Winnipeg Goldeyes facing a curveball ahead of upcoming season
WINNIPEG -- The Winnipeg Goldeyes are facing a curveball before their second season south of the border has even started.
On Thursday, the club announced due to the ongoing Canada-U.S. border closure, it would be postponing its home opener at Shaw Park. That game was initially set to take place May 21.
Instead, the team is planning on playing their scheduled home games at the Ballpark at Jackson in Jackson, Tennessee, which was the home of the Jackson Generals. However, Jackson Mayor Scott Conger issued a statement saying the Generals had defaulted on their lease agreement for the ballpark by losing its affiliation with AA baseball.
“The Club had no authority to enter into its purported arrangement with the Goldeyes,” said Conger in a statement.
“The Club did so without the knowledge or consent of the City as owner of the facility.”
Conger said a 2011 Stadium License and Use Agreement gave the Generals certain rights to use the stadium. He said when Major League Baseball restructured the minor league system, the Generals were not invited to be a part of the new league -- meaning they lost AA status and breached their agreement.
Despite the dispute between the City of Jackson and the Generals, Goldeyes owner Sam Katz said he’s been assured his club will be able to play there as planned.
“Our job is to play baseball, not to interfere between two parties who have a disagreement,” said Katz.
“They’ll work out their disagreement. We’ll just play quality and affordable entertainment, and hopefully win games.”
Katz said while the two sides are in arbitration, the team will play in Tennessee without interruption.
The Goldeyes will open their season on May 18 on the road against the Sioux Falls Canaries. They are scheduled to play their first game in Jackson on May 21 against the Chicago Dogs.
The club has said it is hopeful it will be able to host fans at Shaw Park in 2021 if public health orders allow it.
-With files from CTV's Jon Hendricks.