WCL expanding to Medford, Ore.; Yakima next?
Wednesday, June 27, 2012View full version
PORTLAND, Ore. — The addition of a West Coast League franchise in Medford, Ore., announced Wednesday by league president Ken Wilson, coupled with the Victoria, B.C. team coming on board earlier this month, means the league currently has 11 teams.
The odd number of franchises led to difficulties in scheduling this summer, with the nine squads currently in play.
The frustration might not last much longer.
Wenatchee AppleSox owner and general manager Jim Corcoran said Wednesday that the league, spurred by Tuesday’s announcement of the construction of a stadium in Hillsboro, Ore., for the Northwest League’s Yakima Bears, is looking hard at putting a team in Yakima.
“I know we’re having discussions with Yakima County, which owns the facility there, and there are ownership groups interested,” Corcoran said. “Something could happen really fast. Yakima wants a WCL team there, and they’d make a wonderful travel partner for us.”
Corcoran added that although the odd number of teams causes some headaches, it often can’t be avoided.
“Our league tends to be driven by situations where a good market and a good ownership group can trump trying to get a balanced schedule again,” he said. “Medford is a market that we’ve been interested in for a long time, and it’s a baseball-rich market.”
A WCL press release Wednesday said that the Medford franchise hopes to be operational for the beginning of the 2013 summer season, but the team has to secure a long-term lease with the city for the use of Harry & David Field, and complete fundraising to add more seats to the facility.