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Thursday, Aug 28th

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Fort McMurray: We're open to American Association team

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American Association

A rep from Fort McMurray (AB) is in Winnipeg to see how the independent American Association does business, but the odds of indy ball reaching northern Alberta are slim at the very, very best.

Tim Reid, chief operating officer of the corporation that runs MacDonald Island Park, where a new ballpark could potentially be housed, was in Winnipeg to meet with American Association reps in town to check out operations of the Winnipeg Goldeyes

“We are here to create awareness about the new stadium, and to let people know the opportunity is there if they are looking for a place to put a team,” Reid told the Edmonton Journal. “More than anything, we want them to know there is a market for baseball in northern Alberta.”

The American Association -- or rather, several of its teams while playing under the independent Northern League banner before a split -- already has experience with including Alberta teams as part of the mix, when both Edmonton and Calgary were in the league. It's not an especially good memory, to be honest: the daunting distance between those two cities and the nearest league outpost, Winnipeg, made for some long and expensive road trips, and some bad ownership didn't help matters. And while ownership issues have been settled in Edmonton, where the Capitals were owned by Rexall Sports and Entertainment -- which also owns the Edmonton Oilers (NHL) -- things are wide open in Calgary.

And Fort McMurray, well, is really remote, some five and a half hours from Edmonton, almost nine hours from Calgary and more than 19 hours from Winnipeg. Fort McMurray is remote even by Canadian standards, much less North American bus-league standards. Between the location and the limited nature of the ballpark -- it will feature only 2,300 seats if construction is approved for 2015, with room for more than 5,000 more on berms -- we're guessing it will be a long time before we see American Association baseball in Fort McMurray.

RELATED STORIES: New Canadian league forming?North American League expands to Fort McMurray

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