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Hanging on: Former home to baseball in Winnipeg

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Winnipeg Goldeyes

The former home of the Winnipeg Goldeyes (independent; American Association) and the Winnipeg Whips (Class AAA; International League) will remain open -- for now.

Canad Inns Stadium, better known as home of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers (CFL), was slated to be torn down this fall after the Bombers moved to a new stadium on the University of Manitoba campus. But construction issues have delayed that move, and the stadium will remain open at least for the first half of the Blue Bombers' 2012 season, if not longer.

As a baseball venue, Canad Inns Stadium -- the former Winnipeg Stadium -- was always lacking, with a diamond awkwardly placed on a CFL playing field and a grandstand installed in the northwest corner of the stadium, meaning bases were laid out north-to-south and east-to-west during the last time a ball team took up residency there. The suites at the stadium were always too far away to be useful, and most of the seating was too far from the action to ever allow a team to create an intimate atmosphere.

Still, baseball was envisioned as being a big part of the Winnipeg Stadium offerings from the very beginning. It opened in 1953 and was built originally for use for CFL football and minor-league baseball: the affiliated Winnipeg Goldeyes of the original Northern League played there in 1953-1964. The original stadium configuration was slightly different then, with the grandstand located at the southwest corner (it was later torn down for Blue Bombers clubhouses). After the Northern League moved out of the market, Winnipeg officials worked to bring in another affiliated team when the Buffalo Bisons (Class AAA; International League) fled War Memorial Stadium under some nasty circumstances in June 1970 and took up refuge in Winnipeg for the rest of the 1970 season and the entire 1971 season. The Whips were actually a success at the box office but not overall financially; high travel costs (the closest IL team was Toledo) doomed the franchise. The Whips moved to Virginia and became the Peninsula Whips.

RELATED STORIES: Canad Inns Stadium to be torn down next year

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