As part of Baseball Canada’s year in review, we are counting down the Top 12 Stories of 2012. Many great stories have occurred over the course of the year and today we take a look at #2.
Baseball Canada is extremely fortunate to have the Toronto Blue Jays as a valued partner and in March the Jays showed their commitment to amateur baseball in Canada by announcing a sponsorship deal with Baseball Canada.
The agreement saw the Blue Jays provide support to all nine of Baseball Canada’s National Championships in 2012, assist with Baseball Canada’s coach education program and provide a generous donation to Baseball Canada’s National Teams program.
The Blue Jays and Baseball Canada also partnered to bring 14 Honda Super Camps to communities across Canada which gave kids the opportunity to improve their baseball skills, while getting instruction from some of the best Blue Jays in history. Blue Jays alums like Duane Ward, Jesse Barfield, Lloyd Moseby and Roberto Alomar were some of the many instructors on hand to share their knowledge and passion for baseball with those lucky enough to attend.
“The Toronto Blue Jays are tremendous supporters of Baseball Canada and are bringing the development and promotion of amateur baseball in Canada to the forefront,” said Baseball Canada President Ray Carter. “From the extremely successful Blue Jays Honda Super Camps to supporting our National Championships and coach education programs, our partnership with the Blue Jays is tremendously valuable and I look forward to seeing it grow in the coming years.”
The partnership between Canada’s only Major League team and Baseball Canada has evolved to include other some other great initiatives.
At the beginning of the 2012 season the Blue Jays and Baseball Canada partnered on a Public Service Announcement which aimed at attracting kids to play baseball. Canadians Justin Morneau, John Axford and Blue Jays third baseman Brett Lawrie were featured in the video that aired across Canada primarily during Blue Jays telecasts and at Rogers Centre.
In early March, the Blue Jays provided members of the Junior National Team with a thrill of a lifetime as they sent stars Brett Lawrie, Jose Bautista, JP Arencibia and Adam Lind to St. Petersburg, Florida to participate in an exhibition game against the Canadian teenagers.
“We’re real fortunate to have the support of the Blue Jays organization,” said Baseball Canada’s Director of National Teams and Head Coach Greg Hamilton. “It starts right at the top with Paul (Beeston) and Alex (Anthopoulos) sending over their major league guys which was very special.”
During batting practice, members of the Blue Jays posed for pictures with their young counterparts and gave the juniors a firsthand look at their skills in the batter’s box and in the field.
“Baseball Canada has been a tremendous partner in the past and we are very excited to see this partnership continue to grow,” said Stephen Brooks, Senior Vice President, Business Operations with the Blue Jays. “Our goal is to promote and support the growth of the Canadian game at all levels.”
The Blue Jays have some exciting events planned for 2013 that are surely to be a highlight on many people’s baseball calendars across Canada.
- A coaching clinic, which has already been sold-out for weeks, will see over 300 amateur coaches ascend on Rogers Centre in early January to learn from the likes of Sandy Alomar Sr., Homer Bush, Blue Jays Bench Coach Demarlo Hale and Bullpen Coach and former Cy Young winner Pat Hentgen. Coaches attending will also be able to attain NCCP course credits.
- Honda Super Camps will return for a third straight summer in 2013 and promise to be bigger and better than ever!
- The Blue Jays will be hosting a National Tournament in 2013 called ‘Tournament 12’ where Hall of Famer Roberto Alomar will act as Tournament Chairperson. The goal of the tournament is to showcase the best college eligible amateur baseball players in Canada to professional scouts from all teams and educational institutions across North America
For more information on the above and other Blue Jays amateur baseball programs, please visit the Toronto Blue Jays Baseball Academy website.
Top 12 Stories of 2012
12. Les Smeyers becomes 20,000th coach
11. Baseball Canada adopts Challenger Baseball
10. Eight umpires at International Events
9. 23 Canadians in MLB in 2012
8. Ontario repeats as Baseball Canada Cup champs
7. Baseball Canada named COPABE Federation of the Year for 2011
6. Women’s National Team wins World Cup bronze
5. 2011 Senior Team inducted into Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame
4. Bob Elliott given Baseball Hall of Fame’s JG Taylor Spink Award
3. Junior National Team wins silver at IBAF 18U World Championship
2. Baseball Canada and Toronto Blue Jays partner on sponsorship package
1. To be revealed Dec. 21