Roadrunner-less PBL an interesting landscape

Posted March 1, 2010

Roadrunner-less PBL an interesting landscape

Camrose has arguably the nicest field, a large population and a long tradition of baseball, especially in the Powerline Baseball League, but for some reason, well we know some of the reasons, it’s never had a solid men’s foundation to continue franchises at a steady pace.

Today we sit and wait to see if the Roadrunners take yet another year off, possibly their third time in eight years. We’ve seen them leave, then come back in different forms, always with solid teams that compete hard and make the playoffs, but generally never finding the form to become a champion – 2007 being the exception.

I take you back to a time in the late 90s and early 2000s when a team of roughnecks and “bad seeds,” many from Edmonton, rounded out a squad that lacked any consistency. One second they’d be world-beaters, the next just dead-beats. First place finishes and then last place flops dotted the horizon until 2002 when finally a few of them called it quits.

Guys like Curt Stensrud, Was Harrison, Wes Wilson, Curtis Smith and a few others headed to Armena when things looked bleak. It started a three-peat in the hamlet – but led to new stories in Camrose men’s baseball.

A bevy of young players filled the void a year later, and before you knew it, a new young, hip, version of the Roadrunners came a knockin’. Then, a few baseball playing cops came to town, gathered up some more young players graduating from midgets in the area, from Armena to Round Hill, and started up the Camrose Colts. Suddenly the PBL had a cross-town rivalry in Camrose, plus Armena. It almost had the makings for a two-division PBL.

But, like all men’s teams, leaders left, the cops moved on to families and other hobbies, and before you knew it, the Roadrunners were yet again, disbanded, in favour of one powerful Camrose Colts team that won the league fairly easily in 2005.

We kind of all know the story from there – Camrose Cubs began for a year (Sunburst League, 2006), the Axemen then bolted from Armena to Camrose (NCABL, 2008 and 2009).

So what does this all mean, you ask?

Well – firstly, Camrose remains a Toronto Argonaut-like albatross around the PBL’s neck. We want to keep it (Nice field with lights, large population with a weekly newspaper and history with the league) but it remains a thorn in the side (Scheduling, umps, field availability, stable teams and costs).

Often the town is split between hardcore ball-hounds and beer-drinking slo-pitch-like hacks. Both of which are welcomed in the PBL. But it’s created a hodgepodge each year of players and teams that come and go.

At the beginning of 2010, it could mark the first year since 2002 we don’t see a Camrose team suit up in the PBL, which at first glance might be a huge disappointment. However, it would be interesting to see what another year with no Camrose team would look like.

But I leave you with this; both years the Roadrunners suspended operations (2002 and 2005), we’ve seen the prior year’s champs knocked off in the finale by the team that picked up the leftover Roadrunners. Ponder that for a second and we’ll see if fate repeats itself, or if the Roadrunners can be saved.

Posted on March 1, 2010 by Jason Buzzell

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