- English Name: Ottawa Rapidz
- French Name: Rapidz d’Ottawa
- Location: Ottawa, ON
- League: Can-Am Association (2008)
- Affiliation: independent
- Ballpark: Ottawa Stadium
The Ottawa Rapidz were formed in 2008 to take advantage of organized baseball having abandoned the city of Ottawa, ON with the departure of the Ottawa Lynx to Allentown, PA following the 2007 International League season. The team was originally owned by veteran minor-league operator Miles Wolff, who owned the Capitales de Québec, also in the Canadian-American Association. The team played its games in Ottawa Stadium, which was built when the Lynx were formed in 1993.
The Rapidz are also known as the Rapidz d’Ottawa in French, reflecting the Ottawa area’s bilingual population. The team was originally called the more orthographically correct Rapids ("les Rapides" in French) but changed its name a few weeks before playing its first game, when they were sold to local businessmen Rob Hall and Rick Anderson. The new name made little sense in French however, as the French name should be pronounced "Rapid'", the extra "z" being completely incongruous. The team hired veteran minor league manager Ed Nottle as its first skipper and signed two veteran Canadian minor-leaguers, Mike Kusiewicz and Jeremy Ware, as its first players. The team’s inaugural game was played on May 23, 2008.
The Rapidz had a difficult first season in Ottawa, going a woeful 13-34 over the first half before improving somewhat and ending the year at 31-63, the worst record in the league. On July 31st, Nottle was fired and replaced by coach Tom Carcione; Nottle had been given a leave of absence to visit his wife, who was ailing from cancer, then was dismissed upon returning to Ottawa. The weather was dreadful that summer, but the Rapidz still managed to draw over 100,000 spectators, the 5th highest total in the league.
After the season, it was announced that the owners had suffered losses totaling $1.4 million in the inaugural season, and Anderson bailed out of the partnership. On September 30th, newspapers reported that the team had filed for bankruptcy. The team claimed the city was going to increase the rent on Ottawa Stadium from $108,000 to $1,000,000 per year starting in 2010. The city claimed they were willing to offer a 5-year lease extension at close to the $108,000 rent that was part of the agreement for 2009. Miles Wolff indicated that he was still interested in having a team in Ottawa in 2009 (and beyond), and made plans to field a league-owned team called the Ottawa Voyageurs; however, that plan collapsed when another Can-Am Association franchise, the Atlantic City Surf, ran into problems. When the Surf's owners failed to find new buyers for their franchise, they turned it over to the league on March 30, 2009; being unable to run two teams with only six teams providing funds, Wolff announced that plans to resume play in Ottawa were suspended indefinitely and that the league would field only six teams in 2009.
Interestingly, the Rapidz's stadium would be made available again for baseball in 2010, when the City of Ottawa put out a tender asking for any interested pro or semi-pro teams to submit a bid on a one-year lease for the magical $108,000 amount that the Rapidz had been paying. The only group to submit a proposal by the deadline was one planning to bring the Intercounty Baseball League to town. The Ottawa Fat Cats have been using the top-notch facility from 2009 to 2014, when a new professional team, the Ottawa Champions, began play.
|2008||31-63||8th||Ed Nottle (20-43) / Tom Carcione (11-20)|