Former owner Jake Kerr said of Dunn: “Did he leave it better than he found it? Absolutely. It was a hot mess when he got here. It’s pretty good now. “

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Andy Dunn, who’s been a key figure in the Vancouver Canadians growing attendance at Nat Bailey Stadium since he first signed on in 2007, has resigned as president of the Toronto Blue Jays farm club, according to a team announcement Friday morning.

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There’s no word yet on a direct replacement. The press release explained that general manager Allan Bailey, vice-president of sales and marketing Walter Cosman and assistant general manager Stephani Ellis will “pick up Dunn’s torch and lead a staff to continuing the tradition of Vancouver Canadians Baseball for years to come.”

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Bailey has been with the team since 2007. He was named GM In 2018.

The C’s open the high-A Northwest League season and defence of their 2023 league title on April 5 with a visit to the Spokane Indians, and the home opener at the Nat is set for April 9, when the C’s kick off a six-game set with the Hillsboro Hops. The C’s have been a Blue Jays’ farm team since 2011.

Dunn couldn’t be reached for comment. There was no word either in the press release on what’s next for the Georgia native.

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Vancouver businessmen Jake Kerr and Jeff Mooney sold the C’s last April to Diamond Baseball Holdings (DBH), a New York company that owns 29 minor league clubs. DBH have a history of keeping local operators.

Kerr and Mooney bought the C’s in 2007 and brought in Dunn, who had worked with the Montreal Expos, Washington Nationals and Florida Marlins. Dunn was eventually given an ownership stake in the C’s  but it was never announced how much it was.

Dunn was instrumental in the sushi mascot races, the dancing grounds crew and the foot-long hot dogs and craft beer at the Nat. All that played a part in the C’s announced attendance average going from 3,260 in 2006 to 6,177 in 2016. The team was moved from a short-season, single-A league starting in June to a full-season, high-A team starting in April when the Major League Baseball revamped the minors in 2021, and per game attendance has taken a hit due to the rainy, chilly weather for games in the first two months. The C’s still had an announced average of 4,876 last summer, which put them 41st in all of minor league baseball, which has 120 teams. 

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Dunn was also at the helm when seats were added down the third base line and beyond the left field wall at the Nat and when the C’s games were shown on Sportsnet TV.

“What has Andy meant to the team’s success? Everything,” said Kerr, who, like Mooney, has remained with the C’s in an advisory role. “Andy came in as a consultant with the idea that he might stay a month and he wound up staying 16 years, and his contributions were frankly the difference between life and death for the ball club. I’ve said it many times, but Mooney and I had no idea what we were doing when we bought the team and we kept demonstrating that fact early on.

“He found ways  to make it fun for everyone. It doesn’t matter if you’re a little kid or a teenager on a date or a grandfather — there’s something there for you. Andy understood that baseball fans would come for sure, but we needed to make it affordable, family entertainment.

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“Did he leave it better than he found it? Absolutely. It was a hot mess when he got here. It’s pretty good now. ”

Dunn was quoted in the press release as saying: “It’s been an honour and privilege to call Vancouver home for the past decade and a half. Between my arrival in 2007 and the Northwest League championship to end 2023, we achieved things many people didn’t think were possible in this city and this ballpark. To have been a part of the franchise’s storied history – and to have been entrusted with its stewardship all these years – has been one of my career’s biggest highlights. The organization is in great hands with Allan Bailey and the terrific C’s staff at The Nat, with the continued support of Diamond Baseball Holdings. I will always be a Vancouver Canadian at heart and am excited to root for the club as a friend and a fan.”

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Bailey and the other C’s executives’ next duties include overseeing upgrades to the ballpark, which are part of the new facility agreements since MLB changed the minors. The plan at the Nat is to have a building where the barbecue area down the first base line currently resides that will have indoor training facilities, a dining hall and office space.  No word on cost or a timeline from the C’s.


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