This will be the last season for the Kitsap BlueJackets in the West Coast League.
The team that played at the Kitsap Fairgrounds will relocate to Port Angeles and become a member of the Pacific International Leauge (PIL).
Due to low attendance records and revenue problems, the team’s owner Matt Acker made the decision to move the team to a league he feels is better suited for its players and management.
While the level of competition will remain high, the teams won’t have such a grueling schedule.
“We have what a PIL roster looks like, junior college kids looking to transfer to D-I,” Acker said. “What we don’t have is a West Coast League roster, which is made up of players from the Pac 12, Big 10 and SEC.”
Acker said it’s hard to play teams who consistently have 2,500 fans in their stadium and then coming back to play for 200 fans at home.
“Players take notice of those things,” he said. “And we don’t have the facilities to do what they do.”
Acker said he believes the PIL is the perfect fit for a program like theirs, and Port Angeles has the perfect fan base.
Last season, Acker renovated the BlueJackets’ stadium and attempted to promote special nights and giveaways to draw crowds. However, that proved unsuccessful as the BlueJackets still ranked 11th in fan attendance.
“I can’t spend $20,000 to do a promotion that makes $20,000 or runs the risk of it raining or something happens and you’re just out,” Acker said.
Acker is working to find a way to keep a team in Kitsap County for its loyal fans.
“Our die-hard fans are some pretty special people,” he said. “They’re the reason I’m putting in so much effort into having something here. It’s an asset to have young players and youth coaches have access to those kinds of players.”
Earlier in the week, the Kitsap BlueJackets lost their West Coast League game Aug. 3 against the Victoria HarbourCats 4-1.