Sunday, December 9, 2012

Top 5 HarbourCats home dates to circle on your calendar

The return of elite baseball to Royal Athletic Park seems a lot closer to reality now that the HarbourCats regular-season schedule has been released.

Overall, the schedule for the Victoria squad looks quite good. Local fans will get to see a wide variety of teams and there are plenty of weekend games. The 27-game home schedule sees every team in the league other than the Kitsap BlueJackets and the Cowlitz Black Bears pay a visit to RAP, and 15 out of 27 home games are on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday. Fans of the defunct Victoria Seals will remember a seemingly endless number of home games against the Calgary Vipers and Edmonton Capitals, but the West Coast League can almost play a balanced schedule thanks to the close proximity of its teams. My only quibble with the schedule -- and it's a minor one -- is that the HarbourCats aren't playing at home on either Canada Day or BC Day.

There are less than six months to opening day, so it's time to start planning your trips to the ballpark. With that in mind, we present our Top 5 Home Dates to Circle on the HarbourCats Schedule:
  1. Wednesday June 5th vs Kelowna Falcons
    This one is a no-brainer. The HarbourCats play their inaugural game on June 5th and you won't want to miss it. Come on out and celebrate baseball's return to Royal Athletic Park and witness the West Coast League's first-ever "Battle of British Columbia".
  2. Tuesday July 23 - West Coast League All Star Game
    This is a great chance to see the top prospects in the WCL in action. A few years from now, you'll likely see a number of players from this game playing in the big leagues. Then you can turn to your buddy and say "I remember seeing him play at Royal Athletic when he was in college..."
  3. Friday July 19 vs Wenatchee AppleSox
    The AppleSox are the New York Yankees of the West Coast League. The defending WCL champions make their first visit to Victoria on July 19th and they will likely be near the top of the standings once again. Wenatchee has won five championships in the league's eight-year history and have only failed to appear in the Championship Series on two occasions. Have I mentioned how much I hate the New York Yankees?
  4. Sunday August 11 vs Bellingham Bells
    This is the last regular-season home game of the year and possibly the last HarbourCats game of 2013. Unless of course Dennis Rogers works some magic and takes an expansion team to the playoffs...
  5. Friday June 21 vs Bend Elks
    What better way to celebrate the Summer Solstice than by coming out to RAP and watching the HarbourCats and Elks square off? With the sun setting at 9:19 that night, there's even a chance that the last out could be made before sundown. If the HarbourCats decide to start night games at 6:30 instead of 7:00 then you're almost guaranteed to be leaving the park in sunshine.
If you're a hardcore fan, our top pick for making a road trip to watch the HarbourCats in 2013 is the June 28-30 weekend series against the Cowlitz Black Bears in Longview, Washington. Not only is it the Canada Day long weekend, but the drive to Longview is less than 3 1/2 hours once you get off the Coho Ferry in Port Angeles. Story Field, home of the Black Bears, looks like a very cute ballpark and I'd love to spend an evening sitting in the Party Deck or Home Plate Club. Who's in?!?

  • Six games is the length of both the longest homestand and the longest road trip for the HarbourCats.
  • With an odd number of teams in the league, the HarbourCats have consecutive off days on three separate occasions (excluding the two-day All Star break). The team does not currently have any scheduled games from June 8-10, June 24-27 or July 11-12. I wouldn't be surprised to see exhibition game(s) scheduled during the season to keep the players in game shape, especially during the four-day layoff in late June.
  • The divisional alignment for the 2013 season is as follows:
North Division
  • Bellingham Bells
  • Kelowna Falcons
  • Victoria HarbourCats
  • Wenatchee AppleSox
  • Walla Walla Sweets
South Division
  • Bend Elks
  • Corvallis Knights
  • Cowlitz Black Bears
  • Kitsap BlueJackets
  • Klamath Falls Gems
  • Medford Rogues


  1. Would have been nice to have had a July 1st Canada Day home game. The largest crowds and most revenue generated are on that day in other Collegiate Summer League's with teams based in Canadian cities. It makes for an excellent fan/party day and great cash for the organization.

  2. I agree -- The Seals drew Canada Day crowds of 3,521 fans in 2009 and 2,908 in 2010. I can't think of a better Canada Day than attending a baseball game in the afternoon, having a late-afternoon BBQ and then watching the fireworks at night.

    The only other Canadian team in the WCL, the Kelowna Falcons, also play on the road on Canada Day this year (then again, they were also on the road for Canada Day in 2011 and 2010!). Those are a lot of missed opportunities for potentially big box-office draws. Hopefully the HarbourCats will have a home game scheduled on Canada Day in 2014.