility standards, baseball fees, and an outlook on the 2016/2017 season. At the end, players and parents will be free to engage the General Manager and Coaching Staff with Questions.
DATES: AUGUST 29TH, 30TH, 31ST
TIME(S): 4:00PM (ALL DAYS)
LOCATION: THE EDMONTON BALLPARK (FORMERLY TELUS FIELD)
ADDRESS: 10233 96 Ave NW, Edmonton, AB T5K 0A5
MEN’S ELIGIBILITY: NEED TO ATTEND ANY POST-SECONDARY INSTITUTION IN THE EDMONTON AREA. FORMER PROFESSIONAL PLAYERS NEED TO HAVE ELIGIBILITY LEFT FROM PREVIOUS COLLEGE/UNIVERSITIES AND REGAIN AMATEUR STATUS.
WOMEN’S ELIGIBILITY: NEED TO HAVE ATTENDED THE U OF A OR ARE CURRENTLY ATTENDING ANY POST-SECONDARY INSTITUTION IN THE EDMONTON AREA. HIGH SCHOOL AGED WOMEN NEED TO SUPPLY A LETTER OF REFERENCE INDICATING HIGH PERFORMER.
- POSITION PLAYERS BE PREPARED TO RUN 60 YARD DASH, THROW FROM POSITIONS
- PITCHERS BE PREPARED TO THROW A BULLPEN SESSION
REGISTRATION FORMS AND DOCUMENTATION WILL BE SUPPLIED AT THE 1ST DAY OF MINI – CAMP