VICTORIA, B.C. — Considering there has not been playoff baseball at this level in Victoria since 1952, the excitement is taking over the community — in a week, playoffs will be here.
To answer the spectator demand for entry into this historic sporting event, with the HarbourCats due to play a home playoff game on August 10 (and August 11, if needed, in the best-of-three format), the team and the City of Victoria have hatched a plan to bring additional viewing areas into play for the West Coast League series.
Presented by Wilson’s Transportation, the HarbourCats will open the series on August 9 in the park of their opponent (to be determined — Bellingham, Kelowna or Walla Walla), then return home for Games 2 and (if necessary) 3.
And when they return home, an alcohol-free FAMILY ZONE will be in play behind the right field fence, with picnic tables, standing room, portable tiered seating, and food service with the Hungry Rooster food truck. Also in place, thanks to the Braefoot Community Association and Sportball, will be bouncy castles for kids.
“This is a next-level baseball opportunity and we don’t want anyone to miss the chance to take this in,” said Jim Swanson, Managing Partner of the HarbourCats. “Our events are about having a great time, about families, and about atmosphere. There is nothing like playoff baseball to fire up our fans, so to make sure we can fit in another 400 people, approximately, we’re glad to be working so well with the City to have this happen.”
In addition to the right-field addition, some of the main-level picnic areas will be shaved back and tiered bleachers will be brought in. The very popular Viatec Party Deck will remain in place, and the ‘soccer grandstand’ concession areas will be used heavily to reduce lineups and wait-time for food service.
“When we had our big crowd of 5,133 on June 30, it was a perfect preparatory tool for the playoffs — which is fitting, since we clinched a playoff game that night,” said Brad Norris-Jones, GM of the HarbourCats. “People are pumped. Pre-sales are strong, and we all know Victoria is a last-second town. There will be tickets available at game time, but we’re getting a lot of people on-line or in our office snapping up the best seats early, and that’s a good idea.”
HARBOURCAT ALUM INVOLVED IN DEADLINE DEAL
Nathan Lukes, a HarbourCats outfielder and the team’s co-Player of the Year in 2014, was traded by the Cleveland Indians to the Tampa Bay Rays at the MLB trade deadline on Monday along with a minor league pitcher, in exchange for major league outfielder Brandon Guyer.
Lukes hit .343 with two home runs and 24 RBIs for the HarbourCats as a sophomore from Sacramento State in 2014, and in 2016 was hitting .299 with five home runs and 33 RBIs with 15 stolen bases across two levels for the Indians, recently earning a promotion to Advanced-A Lynchburg.
TATE TRADED TO YANKEES
Right-handed pitcher Dillon Tate, a first-round pick of Texas in 2015 and former HarbourCats signee, was traded from the Rangers to the New York Yankees on Monday in exchange for veteran major league outfielder Carlos Beltran.
Tate signed with the HarbourCats as a freshman at UC Santa Barbara prior to the 2013 summer season, but was shut down due to high innings just before the summer.