The Vancouver Canadians aren’t going anywhere, but their affiliation with the Toronto Blue Jays appears to be coming to an end.
According to a report from Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle, the Oakland Athletics are expected to move their Single-A team from Beloit, Wisconsin to Vancouver.
👀 interesting baseball development (to my interests + geography, anyways)
— Mike McKinnon (@mikemckinnon) October 20, 2020
When asked about it, Canadians President Andy Dunn told Daily Hive: “Currently, we have no information as to the report last night.”
The report has since been confirmed by TSN 1040’s Rob Fai, the team’s longtime play-by-play voice.
Vancouver Canadians will become "newest" affiliate of the Oakland Athletics starting in 2021. Rico Brogna slated to become manager, Anthony Phillips on staff as well.
Blue Jays relationship ends at nine "on-field" seasons, four titles, 70+ C's to Jays players dating back to 2011. pic.twitter.com/m66ANdxYJn
— Rob Fai (@RobFai) October 20, 2020
Major League Baseball is expected to cut the number of minor league teams they’re affiliated with, likely including the termination of Class A Short-Season leagues like the one the Canadians play in. The Blue Jays currently have a Single-A team in Lansing, Michigan, which is only about a five-hour drive to Toronto.
Much of the Canadians’ success — on and off the field — has coincided with their affiliation with the Blue Jays, which began in 2011. The C’s have won four Northwest League championships and seven division titles during that span.
The Canadians have also been a smash hit at the box office during the last decade, as sellout crowds regularly greet Nat Bailey Stadium. In 2019, the Canadians averaged a league-high 6,210 fans per game, which is more than seven of 16 teams in the PCL, the Triple-A league Vancouver used to play in.
Vancouver has been affiliated with Oakland before, from 2000 to 2010, as well as in 1978 and 1999 during their Triple-A days.
A move to a new Single-A league will likely mean more baseball at Nat Bailey Stadium, with the season starting in April or May, rather than the team’s current schedule which begins in June.
That’s good news for local baseball fans, but could present a challenge to the Canadians front office, as fans might be less enthused about visiting the ballpark during some colder and rainier months.