Majors turn down Rippers challenge to a winner-take-the-ballpark series
London Community News
By Jonathon Brodie/London Community News / Twitter: @jonathonbrodie
The London Rippers have called out the London Majors to step up to the plate, challenging the Intercounty Baseball League team to a three-game series with the liquor licence and Labatt Park put on the line. The loser would have to find a new ballpark to play in.
“We want to put our money where our mouth is,” said Rippers’ owner David Martin in an open challenge released on the team’s website.
The Rippers haven’t been able to sell any booze since their second home game of their inaugural season. The problem, said Martin, is only one liquor licence is permitted at the Labatt Park address, which the Majors own.
The challenge, issued Monday (June 25), already looks to have struck out swinging.
“If there was nothing at stake, then that’s probably an option, but for me the big thing is that it’s not even something that should be contemplated by two teams like that,” said Majors’ co-owner Scott Dart, adding his team has been selling alcohol for the last four years. “We take our business seriously, maybe they don’t take there’s and they can be transient like that, but we’ve been around this community since 1925. We’re not going anywhere and we’re not going to be beat out by a baseball game to decide our future.”
Even if the Majors’ accepted the challenge, Scott points out, picking the days to play would be a problem. With the Rippers’ on the road at least three days a week, the Majors’ season finishing in less than a month with 16 games still and the Labatt Park schedule constantly booked, a series could be tough to fit in.
On top of it, Dart said he wasn’t sure if acquiring a liquor licence is as easy as putting points on the board.
“Even if we gave up the liquor licence you’d still have to go through the process of doing some sort of a transfer or a new liquor licence or it would have to go before the community still,” Dart said, adding the application process took a year before the Majors started selling alcohol at their games. “It’s not cut and dry like that.”
The quickest way for Martin at this point, almost midway through the Frontier League season, may be to sit down with the Majors’ owners and try to work a deal out, although Martin contends his newfound foes have been uncooperative.
“There’s no liquor licence available at this address, except for the Majors and they’ve hijacked it,” Martin said a few days before issuing the challenge. “They’re holding it over our heads, holding it over the city’s heads, the taxpayers heads, this is a total injustice and absolutely absurd business.”
The opportunity to talk is still available, said Dart, but with Martin poking jabs at the Majors in his latest challenge—comparing owners Dart and Roop Chanderdat to George Steinbrenner and Billy Martin and pointing out the team calla themselves a minor league club and a semi-pro squad on their Wikipedia page—the final innings could be closing in on the Rippers beer sales.
“I think there’s still an opportunity to talk, but I don’t think it’s going to be easily resolved,” he said. “It’s becoming very, very personal and I don’t know what the reason is. I’m pretty sure if I was doing something in a similar fashion as him, he would have his back up and be firing on all cylinders at us.”