Hitting the bottom line

Katie Brickman
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Devons a loss for Ross Wells Park

The loss of the Moose Jaw Devons is forcing the Ross Wells Park board to get creative.

Kevin Gratza (16) of the Moose Jaw Miller Express is congraulated by his teammates after hitting a leadoff solo home run in the bottom of the first inning against the Regina Red Sox in Western Major Baseball League action last season at Ross Wells Park. Times-Herald photo by Katie Brickman

Now that the Devons have folded due to lack of numbers, the board members are looking at ways to generate more revenue.

“It is 15 less games in the park, so less people coming to the park and all those teams pay rent to play there, so it effects our revenue,” stated Charlie Meacher, a board member. “We’ve had to raise our prices and we will probably have to find some other way to make a bit of  money to try and make up for that loss of revenue.”

It was made public earlier this week that the Devons were not going to play in the Saskatchewan Premier Baseball League (SPBL) this summer as three of the 12 players decided not to play, resulting in the team folding. Don Anderson also resigned as the head coach of the team.

The board decided to raise the hourly rate for those teams that do play at the ballpark this summer, although not a significant amount.

“We raised the rent just under 10 per cent. It is not a real harsh number and it is probably not enough to recoup all the revenue that we would have got from the Devons. But not having them there offsets and decreases some expenses as well,” stated Meacher. “Hopefully, we have raised it enough to make up the difference between what they would have paid and how much it would cost to have them there.”

Over the last couple of weeks, the board members have been meeting and trying to come up with different ideas on how to get that lost money back. Although nothing has been formalized yet, they are looking at bringing in some tournaments.

“It is a small board and everyone is involved in baseball in some other way. It becomes difficult to not step on somebody’s else toes and still be able to raise some money for our ventures,” said Meacher. “We’ve got some ideas and we will pursue those in the next couple of months.”

Not only does the loss of the Devons sting, but the park will not host the Sask Selects tournament this year. The tournament will be held in Saskatoon, as a dry run for the Baseball Canada Cup.

“That one didn’t help either,” said Meacher.

Although the lack of a midget AAA team will affect Ross Wells Park, it will not affect the Moose Jaw Miller Express.

“It doesn’t affect us now. We are not going to increase our pricing in any way,” said Darryl Pisio, president of Express. “Our adults are still $10, still $8 for senior and still $5 for students. Our early bird pricing for the month of April is $150. None of that is going to change.”

The Express do, however, want to take on a bigger role of baseball in Moose Jaw, especially now.

“I think our big thing with the Millers going forward, one of our things we want to accomplish, is creating better ball players and working with the younger kids,” said Pisio. “With the Devons not around, it even brings this even more to the forefront. This just shows how important the Millers have to be in part of baseball in Moose Jaw.”

The Express get their Western Major Baseball League season underway on May 30 when Saskatoon visit and Melville on May 31 for the RBC home opening weekend.

Follow me on Twitter @katiebrickman

Organizations: Saskatchewan Premier Baseball League, Millers, AAA Moose Jaw Miller Express Western Major Baseball League RBC

Geographic location: Ross Wells Park, Saskatoon, Moose Jaw Canada

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