SAUGET, Ill. – And then there were 14.
Due to the uncertainty regarding the reopening of the United States-Canada border, the Frontier League announced that the Ottawa Titans and Trois-Rivieres Aigles will not field teams for the 2021 season, trimming the number of league franchises from 16 to 14.
To complete the 2021 schedule, a team from the Province of Quebec will be formed by the Aigles and Capitales and managed by Pat Scalabrini, manager of the Quebec Capitales.
“With the continued closure of the U.S/Canada border and the uncertainty of when it will reopen, the Ottawa Titans in conjunction with the Frontier League have agreed to make 2022 our inaugural season,” Titans vice president Regan Katz said in a news release. “This was not an easy decision, but we believe it is the right decision.
“We wish the Province of Quebec team good luck in 2021 and wish them the best in dealing with the challenges of being a road team. The Ottawa Titans will immediately shift focus to getting through this pandemic and preparing for the 2022 season.”
Otters adjust schedule
The Evansville Otters have provided updates on the 2021 season following the Frontier League’s announcement of an adjusted schedule.
The Otters will still start the season on the road May 27-28 for a two-game set against the Schaumburg Boomers. Evansville’s home-opening series will be earlier than expected, as the Otters will open their season at Bosse Field against the Province of Quebec club on May 29. After an off day on Sunday, May 30 due to the Evansville Food Truck Fest being held at Bosse Field, the Otters will host a Memorial Day evening doubleheader against the Province of Quebec team.
The entire weekend schedule for May 29-31 will also work around the IHSAA Class 4A sectional baseball tournament at Bosse Field. Evansville’s homestand will continue June 1-3 against the Lake Erie Crushers before traveling June 4-6 at the Schaumburg Boomers.
Frontier League regroups
After having to suspend the 2020 season, there was palpable excitement to play 2021 with the full contingent of 16 teams, including the Canadian capital of Ottawa, said deputy commissioner Steve Tahsler.
“Unfortunately, the continued and understandable impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic are causing us to change our plans,” Tahsler said. “Our three Canadian members have proven to be tremendous additions and great partners. We look forward to resuming a full league schedule in 2022.”
This team from the Province of Quebec will be composed of the Canadian players from the Titans, Aigles and Capitales’ current rosters along with the remaining players under contract to Quebec. Non-Canadian players on the Ottawa and Trois-Rivieres rosters will be subject to a dispersal draft among the 13 United States-based teams on Thursday.
The new team will spend the first half of the 2021 season on the road and visit each of the 13 other stadiums, beginning at Gateway on May 27. If the border opens, they will play what would have been their home games at Stade Canac in Quebec City and Stade Quillorama in Trois-Rivieres. Up to 27 home games are possible. If the border has not reopened by July 23, these games will be played at the opponent’s stadium.
“It is a situation completely out of our control,” said Trois-Rivières president Rene Martin. “We cannot wait to play in the Frontier League in 2022. One of our main goals was to present professional baseball in Trois-Rivieres and Quebec this summer and should the border reopen that option remains. There is no perfect solution, but the possibility of maybe presenting some professional baseball while preparing for 2022 is the best scenario for us.”
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