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Goodbye IceCats...


Brian in Boston

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... hello independent, minor-league baseball.

Worcester, Massachusetts is the new home of the independent Can-Am League's eighth franchise. The former Allentown Ambassadors franchise played the 2004 season as a barnstorming team called the Aces. They will play at least this season at Fitton Field on the campus of the College of the Holy Cross.

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IceCats is the name because they play hockey on ice. It wouldn't make any sense to transfer a basically sport-specific nickname to another team in a different sport.

And it's about time Worcester got a baseball team. Too bad it's independent, though. Connecticut has at least 3 AA teams, and Manchester, NH and Portland, ME have one each, it would make a nice addition to the Eastern League. Worcester should be large enough to support a ball club.

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CT's only got 2 EL teams....New Britain and Norwich (New Haven moved to Manchester after the '03 season and became the New Hampshire Fisher Cats)...

And it might be one after 2006, seeing the new owner of the Norwich team has basically said "get attendance up or we're gone once our lease runs out."....and we all know how ultimatums like that from owners go over <_<

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The prospective new owner of the Norwich Navigators is boxing promoter Lou DiBella. His purchase of the club has not yet been officially approved by Major League Baseball. He has gone on record before the Southeastern Connecticut Council of Governments as stating that, in his opinion, Norwich is incapable of supporting the Navigators on its own. Therefore, he feels that other municipalities in the region are going to need to step up and help promote/support the team.

To that end, after the 2005 season, DiBella plans on adopting a new team name, logo and mascot that will help in marketing the team as a regional franchise. Still, that identity package may well be used for just one season if DiBella feels that the team is not enjoying the type of regional support he deems necessary. He has not ruled out moving the franchise to another market in time for the 2006 season.

As for Worcester's prospects as an affiliated minor-league baseball market, the Pawtucket Red Sox would have to waive their claim to territorial protection. Worcester is considered to be within the territory of the PawSox.

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