Tag Archives: MLS

100 Ideas to Improve Saskatoon: 6. Do something with Cairns Field

I love Cairns Field.  It seats 5000 people which is small enough to feel cozy yet large enough to feel like an event.  The best part of it is that if you are there, you are watching some pretty good baseball being played by the Saskatoon Yellow Jackets on a warm Saskatoon summer night.

Cairns Field

The bad part about Cairns Field is it’s location.  It’s tucked away between Holiday Park and the South Industrial section.  It’s hard to get to and even hard to find.  I have had more than one person that was going to meet us at the game text and ask, “now where exactly is this Cairns Field”.

Cairns Field represents Saskatoon’s best chance at professional sports.  Professional basketball in Canada is the Toronto Raptors, we aren’t big enough for MLS or even NASL soccer, the CFL won’t put an additional team in Saskatchewan, and those that think that the NHL is coming are delusional (I’ve heard the arguments and they aren’t based in reality).  Minor league baseball (and maybe an AHL team) is the one team that can thrive in Saskatoon but it’s going to be hard if it is stuck back in it’s current location.

So where do you put it?  Well baseball needs to be close to downtown and close to amenities.  That is going to be a challenge anywhere in Saskatoon unless we can put it in the North Downtown redevelopment where the city yards are currently located.  

I am not saying it is ever going to happen but it would be an amazing place to walk down to and have dinner and then watch a game followed by a couple of drinks at a nearby pub.  They have done it in Winnipeg and for 50 nights each summer (plus playoffs) up to 7481 people come downtown to enjoy The Forks and watch a game (and spend money while down there).

A cozy stadium of 5,000 seats in the heart of Saskatoon with affordable ticket prices?  I can see that working.  Especially if we can find a way to up the quality of ball being played to A or AA baseball.

If that fails, maybe the city can build a decent website for the field that makes it clearer that it exists and how to get there.  That would be a good first step.

Can LeBron James Save the Soccer in the United States?

An interesting article from ESPN on how it isn’t a lack of athletic ability that holds America back at the World Cup

To believe the best-athlete myth is to fundamentally misunderstand American soccer’s plight. Athletic ability is not the problem. In fact, it’s generally considered a Team USA strength, along with competitive spirit. We can run and jump with the world’s best. Compared to their superstar Argentine and Spanish peers, however, our best players lack vision, creativity and technical skill. On-ball magic. Soccer-specific attributes that don’t transfer from one sport to the next, that can’t be measured with the stopwatches and shuttle cones of a scouting combine. Does being able to hit a major league curveball automatically make you a PGA Tour prospect? The things American soccer needs to improve on come from immersion and exposure, from how you grow up in the sport.

And in that regard, our best isn’t good enough. Not even close.

Messi As a teenager, Messi attended the training academy of top professional club Barcelona, living and breathing the game’s highest level; by age 19, he was playing in his first World Cup. In the world of international soccer, his story is the norm. It’s also the norm in the United States — provided you play football, basketball or baseball, where the minors and/or de facto minor league college sports prepare you to be a pro in sink-or-swim, survival-of-the-fittest fashion.

Play soccer, by contrast, and you’ll likely spend your formative years in college — well below MLS, a Marianas Trench removed from the big-money, high-pressure hothouse of European club competition. By the time America’s top talents reach the international level, they’re stuck playing catch-up. Though a shift to continental-style player development is taking place — witness U.S. midfielder Michael Bradley, who trained at the IMG soccer academy in Florida, went to MLS at age 17 and is now playing in Germany — overnight dividends aren’t a sure thing. How else to explain Freddy Adu?