.....Baseball in Canada
Growing up loving Toronto Blue Jays baseball - with an additional secret affinity for the Detroit Tigers, being from London, Ontario - I have been fortunate along the way to meet a number of people who have emboldened my passion for the game by way of introducing me to pieces of it that I was previously unfamiliar with.
Among those groups of people, including the many baseball enthusiasts I have met and interacted with through social media outlets, like fellow London native Joanna, and other women with whom I have shared a side of the game that only we can (unfortunately) experience, and including the men I met while interning at Baseball America who helped to grow my love for minor league baseball, and the amateur game. Bob Elliott stands out, because he is the man who introduced me to Canadian baseball.
The game north of the border extends far beyond the Blue Jays, starting at the grassroots level and leading to the first-year player draft every June - of which my favourite is the 2002 draft, when Adam Loewen was selected fourth overall, Jeff Francis ninth overall, and Joey Votto in the SECOND ROUND, 44th overall - then taking Canucks into college and professional baseball. I've been introduced to the Canadian Junior National Team, the best program in the world, the Senior National Team, one I was fortunate enough to watch win a Pan Am gold medal on home soil, and the Women's National Team, with which I got to travel to Japan almost three years ago.
For as much as I have embraced Canadian baseball, the Baseball Canada family has accepted and welcomed me. In a space that is less than inclusive at best, my country's sector of the sport has never made me feel like an outsider, and I couldn't be more grateful. I'm happy to share my passion for the game, and the Canadian game, and I am glad to have met Joanna through sharing pieces of that.
For a long time I thought women didn't play baseball. Despite A League of their Own being my favourite baseball movie, I thought that girls could play with boys until they were about 12 and then they had to play softball. Softball is fine, but I like baseball.
Luckily, Alexis Brudnicki entered my life and introduced me to the idea that adult women play baseball and I met some of the amazing women from the Canadian National team. These women don't have the opportunity to get a big league contract, playing baseball doesn't set them up for life. But they play it because they love it.
Alexis is one of the most hardworking and passionate people I've ever met on the subject of baseball in our country and she does a lot of the heavy lifting to get us thinking and talking about it. One of the great things about writing this blog has been the community of people I've met doing it. Alexis is definitely one of my favourites.
Here we are at Pitch Talks in Toronto in April 2016. That's us on the far left. I don't know what we're listening to, but this picture never fails to crack us up. Let's just say it's the faces we make when some dude is trying to tell us about baseball.
On May 26th, 2007, the Jays visited the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome to play the Minnesota Twins. Tomo Ohka started for the Jays and the Twins countered with Ramon Ortiz. Despite the fact that Ohka went seven innings, the Jays still used six pitchers because the game went 13 innings. Casey Janssen, Jeremy Accardo, Scott Downs, Jason Frasor and Brian Tallet all made appearances. Lyle Overbay, Matt Stairs, Royce Clayton and Alex Rios hit homers.
Royce Clayton hit a lead off double in the 13th, and scored on a ground ball single from Lyle Overbay making it 9-8. Brian Tallet got a strikeout swinging, a strikeout looking and flyball to left, and this one was finally done.