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Catching Up with Orv Franchuk

In 2011 the Edmonton Capitals won the North American Baseball League Championship in the league’s inaugural season. In 2012, due to the small number of teams who had signed on to return to the league(only 4 teams had registered for the 2012 season), the Capitals decided to withdraw from the North American League, leaving players and managers to search for a new team. Manager Orv Franchuk was one of those individuals.
Franchuk is a bit of a baseball nomad. From humble beginnings in Wandering River, Alberta, Orv made his way to Florida to attend the Dick Howser baseball school. He played minor pro ball in the Western Canadian League before getting a job as the Head Coach of the Pepperdine University baseball team while also receiving a full scholarship to attend. His first foray into the managerial world of professional baseball came in the late 80’s when he got a job within the California Angels system as their hitting coach for their Single-A affiliate in Idaho while still also teaching in Alberta during the off-season. In 1995 he made his way to Edmonton as hitting and catching coordinator for the Oakland Athletics Triple-A club, the Edmonton Trappers, a position he held for 8 years.
“It had to be a full time position so they kind of put the pressure on me to say “Hey, you got to do this full time or we’re going to have to get somebody else.” So I packed the education thing in and decided to do the baseball thing full time.”
In 2003 he became the minor league hitting coordinator for the Boston Red Sox and received a championship ring for his efforts from their 2004 World Series win. From there he moved on to be a hitting coordinator for Houston, Oakland again and then San Diego before getting a call in 2010 to come back to Edmonton and manage the Capitals.
“It just seemed like the right thing to do, making that full circle, going back to my roots, where everything kind of started for me, and kind of going back home again, so it really was a no brainer.”
Last year with the team on hiatus, but still under contract, Franchuk ran baseball camps and clinics but just couldn’t shake that desire to get back on the field.
“All that stuff was fun but it was tough not to be in the heat of the action, but now I’m involved in this, in the Southern League where it’s going to be hot and humid all summer, but at least it’s better than the cold, right?”
With numerous options available to him, Franchuk ultimately decided on a job within the Los Angeles Dodgers organization as their hitting coach for their Double-A affiliate, the Chattanooga Lookouts in Tennessee.
“The Dodgers seemed like the best fit, new regime, new ownership, there were people in player development that I knew, that I trusted and I’m happy that I’m here, I mean, big league camp was unbelievable.”
The opportunity to work with some of the top prospects within the Dodgers organization also helped sway Franchuk’s decision, with a few players in particular that have intrigued him.
“We’ve got a kid here named Yasiel Puig from Cuba, a big league prospect who is probably going to be in the big leagues very soon, and another kid by the name of Joc Pederson, so that’s why they were interested in me, they wanted a guy with some experience.”
With contracts only being handed out on a year to year basis in the minor leagues now, Franchuk’s future is not set in stone but knows a return to Edmonton is always a possibility.
“Always interested in coming back to Edmonton, I mean you always have to weigh the pros and cons, it has always kind of been like going back home, so I would always be interested.”
No matter what the future holds however, Orv knows what really counts, and he is making sure he is enjoying every minute of it.
“I have a passion for what I do, I love the game and I’ve been blessed to be able to do what I love for all these years.”
– Nick Berry

Caps Suspend Play For 2013

CapsSuspendPlay2013Edmonton, AB –  The Edmonton Capitals announced today they will not play baseball at Telus Field during the summer of 2013. The announcement comes after last year’s collapse of the North American League.

The Capitals remain committed to finding a new league to play in next summer and the team is working on a long-term lease, a requirement to join a new league.

“Our fans deserve the best product we can deliver but we must first secure a sustainable business model,” said the Vice President of the Capitals, Darryl Porter. “We thank our fans in Edmonton and beyond for their support and patience.”

The Capitals and the City of Edmonton are working with the Edmonton Prospects on an agreement to give fans opportunities to enjoy high-calibre baseball played at Telus Field this summer.

Rossdale Development Plans


The City of Edmonton’s new signature bridge will span the North Saskatchewan River and replace the existing Walterdale Bridge that was constructed in 1914. Detailed design is complete and the next phase,construction, will begin in early 2013.

Archive Photo/Andy Devlin-LA Media Photography (July 1, 2011)

The City of Edmonton’s new signature bridge will span the North Saskatchewan River and replace the existing Walterdale Bridge that was constructed in 1914. Detailed design is complete and the next phase,construction, will begin in early 2013.  READ MORE

Prospects To Play At TELUS Field

Edmonton, AB – Rexall Sports and Entertainment (RSE), the parent company of the Edmonton Capitals, is pleased to announce it has reached an agreement to have the Edmonton Prospects of the Western Major Baseball League play out of Telus Field this summer. The league features collegiate players from across Canada and the United States.  The WMBL is comprised of 11 teams from Alberta and Saskatchewan. Details on the Prospects schedule can be found at 

RSE continues to actively pursue opportunities for the Capitals in order to bring professional baseball back to Telus Field in 2013.

Capitals Suspend Play For 2012

Edmonton, AB – Rexall Sports and Entertainment (RSE) has informed the North American League (NAL) the Edmonton Capitals are suspending play for the 2012 season. With just four teams registered for the 2012 season in the Northern Division of the NAL, down from ten teams in 2009, it is no longer acceptable for the Capitals to continue operations under such circumstances. In addition to the Capitals, the other four squads are based in Yuma, Arizona, San Rafael (San Francisco), California, and Maui, Hawaii.

The Edmonton Capitals are the reigning NAL Champions, hosting over 125,000 customers last season at iconic Telus Field. We are dedicated to providing Edmontonians with the best baseball product available and RSE will explore all options to bring baseball back to Edmonton for the 2013 season. We thank our fans in Edmonton and beyond for their support.


Another Honour for Linden

Linden one of two North American League Players Named to Baseball America’s All-Independent League Team

Linden finished 2011 as an NAL All-Star, the inaugural NAL MVP and and an NAL Champion

Edmonton, AB – The 2011 NAL Champion Edmonton Capitals would like to congratulate NAL MVP Todd Linden on yet another accomplishment. Baseball America has released its annual All-Independent League All-Star team. Two North American League players made the list as Linden from the NAL Champion Edmonton Capitals and Rio Grande Valley WhiteWings right handed pitcher and league ERA leader Eric Blackwell were named members of the team’s outfield and starting rotation, respectively.

Linden, the inaugural NAL MVP hit .355 with 14 home runs, 79 runs batted in, 22 doubles, 5 triples, and 23 stolen bases. Impressively, Linden had 64 walks and just 62 strike outs. His combination of offensive ability and plate discipline led to a .480 on-base percentage and a 1.080 slugging percentage. Linden has over 500 Major League at bats and joined the Edmonton Capitals in 2011 after playing in the Majors with the San Francisco Giants and the Florida Marlins, as well as in Japan with Tahoku Rakuten.

Linden’s season is a big reason the Capitals captured the Northern Division title and became the 2011 North American League champions after a 5-game series victory over the Rio Grande Valley WhiteWings in mid-September.

Four Caps Take Home All-Star Honours

Enrique Cruz - one of four Capitals selected as NAL All Stars today

Boleska, Santangelo, Cruz and Linden honoured as North American League All-Stars

Edmonton, AB – The North American League announced today the selections for its All-League All-Star Team. These players represent the best in the league at their positions in 2011 and among them are four members of the Edmonton Capitals – the 2011 North American League Champions. They include relief pitcher Tom Boleska, catcher Lou Santangelo, shortstop Enrique Cruz and the recently honoured North American League MVP Todd Linden.

“All four of our players are very deserving of this honour and each of them made a big contribution to our team’s success this championship season.” said Caps Director of Baseball Operations Gord Gerlach. “The North American League Championship is something that was earned by our entire team but these individual awards highlight just a few of the many elite talents we had in our clubhouse and emphasizes what an exceptional year that was.”

The four all-star selections are the second most of any North American League team and the ball club would like to congratulate all fours players on this terrific accomplishment.

2011 North American League All Star Selections:

Starting Pitchers:
1. Chandler Barnard, RHP, San Angelo Colts: 12-2, 3.25 ERA, 98 K, 25 BB, 103 H, 113.2 IP
2. Jason Stevenson, LHP, Chico Outlaws: 8-0, 1.68 ERA, 76 K, 14 BB, 57 H, 64.1 IP
3. Eric Blackwell, RHP, Rio Grande Valley WhiteWings: 8-3, 3.01 ERA, 100 K, 34 BB, 83 H, 92.2 IP
4. Logan Williamson, LHP, San Angelo Colts: 11-2, 4.99 ERA, 104 K, 36 BB, 126 H, 113.2 IP
5. Aaron Guerra, RHP, Edinburg Roadrunners: 7-7, 3.60 ERA, 62 K, 14 BB, 106 H, 85 IP

Relief Pitchers:
1. Edgar Martinez, RHP, Rio Grande Valley WhiteWings: 2.48 ERA, 60 K, 6 BB, 26 H, 20 SV, 32.2 IP
2. Julio Castro, RHP, Edinburg Roadrunners: 2.05 ERA, 58 K, 8 BB, 35 H, 11 SV, 48.1 IP
3. Tom Boleska, RHP, Edmonton Capitals: 2.11 ERA, 56 K, 11 BB, 34 H, 11 SV, 47 IP
4. JJ Leaper, RHP, Yuma Scorpions: 1.39 ERA, 31 K, 12 BB, 17 H, 3 SV, 26 IP
5. Clayton Uyechi, RHP, Na Koa Ikaika Maui: 1.65 ERA, 29 K, 15 BB, 23 H, 3 SV, 32.2 IP

Lou Santangelo, R/R, Edmonton Capitals: .346/.410/.600 11 2B, 3 3B, 10 HR, 45 RBI

First Base:
CJ Ziegler, Lake County Fielders/Calgary Vipers: .334/.432/.658 20 2B, 0 3B, 24 HR, 79 RBI

Second Base:
Wilver Perez, R/R, Calgary Vipers: .379/.457/.601 26 2B, 8 3B, 11 HR, 86 RBI, 30 SB

Third Base:
Landon Camp, R/R, San Angelo Colts: .319/.390/.681 16 2B, 1 3B, 24 HR, 61 RBI

Enrique Cruz, R/R, Edmonton Capitals: .361/.413/.594 28 2B, 4 3B, 14 HR, 66 RBI, 9 SB

1. David Peralta, L/L, Rio Grande Valley WhiteWings: .392/.429/.661 30 2B, 5 3B, 17 HR, 81 RBI
2. Todd Linden, S/R, Edmonton Capitals: .355/.475/.605 22 2B, 5 3B, 14 HR, 79 RBI, 23 SB
3. Ronnie Gaines, R/R, San Angelo Colts: .358/.455/.674 25 2B, 1 3B, 24 HR, 79 RBI, 19 SB
4. Jake Rife, L/L, Chico Outlaws: .343/.438/.583 23 2B, 6 3B, 13 HR, 71 RBI, 24 SB

Jimmy Rohan Jr., R/R, Calgary Vipers: .379/.442/.495 24 2B, 4 3B, 1 HR, 58 RBI
Designated Hitter:
Daryl Jones, R/R, San Angelo Colts: .345/.408/.647 22 2B, 0 3B, 28 HR, 90 RBI, 11 SB

Todd Linden League MVP

Edmonton , AB – The Edmonton Capitals Baseball club is very proud to congratulate Edmonton Capitals Outfielder Todd Linden on being named the inaugural Most Valuable Player of the North American League – adding an exclamation point to the Capitals amazing NAL Championship season.  Linden hit .355 with 14 home runs, 79 runs batted in, 22 doubles, 5 triples, and 23 stolen bases. Impressively, Linden had 64 walks and just 62 strike outs. His combination of offensive ability and plate discipline led to a .480 on-base percentage and a 1.080 slugging percentage.

“I am honored and thrilled. It’s a great award and something that couldn’t have been accomplished without my teammates.” said Linden “It’s an award that could have been won by a lot of players who put up great numbers. But I think in the end what separates the players on our team is the championship and that’s something that we accomplished as a team.”

Linden’s season is a big reason the Capitals captured the Northern Division title and became the 2011 North American League champions after a 5-game series victory over the Rio Grande Valley WhiteWings in mid-September.

“It’s a tremendous honour for Todd and well deserved.” said Gord Gerlach, Caps Director of Baseball Operations “Even beyond his numbers; the intangibles that Todd brought to our clubhouse were even more important to our team’s success. He provided a veteran presence in a time when we needed it.”

“He was such a big part of our club in many ways other than his numbers demonstrated. “ said Field Manager Orv Franchuk “In the clubhouse, communicating with the staff, and just a real caring attitude about his teammates and his appreciation of the fans and the city of Edmonton. [Todd] is a quality guy and I have made some calls on his behalf to major league organizations.  If he is still available come spring training I would love to have him back.”

Linden joined the Capitals in 2011 after spending the 2010 season playing for Tohoko Rakuten in Japan. Linden began his professional career in 2001, when the San Francisco Giants drafted him 41st overall. He has over 500 MLB at-bats and has seen time in the Majors with the Giants and the Florida Marlins. Linden owns a .231 average with 8 home runs and 36 RBI in the Major Leagues. Linden also found success in AAA, where he has a career .287 average, 97 home runs, and 358 RBI.

“The baseball club is incredibly proud of Todd and his teammates and we appreciate how both he and the rest of the club embraced our City and fans.” said Caps Vice President & Alternate Governor Darryl Porter “This is the direct result of the emphasis our team management puts on acquiring quality players both on – and off the field and mirrors the values of the Rexall Sports Corporation.”

Capitals Win Inaugural North American League Championship

Led by MVP pitcher Lou Pote, the Caps won the inaugural North American League championship on Tuesday.

Edmonton, AB – The Edmonton Capitals captured the inaugural North American League championship on Tuesday night with a triumphant 7-3 win over the Rio Grande Valley WhiteWings, taking the best-of-seven final series 4-1.

After storming out of the gate with three wins in the first three games of the Championship Series — played entirely at TELUS Field in Edmonton — Game 4 on Sunday went to the WhiteWings 5-1. But it didn’t take long for the Caps to bounce back in Game 5, as they captured their first-ever championship in front of 2,670 fans who braved the chilly conditions to witness history being made.

World Series winner and three-year Caps veteran Lou Pote started on the mound for Game 5, which he claimed would be the last game of his professional career, as he plans to retire after the 2011 season. The 2002 champion with the Anaheim Angels didn’t disappoint either, as he scattered six hits and surrendered only two runs across seven innings to close out his career as a champion once again. He was also named series MVP with a pair of dominant victories over the Texas squad.

“I love competing and going out there to try to give my team a chance to win,” Pote said after the championship victory. “It never matters if I go seven or eight innings, I just want to put them into a position to win. Over the last couple of years I’ve been successful doing that and we’ve also had great teams every year I’ve been here so it feels good good to win with these guys.”

Pote picked up a pair of wins in the series and pitched 15 innings, only giving up three runs while striking out 17 WhiteWings batters along the way. Realizing it could be his last professional start, he tried not to let himself get nostalgic but couldn’t help it.

“I got a little bit nostalgic when I came off the field after Game 1 and I saw the ‘Thanks Lou’ sign in the crowd. That kind of hit home, but after we lost Game 4 I realized I had to throw bullpen and start getting ready for Game 5. Tonight I actually didn’t have very good stuff. We had great defence behind me and that’s why we won the championship — great defence and timely hitting.”

After Jorge Vasquez got the first two outs of the eighth, closer Tom Boleska took the mound and finished off the championship with a pair of strikeouts in 1.1 innings pitched. Offensively, first baseman and fan favourite Brent Metheny was the hero, as he broke a 2-2 tie in the fifth inning with a three-run home run. Centre fielder Steve Brown also launched a longball for an insurance run, while second baseman Enrique Cruz, third baseman Carlos Duncan and shortstop Rex Rundgren also each had one RBI.

The Caps are the first professional sports team in Edmonton to capture a league championship since the Eskimos won the Grey Cup in 2005, and the first baseball team to capture a title since the Trappers won the 2002 Pacific Coast League crown. Appropriately enough, the win came in the Caps’ 99th game of the season.

WhiteWings Win Game 4 To Extend Championship Series

Centre fielder Steve Brown was the lone Caps player to score a run on Sunday as the WhiteWings won 5-1 to extend the NAL Championship Series.

Edmonton, AB – The Edmonton Capitals were unable to capture the North American League championship on Sunday, as the Rio Grande Valley WhiteWings won Game 4 of the best-of-seven series 5-1 to extend their playoff lives.

The Caps still lead the NAL final 3-1 and can capture the league title when the division winners square off again in Game 5 on Tuesday at 7 p.m. at TELUS Field. If necessary, Game 6 will be played Wednesday at 7 p.m., and the seventh and deciding game if necessary would be played Thursday at 7 p.m.

The WhiteWings’ pitchers were finally able to solve the Caps’ lethal offence on Sunday, as starter Brian Henschel worked his sinker to perfection and held Edmonton’s batters to just one run on four hits over 7.2 innings. Julio Santana and Julio Castro came on in relief and closed out the win for the Texas squad.

Edmonton starter Jesse Smith also had a solid outing, scattering two earned runs and seven hits over seven innings. The Caps scored their only run on a WhiteWings error in the top of the first inning and were blanked after that. Centre fielder Steve Brown was the only player to cross home plate, while third baseman Enrique Cruz had two of the Caps’ five hits.

Shortstop Landon Camp was the most influential WhiteWings hitter on the day, going 2-for-4 with two RBI and two runs scored. Second baseman Wilmer Pino and right fielder Wilson Batista led the way for Rio Grande Valley with three hits each, while Camp and Brian Nichols each hit home runs.

NAL championship series tickets are available at all Ticketmaster outlets, at the Capitals Box Office (10233 – 96 Ave) during regular business hours Monday through Friday, online at or via phone at 780-414-GOAL (4625). Bench and grandstand seats are on sale for $20, and box seats are $25.