For the baseball fans out there . . .
By GREGG DRINNAN
Daily News Sports EditorThe Seattle Studs won the 40th anniversary edition of the Kamloops International Baseball Tournament (KIBT) in July.
There won’t be a 41st edition, at least not this summer.
“I’m incredibly disappointed,” offered Studs manager Barry Aden. “I’ve been going there since 1980. It’s been a middle-of-July activity for me since I was 19 years old. It’s very disappointing.”
The board of the Kamloops International Baseball Tournament Society revealed Monday that KIBT has been cancelled, at least for 2013.
“This is something we tabled over a month ago,” KIBT president Dean Padar said, pointing out that chairman Linda Coutts had “put on a really good push in April to see if we could scare up a couple more teams and we didn’t have any takers, so. . . .
“We made the decision late last week and it never really sunk in, but now . . .”
KIBT had six teams, including the Kamloops Sundevils, committed to the 2013 tournament, which would have been held July 11-14. But the committee decided that wasn’t enough.
“There’s no nice way to put it . . . we’ve been kind of limping this along for a few years now,” Padar said. “A couple of times, we’ve run with fewer teams. We just decided if we don’t get eight, we don’t do it.
“We gave it a lot of thought because we’ve gone with six in the past . . . we’ve gone with five in the past. We just felt we weren’t doing the tournament justice by running it like that.”
Asked what is making it so difficult to get teams to come to KIBT, Padar replied: “We hear the same thing over and over again. Nobody seems to have the money anymore. It’s an expensive weekend for a team to come up here.”
Aden, whose Studs pocketed $9,000 with last year’s title, wasn’t about to disagree.
“It costs us right around $7,000 to come up there for the four days . . . motels, meal money, entry fee, gas money,” Aden said. “If you don’t win the championship, which we’ve been fortunate enough to do six of the last seven years, we only net $2,000. If we were ever to take second or third, then we’d be in a deficit situation.”
Still, Aden was hoping to have to spend the money to come here.
“I just really like Kamloops, always have,” he said. “It’s a great place for baseball. NorBrock is a great stadium to play in. The rivalries are temendous. The fan support and the beer garden . . . the whole setup is a big landmark part of every summer.”
The Studs have won three straight KIBT titles and six of the last seven.
Now, Aden is scrambling to organize a three-site, mini-tournament for the Studs, Northwest Honkers, Everett Merchants and Thurston County Senators, all of whom were entered in KIBT but now have an open weekend on their schedules.
The KIBT announcement was the second hit to the summer baseball schedule. In March, the Grand Forks International Baseball Society announced that its 2013 tournament, a 12-team affair, had been cancelled. Organizers cited the withdrawal of two teams and the retirement of some key volunteers.
“Grand Forks and Kamloops in the same year . . . it’s really disappointing,” Aden said. “It’s a blow to Pacific Northwest baseball. All of us down here in Washington, those are two of our destinations . . . every single summer.”
As for 2014, Padar isn’t offering any guarantees.
“Your guess is as good as mine,” he said. “I don’t know if we’ll look at the possibility of toying with the entry fee or something like that.”
It has cost each team $1,000 to enter KIBT.
“If we could come up with some sort of sponsorship that would cover that money, it’s something we could look at waiving,” Padar said, adding that were the committee able to recruit a title sponsor, “That would be great.”
Aden said he puts the Studs’ schedule together “in the fall . . . it’s done by November/December.”
“I need to have an idea in the fall,” he stated, “otherwise I’m going to schedule more games in California or invite someone to come in and play me.
“I think they have to decide by American Thanksgiving.”
The KIBT committee may be able to shed light on next summer’s plans when it holds its annual meeting on Sept. 30 in the Willow Room of the North Shore Community Centre at 730 Cottonwood Ave. The meeting is to start at 7 p.m., and all interested parties are invited to attend.
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