Edmonton Prospects Percy Liu slides safely into home plate behind Okotoks Dawgs’ catcher Markus Skundrich in Western Major Baseball League (WMBL) action last summer. Rick and Randy Peterson proposed the idea of bringing a WMBL team to town but the plans have been halted before the March 15 deadline.
A local brother tandem had hoped to bring a collegiate level baseball team to Grande Prairie but the plan has been shelved.Rick and Randy Peterson wanted to bring a Western Major Baseball League (WMBL) franchise to town.The WMBL is a 12-team league with franchises across Alberta and Saskatchewan. It’s a wooden bat summer league that caters to the collegiate level player. Currently, there are teams in Swift Current, Weyburn, Edmonton, Brooks and Fort McMurray.The brothers were planning to file an application with the WMBL.“Randy and I informed the WMBL last week that we’re not going to file an application for a franchise in [Grande Prairie] at this point,” Rick Peterson said in an email Feb. 21.The brothers had until the Mar. 15 deadline to submit an application, with the optimal start date coming for the 2020 baseball season.In order to grant a franchise, the WMBL wanted three conditions met. The brothers thought the first two, namely community support and an ownership group that was financially sound, were more than satisfied. The third was getting a permanent multi-purpose stadium built locally.“Without the key third point we’re not even going to put the application in,” Rick said earlier this month. “We want to launch conversations as wide as we can but if we fall short of coming up with a solution for the summer of 2020, we want to keep working on it and find something, if we can, so that in the summer of 2021 we’re ready to go and hit it full blast.”Rick estimated the club needed a 1,000 seat stadium — while hoping to get 800 to 1,000 people out per game — to help make the franchise viable.Going forward, the brothers were looking to construct a temporary stadium, while a new one was being built. One idea floated was the unused land around Grande Prairie Regional College (GPRC).To make a temporary facility, with a WMBL-quality field, drainage, lights and seating, Rick estimated it was going to cost up to $1-2 million which he said they don’t have for “a short term fix.”It appears the brothers have given up on the idea for the forseeable future.“There is no short-term solution to the issue of a lack of playing facility in the city that we can come up with,” Rick said. “Any decision on something longer-term would have to involve various levels of governments and corporate sector supporters, which is beyond the scope of what we’re able to pull together on our own.”