NIAGARA FALLS, Ontario — The Toronto Blue Jays are negotiating to purchase Niagara Falls (N.Y.) White Sox of the Class A New York-Penn League, with plans to move the baseball franchise to a Canadian city next season, the American League East team has confirmed.
The Blue Jays said they have an option to purchase the minor league team from owner George Wenz by Nov. 1.
Gord Ash, the Blue Jays' administrator of player personnel, said an official statement might come later in the week, but the team would not make an announcement on any franchise shift until Nov. 1.
The major league team, though, is reported to be considering moving the team here or nearby St. Catharines or Hamilton.
Jack Collinson, Niagara Falls city adminstrator, said Blue Jay representatives have been in the city to inspect the facilities at Oakes Park.
Niagara Falls currently has a franchise in the provincial semi-pro Inter-County Baseball League. The Mariners finished third in the regular standings in its first season and have advanced to the semifinals against St. Tomas Elgins.
The Mariners have drawn more than 1,000 fans to most of their playoff games, with a recent high of 2,000.
"I think it would be hard to have both teams here due to park dates," said Mariners president Bob Lavelle. "We had only a one-year lease on the park with the city.
"I think this city has the best facility of St. Catharines and Hamilton, but more money would have to be spent on a visitor's change room, and fix up the dugouts."
The White Sox were third this season in the West Division of the New York-Penn League, with a 32-36 record after weekend action.