Tuesday, January 6, 2015

HarbourCats release 2015 schedule

"Play Ball!"
The Victoria HarbourCats will definitely be playing baseball in 2015. In spite of repeated pronouncements to that effect from GM Jim Swanson and WCL President Dennis Coho, the significant delay in the release of the 2015 schedule was still a source of concern given the team’s recent ownership issues. Now that the schedule has been made public, the marketing staff of each WCL club can do their work free from any impediments and HarbourCats fans can look forward to summer baseball at Royal Athletic Park without any worries.

Local baseball fans will actually have more opportunities to see the ‘Cats in action this season than ever before. After not playing a single exhibition game in their inaugural campaign, the HarbourCats played one pre-season game and two mid-season exhibition contests in 2014, but this year could see the club play a total of six exhibition games on top of their 54-game regular season. The HarbourCats have tentatively scheduled three pre-season home dates (May 31st and June 2nd-3rd) leading up to the season opener, which is set for Friday June 5th at Royal Athletic Park against the Kelowna Falcons. The trio of “spring training” games will give the new coaching staff a bit more time to evaluate their players, especially those signed to 10-day contracts.

The HarbourCats have a four-day break in their league schedule from June 29th until July 2nd, so the team has planned exhibition games for June 30th and Canada Day. This will be a great way to keep the team sharp and focused on baseball activities during the interlude. The June 30th exhibition game will likely be a Fireworks Night, a promotion that is always popular with the fans. It will be interesting to see what kind of turnout there is for those two games, considering that the two exhibition games at RAP only drew an average of 904 fans per game last season (the third non-league game was held in Duncan). Given the fireworks promotion and the Canada Day matinĂ©e, I’d expect those numbers to rise significantly.

The sixth and final exhibition game is pencilled in for July 19th, an unconventional time considering that the two-day All-Star break is July 19-20. This will be a great opportunity for the less frequently used players to get some much-needed playing time and once again keep the team focused on the job at hand -- getting into the WCL playoffs for the first time in franchise history.

The regular season begins in only 150 days
The HarbourCats have smartly moved up the start time of night games at Royal Athletic Park from 7:11 to 6:35 p.m. Not only will this allow more youngsters (and old-timers) to stick around until the last out of the ballgame, but it gives fans another 36 minutes to bask in the sunshine. Veteran Victoria baseball fans are all too aware of how quickly the temperature plummets when the sun goes down, so the change should help keep fans more comfortable, especially in June (or should I say “June-uary”?).

Thursday June 11th will feature the first weekday afternoon game in team history, with the HarbourCats taking on the Kitsap BlueJackets in a 1:05 p.m. start. I'm sure that a few people will be calling in sick that day, but we at the blog would never officially endorse such behaviour (cough, cough).

The regular season ends on August 9th with the HarbourCats wrapping up a three-game set on the road against the defending champion Bellingham Bells. The playoffs, which will once again feature the three division winners and a wild-card team, begin on Tuesday August 11th.

  • The first six games of the season are against two of the (normally) weaker teams in the league, Kelowna and Kitsap, so it is vital for the HarbourCats to get out of the gate quickly. 
  • Single-game tickets for the opening series against Kelowna will go on sale on Monday January 12th.
  • Single-game ticket prices have been increased by a modest $0.50. Premium Seats are now $15 and General Admission seats are $10. A new $2 surcharge applies to Fireworks Night tickets. For more information, go to the tickets page on the official HarbourCats website.  
  • A Fireworks Night is planned for Saturday June 6th in addition to June 30th. Other such date(s) could be added in the future.
  • The Yakima Valley Pippins will make their first-ever visit to Victoria in early August.
  • 14 of Victoria’s 27 regular-season home games are on the weekend (13 of 27 were weekend dates in 2014).
  • The breakdown of regular-season home dates by day is: Five Fridays, five Saturdays, four Sundays, two Mondays, four Tuesdays, four Wednesdays and three Thursdays.
  • The complete schedule can be found on the official HarbourCats website.  The home schedule (including exhibition games) is as follows:
Sunday May 31st vs. TBA (exhibition game)
Tuesday June 2nd to Wednesday June 3rd vs. TBA (exhibition games)
Friday June 5th to Sunday June 7th vs. Kelowna Falcons
Tuesday June 9th to Thursday June 11th vs. Kitsap BlueJackets
Friday June 19th to Sunday June 21st (Father’s Day) vs. Cowlitz Black Bears
Friday June 26th to Sunday June 28th vs. Wenatchee AppleSox
Tuesday June 30th to Wednesday July 1st (Canada Day) vs. TBA (exhibition games)
Monday July 6th to Wednesday July 8th vs. Kitsap BlueJackets
Thursday July 16th to Saturday July 18th vs. Bellingham Bells
Sunday July 19th vs. TBA (exhibition game)
Friday July 24th to Sunday July 26th vs. Walla Walla Sweets
Tuesday July 28th to Thursday July 30th vs. Cowlitz Black Bears
Monday August 3rd (BC Day) to Wednesday August 5th vs. Yakima Valley Pippins


  1. I have never heard of a team charging a surcharge on Fireworks nights. At $15.00 for premium seats and $10.00 for General Admission, I believe the HarbourCats have the highest prices in the WCL. In Kelowna you can buy punch cards that allow you to watch 10 games for $60.00. A 10 game pack for the HarbourCats costs $92.00. In Bellingham a Grandstand seat cost $8.00 and a General Admission ticket costs $6.00. Since the HarbourCats are already charging steep prices, I believe a fireworks surcharge is unnecessary.

  2. Thanks for your comment and analysis, Annie. I believe the regular prices that the HarbourCats charge for single-game tickets ($10 for GA and $15 for Premium) still provide good value to local baseball fans. It's definitely at the high end of the WCL scale, but teams charge whatever the market will bear. Last season, fans could also buy GA tickets at 7-11 for $7.11, so hopefully that promotion returns. Yes, it's cheaper to watch a Falcons game in Kelowna -- but then again you have to watch the Kelowna Falcons.

    I also raised an eyebrow at the extra $2 charged on Fireworks Nights. It seems a bit much to me. On the other hand, many MLB teams do charge different amounts for single-game tickets depending on the expected popularity of the game, so the practice is not unprecedented. But then again, the WCL is not exactly the same as MLB either.

    1. First time I've heard of the fans sponsoring a promotional night. If I were a local business person why would I want to have my name on something as a sponsor where the beneficiaries of the event already feel like they paid for it?

  3. This morning the HarbourCats released details regarding their Sunday July 19th exhibition game. The 'Cats will be taking on current and former Nanaimo Pirates at Serauxman Stadium in Nanaimo in a 1 p.m. start. Additional details on the game can be found on the HarbourCats' official website. To purchase tickets for this game, contact Jodi Rogers at (250) 756-7899 or pirates.harbourcats@shaw.ca.