As one of just two members of the Jays Journal staff that lives outside of Canada, the New Hampshire Fisher Cats have been my way of getting my Toronto Blue Jays fix, even if its only on a Minor League scale. Living in Vermont, it is a short drive for me to get over to Manchester, New Hampshire and sit down in Northeast Delta Dental Stadium and see some Double-A baseball.
With the joint announcement by the Blue Jays and the Fisher Cats on Tuesday, it looks like I’ll be making that trip for a few more years to come.
On Tuesday, the Toronto Blue Jays have extended their player development contract with the Fisher Cats for two additional seasons. The original deal, set to expire after the completion of the 2014 season, will now carry through the 2016 campaign.
“We are thrilled to extend our agreement with the Fisher Cats organization. Art Solomon and Rick Brenner operate a first class organization which is reflected in the passionate fan base and quality facilities. Our players are fortunate to benefit from the professional atmosphere in Manchester,” said Charlie Wilson, Blue Jays Director of Minor League Operations.
The announcement also settles some debate within the media and the organization of whether or not the Blue Jays would look to relocate the team to a Canadian province. Specifically, there has been discussion in the past about bringing the team to Ottawa, where the city has been feverishly working to lure a team to Ottawa Stadium. However, as late as October of last year, the Blue Jays had downplayed the speculation that they would be the team making the jump.
“We’re thrilled with New Hampshire,” Anthopoulos said. “They have the best ballpark in the Eastern League, unbelievable ownership and unbelievable management. It can’t get any better for us than New Hampshire.”
Tuesday’s announcement should put to bed any worries that the Blue Jays will be leaving the comfy confines of New Hampshire any time soon. The Fisher Cats as a whole, have been a successfully run organization, having won two league titles (2004 and 2011) during their affiliation with the Blue Jays. They have also bought into the organizations philanthropic mission, having been named as the Eastern League’s nominee for the John H. Johnson President’s Award, recognizing the team’s commitment to the community.