Border Cats bid farewell

The Thunder Bay Border Cats, with manager Eric Vazquez at far left, salute the fans at Port Arthur Stadium on Sunday after their final Northwoods League game of 2019.

The hitting wasn’t great (.231 batting average), the pitching spotty (5.46 ERA) and team fielding was in the bottom third of the Northwoods League. The run differential was minus-147. The Cats final record was 24-47.

But here’s the thing: there was a Thunder Bay Border Cats team in the NWL in 2019.

“This year we did get a late start with the ownership sale taking a little while,” said Border Cats vice-president Bryan Graham. “It was a complicated sale when you have 21 individuals trying to purchase an organization like this. We’re looking forward to next year. We really like some of the feedback we’ve received from the fans and the sponsors on some of the purchases we’ve made this year.

“Obviously, we have to get better on the field. The late start in recruiting, we knew that was going to hurt us a little bit. We’re pretty happy with the way (Border Cats manager Eric Vasquez) has run the ball club. We’re looking for bigger and better things in 2020.”

The Cats and manager Vasquez have both expressed mutual interest to return for another season.

“We’d love to have some continuity in that position,” said Graham.

The 2020 recruitment process has already started.

“We’ve already some meetings about recruiting some of the Canadian junior players who were here in 2017. We have a pretty good list there. A lot of those players are becoming sophomores and juniors at the collegiate level in the U.S. and at the (Division 1) level. That’s encouraging. We’ll be aggressive in that,” said Graham.

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