On Tuesday May 20, 2014 the Edmonton Prospects held a press conference to show off their highly touted acquisitions. No not baseball players but the new managerial team of Ray Brown as Head Coach and Orv Franchuk as Director of Baseball Development. “We’re teachers” is how Brown summed up their new collective roles. On Wednesday September 12th, 2019 class was dismissed.
The following is the Edmonton Prospects media release:
“The Edmonton Prospects of the Western Canadian Baseball League regretfully announce the resignation of coaches Ray Brown and Orv Franchuk effective immediately.
Ray Brown and Orv Franchuk have played instrumental roles in both the on-field and off-field success of the organization over the span of five years guiding the team to two Western Conference Championships and five playoff berths.
They will be missed by the organization, the fans but most importantly by the many players who have come to know and appreciate their commitment and dedication to excellence.
Good luck gentlemen in your future endeavours. “
- In year one (2014) of the Brown and Franchuk regime, the Prospects posted an 11 win increase from the previous season total of 6.
- In year two, the Prospects made the playoffs for the first time.
- In 2016 the Prospects again improved their regular season record to make the playoffs and quickly became the story of the playoffs as they made it the Championship Series.
- 2017 was the first time the Prospects finished the regular season at .500. Once again the team rallied in the playoffs to make it back to the Championship Series.
- Last season the Prospects once again finished the regular season at .500 but their quest for a third consecutive trip to the Finals was denied by the eventual Champions in the Division Finals.
The total regular season record under the tutelage of Brown and Franchuk was 107 wins – 127 losses. The team’s playoff record was 20 wins – 19 losses.
The question becomes why did Ray Brown and Orv Franchuk resign? The answer from Derek Van Diest’s article in the Edmonton Sun is as follows (all quotes used are from this article):
“While salary was one of the main issues the two sides were unable to come to terms with, it was not the only reason for the impasse.
“What it all boils down to, is we just had some unresolved issues that we were unable to agree on,” Franchuk said. “That’s the bottom line.””
I have seen many comments on social media about “how could the Prospects let Brown and Franchuk simply walk away?” In a cold calculating world a .457 regular season record during their tenure does not scream “give those men a pay raise”. It is understood the fight for Brown and Franchuk is not about money but about their character. Both are beloved by the city and nary a mean word against them can be found from their players past or present.
“Ray and Orv, I’ve known both of those gentlemen for probably 30 years and I consider them to be good friends and good people,” (Managing Partner Patrick) Cassidy said. “It’s unfortunate we couldn’t continue on a little bit longer, but I wish them the best and I have nothing but the utmost respect for them.”
The quote from Cassidy suggests this was an amicable move. Does it not matter what the “unresolved issues” are? Nope! As scary as change can be, it is can be for the best. Let’s be frank, Brown and Franchuk were not going to be here forever.
- Will they be missed? Yes.
- Will the new replacement(s) have to fight themselves out of their shadow? Yes
Both of the above statements are positive reinforcements of the job well done by Brown and Franchuk. They have set the bar high for the next man up. That is how it’s suppose to be.
“I think we’re going to make that decision (new staff) sooner rather than later,” Cassidy said. “The reason for that is that I know it is quite a way before the beginning of the season, but there is a lot of recruitment that has to happen. Players want to know who is going to be there coaching, so the sooner we can get that addressed and we can get those people in place, it’s better, but we don’t want to rush into a decision. We want to make sure we review it and analyze it and make a right choice.”
A new era will begin at RE/MAX Field in 2019 in more than one way. Not only will the team have a new coach, the team will also have 4 extra regular season home games as the league expands its regular season schedule from 48 to 56 games. The league has also rebranded itself as the Western Canadian Baseball League and is bringing back an All Star Game. Naturally, Edmonton will be hosting the big game.
Let’s go Prospects!