Persistent Ottawa Closer To Its EL Prize




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This week, in "As Ottawa Turns . . . "

The stability of Double-A franchises is clear, as every Double-A team renewed its existing player-development contract. Not only are the affiliations stable, but so too are the franchises in the leagues. The Eastern League last got a new member in 2009, when Richmond joined the league. The Southern League added Pensacola this season, but before that it hadn't moved a franchise since Mississippi in 2005. The Texas League hasn't had a change since Northwest Arkansas joined the league in 2008.

Yet the city of Ottawa has done a cannonball into this sea of stability, asserting more than a year ago that it had a plan to get back into the affiliated minor leagues. The city has a brokerage firm working on its behalf, Boston-based Beacon Sports Capital Partners, and it has a ballpark. Beyond that, though, Ottawa's grand plan has been short on specifics, at least publicly. So all anyone in the baseball industry can do is speculate, and that throws any city that's speculated about into a tizzy.

The talk about Ottawa died down for awhile, when it became clear the city would not be able to get a franchise for 2013, but in September the city announced that it had a deal in principle to bring an Eastern League franchise to town for the 2014 season.

And this time, EL president Joe McEacharn confirmed to the Ottawa Sun that such a deal was in place. He said the league had not decided which franchise would move, which seems disingenuous at best.

The deal will require the renovation of Ottawa Stadium, which opened in 1993 as the home of the International League's Ottawa Lynx. The Lynx moved in 2007, becoming the Lehigh Valley IronPigs. Officials say the renovation will cost about $10 million, with the cost split between the city and team as part of a lease agreement.

The Ottawa city council is scheduled to review and vote on the lease and renovation plan in early October, and perhaps by then we'll get an idea of who they mystery date is.

Spartan Reality Stars

The University of Tampa has long been one of the top programs in NCAA Division II, but now the school may become known for its reality television success.

The Spartans have won five national championships, most recently back to back in 2006-07, and now have two winners from ABC's "Bachelor" television franchise.

Nick Peterson, a righthander who also pitched two seasons in the Yankees system, won $250,000 in the latest season of "Bachelor Pad."

Peterson attended Jesuit High in Tampa, then Appalachian State for two years before transferring to Tampa, where he pitched in 2005-06. A member of the 2006 championship team, he had a career record of 5-2, 2.88.

He was a 12th-round pick of the Yankees in 2006 and pitched for short-season Staten Island, going 5-3, 1.93. He reached low Class A Charleston in 2007, but compiled an 8.78 ERA in 13 innings of relief. He struggled with his control as a pro, with 54 walks against 88 strikeouts in 59 innings. The Yankees released him in 2008 and he spent two years in independent leagues before his career ended.

"Bachelor Pad" features former contestants from fellow ABC shows "The Bachelor" and "The Bachelorette" who live in a house together and engage in drunken debauchery while competing in contests to winnow their ranks. At the end of the show the contestants compete as couples, and when there's one couple left standing, those two contestants secretly choose whether to keep or share the prize money.

It's based on the so-called "prisoner's dilemma" that weighs cooperation against betrayal. In the case of the show, if both contestants choose to share the money, they each get $125,000. If one contestant chooses to keep it all and the other chooses to share, the keeper gets all of the money. If both contestants choose to keep the money, they get nothing and the $250,000 is divided equally among the other contestants.

In the previous two seasons of the show, both couples had elected to share the money. In the third season, however, Peterson and his partner, Rachel Trueheart, were paired together for just the final three episodes of the show when their previous partners were eliminated, so Peterson had no problem taking the money for himself after Truehart chose to share.

Peterson follows in the footsteps of Roberto Martinez, who played for the Spartans in 2002-03 before going on the show in 2010 and winning, getting engaged to Bachlorette Ali Fedotowsky. (As in almost all of the show's pairings, the couple later broke up.)

"We want to send more guys to the major leagues than to reality TV," a university spokesman said.