By Jeff MacKinnon
February 14, 2002
CALGARY–The Canadian Baseball League has postponed its inaugural season until 2003. The independent circuit, which employs Hall of Famer Fergie Jenkins as its commissioner, wanted to start up this May.
“We just didn’t anticipate some of the obstacles we were going to come across,” CBL chairman Tony Riviera said. “We think that we can better serve the people of Canada by delivering the product and the game the way we said we were going to.”
A 72-game schedule was planned. In November, Riviera announced franchises would be in Regina and Saskatoon in Saskatchewan; Lethbridge and Red Deer in Alberta; and the British Columbia cities of Abbotsford, Kamloops, Kelowna and Nanaimo. Each team’s roster was to include five Canadian-born players.
The biggest obstacle Riviera’s group faced was stadium availability and readiness. Some cities simply didn’t have adequate facilities or space. “I don’t think that leases (are) a problem,” Riviera said. “There’s some conflict with user groups and some construction schedule conflicts that may have delayed our opening. With those two things in mind we just said ‘You know what? Let’s just play in 2003.’ “