by Stephen Johnson
To me, nothing beats sitting outside on a warm evening and enjoying a baseball game. I was thrilled to learn that quality baseball would be returning to Ottawa with the start of the Ottawa Champions Baseball Club. The Champions play in the Can-Am League and have a number of former major-leaguers on their roster.
A recent warm Saturday evening seemed the perfect chance to head to the ball stadium and take in some baseball. It was a double-header since the game the previous day had been washed out by rain. The team was only charging for one game so you were essentially getting two games for the price of one.
The first thing our son, David, wanted was a hotdog and a pretzel. I noticed the beer selections were from local brewers which I thought was very cool. With food and drink for everyone, we were ready to go watch some baseball. One neat feature about going to a Champions game is that you can sit anywhere. It is not reserved seating and the stadium is large meaning you can move multiple times (great when you have an active six-year-old).
One change I liked was a new scoreboard with video display features. There is also a pedestrian bridge over the 417 highway allowing people to more conveniently reach the game by bus, bicycle or walking.
David enjoyed the baseball but was really interested when I told him he could keep a baseball if it was fouled into the stands. The first ball that was hit to our area, David was off like a rocket. An older child snagged the ball, but in a classy move, gave the ball to David. He was excited to get a baseball and saw a wonderful example of sharing.
The level of baseball was very good even though Ottawa did not win. There was a home run exhibition between games and the mascot kept the kids entertained. I tried out a batting cage and got two tickets to a future Champions game for my efforts.
The Champions are very community focused. Club president David Gourlay has been instrumental in getting a baseball field built that will allow special needs children, young adults and adults the chance to play baseball.
We did not leave the stadium before getting a few photos with David and the mascot. There is still plenty of time to catch a Champions baseball game. The team will be playing in to September. Tickets are only $12 dollars for adults and $5 for kids (5-14) making it an affordable family night out. For more information, visit www.ottawachampions.com.