Loading articles...

Giants say baseball is growing on Fort McMurray

PHOTO. The Fort McMurray Giants finished the 2019 season with a franchise-best 28 wins. Owner and president Dutche Iannetti looks forward to the team playing championship-calibre baseball in 2020. Supplied by the Fort McMurray Giants/Dan Lines Photography.

Another season is in the books for the Fort McMurray Giants, who eagerly look forward to next season.

Fans of the team came in droves to cheer on the Giants as 15,409 entered Legacy Dodge Field at Shell Place.

Those are the highest attendance figures for the regular season since their inaugural campaign in 2016 (17,732).

Owner and President, Dutche Iannetti, said this summer’s poor weather certainly played a factor.

“We had a lot of rain this summer. 90 per cent of our games at home, weather dictated the audience and it will always do that. It’s easy when you’re [livestreaming] to sit at home and watch it in your living room, which is a nice thing that the Giants offer.”

The Fort McMurray Giants broadcast their home games on their Youtube channel.

Looking ahead

The 2019 Giants campaign was their best to date.

The team collected a franchise-best 28 wins to finish with a .500 winning percentage.

Unfortunately, they missed the playoffs by one game in the tough Western Division.

However, Iannetti said a season full of ups and downs gave the team a taste for winning, playoff-type baseball.

“I don’t think anybody hits .500 as being a championship [team]. Everybody wants to make the playoffs, so a celebration in one way, and a disappointment in another way.”

He said the team looks to improve its pitching depth.

The Fort McMurray Giants lost a good chunk of their games as the bullpen failed to hold leads in the late innings.

As the team prepares for their fifth season, he credited a change in the culture and community support with team building.

“[When] returning players are recruiting for you at their schools, being able to come to a community that treats and supports the players very well, and playing in the best field within western Canada, or maybe all of Canada, it’s big.”

Iannetti added players from other teams raved about the amenities and facilities available in the region.

Looking forward to 2020, Iannetti said there were initial discussions among the management about commemorating the 5th season of Giants baseball.

“We’ll work on that over the winter, and I’m sure we will come up with some celebrations, recognizing players that [have] been with us since 2016 up until this point.”