Remaining Auction Items from Baseball Canada’s National Teams Awards Banquet and Fundraiser are Up for Grabs

  • January 29, 2009

OTTAWA – The Baseball Canada National Teams Awards Banquet and Fundraiser auction was once again a complete success. However, there are still some items remaining and Baseball Canada wants to give you a second chance to win. Starting now until 4 pm ET on Monday, February 9th, bids will be taken on all remaining items which include a package for one week in ski and golf paradise in Panorama, British Columbia. This is only a peek into the extraordinary items that still remain. Click here to see the complete list of auction items. To bid, please send an e-mail with subject line “gala auction” to media@baseball.ca. Please include your name, item number, bid and phone number. Bids will be updated once daily at 4 pm ET. Auction winners will be notified on Tuesday, February 10th. Shipping charges will apply.

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Mills to be honoured as Lions Woman of Influence

  • January 28, 2009

TORONTO – Ontario University Athletics (OUA) announced on Tuesday, January 27 that Canadian Women’s National Baseball Team member and York Lions women’s hockey player Autumn Mills (London, ON) will be recognized as one of the top female scholar-athletes from across the province at the sixth annual Women of Influence Luncheon.The event, which takes place on Tuesday, February 10, honours female-student athletes who have excelled in their chosen sports and fields of study. Mills has been a member of the Women’s National Team since 2005 and has been to two IBAF Women’s Baseball World Cup tournaments, earning a bronze medal in 2006 and a silver medal in 2008.  Also on her mantle is a Women’s National Championship with Team Ontario. In addition to her baseball prowess, Mills, a third-year right winger, has been an integral part of the Lions women’s hockey team over the past few years. Last season, she helped the Lions advance to the playoffs for the first time in five years as she finished fifth in team scoring with 11 points (six goals, five assists). She has already passed that mark this year and is currently fourth in team scoring with 14 points (eight goals, six assists). Away from athletics, she is an exceptional student and a dedicated instructor and volunteer. A member of the CIS Academic all-Canadian honour roll last season, Mills is in the concurrent education program at York and as part of her course load she has a teaching placement in an elementary school. “There are numerous other athletes at York that are eligible for this and I am honoured to be chosen for the award,” said Mills. “I’m really excited to be a part of something like this and I’m glad that my athletic and academic participation is being noticed.” When she isn’t studying or training, Mills volunteers her time to coaching a men’s baseball team and working as a skill coach with a youth squad. This past summer she conducted a girls baseball camp called All Girls Baseball Day in Nova Scotia, where she and Melanie Harwood (Thornhill, ON), another member of the national baseball team, led over 80 girls between the ages of five and 13 through drills and then acted as an umpire for some of their games. She has also been an instructor at Frozen Ropes Canada, a popular baseball and softball training centre. As if being in a highly demanding educational program, maintaining academic all-Canadian status, participating in two sports at a high level and volunteering were not enough, Mills holds down two part-time jobs to support herself while she attends school. The guest speaker at this year’s luncheon is two-time Olympic medalist Tonya Verbeek.  Verbeek became the first female wrestler to win An Olympic medal, claiming silver in 55 kg freestyle at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens. Four years later in Beijing, Verbeek won a bronze medal to become the most decorated Canadian wrestler at the Olympic Games. Tickets to the luncheon are $88.20 each (taxes included) and can be purchased by calling Lisa Constanzo at 416-923-1688 ext. 23 or via e-mail at lconstanzo@powerpointgroup.com. The event will be held from 12pm to 2pm at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre (North Building), 255 Front Street West in Toronto, Ontario.

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Baseball Canada National Teams Awards Banquet and Fundraiser a Glamorous Success

  • January 26, 2009

OTTAWA - Baseball Canada held its seventh edition of the National Teams Awards Banquet and Fundraiser on January 24 at Toronto’s Renaissance Hotel at Rogers Center and the event was once again a complete success. "Once again, we were quite fortunate to celebrate Canadian Baseball excellence with so many committed alumni, MLB and Corporate Partners and Friends who have directly and indirectly contributed so much to the growth and development of our National Teams Program," says Greg Hamilton, Baseball Canada's Head Coach and Director of National Teams.  "Baseball excellence in Canada continues to impact the game on a global scale and as such we are honored to have the support of so many of our country's key contributors." Baseball Canada also recognized its past, present and future with the annual awards presentation. Highlighting the awards portion was Larry Walker who was honoured with Baseball Canada’s first Wall of Excellence Award, presented by David Vander Voet of RBC Wealth Management.  The numbers speak for themselves as Walker holds most Canadian Major League career records.  The humble Maple Ridge, BC native tallied a .313 average with 383 homers, 1,311 RBI, 2,160 hits, 471 doubles, 230 stolen bases in 1,988 games.  He was the 1997 NL MVP, putting together arguably one of the best single seasons in Major League history when he hit .366 with 49 homers, 130 RBI, 46 doubles, 33 stolen bases, .720 SLG in 153 games.  “I would like to thank the Regina Pats who cut me twice, making my choice of careers that much easier,” says Walker jokingly while accepting his award. Brett Lawrie of Langley, BC earned the Junior National Team MVP award, sponsored by Disney’s Wide World of Sports, for the second time in three years.  Lawrie was the offensive key cog of the Junior National Team at the World Junior Championship in Edmonton, winning the Triple Crown of the tournament batting .469 with three home runs and 16 RBI.  He also displayed his power during the Dominican Summer Camp, hitting five home runs in a doubleheader against the Seattle Mariners Dominican team. Nick Weglarz of Stevensville, Ontario was recognized as the Olympic team MVP, presented by Steve Rogers of the MLBPA.  Weglarz was a crucial part of Canada qualifying for the 2008 Olympics when he hit .450 with three homers and seven RBI at the Final Olympic Qualifier in Taiwan.  He then proceeded to lead the team at the Olympics with a .400 average, two home runs and five RBI.  He is also establishing himself in the professional ranks as he is now ranked third by Baseball America on the Cleveland Indians top 10 prospects list. The Stubby Clapp Award was presented to Scott Richmond of North Vancouver, BC, presented by Dave Bartlett of Mizuno Canada.  Richmond is the personification of this award as he came from working the docks in Vancouver to taking the mound in the Majors.  After completing his college career, the 6’5”, 220 lbs right-hander went to Edmonton to play independent ball with the Cracker-Cats.  After three seasons, he signed with the Blue Jays in 2008 and quickly made his way to the big leagues, making his debut on July 30th.  He earned his first Major League win on September 26th, throwing six shutout innings against the Baltimore Orioles. Alumni Awards were presented to Rheal Cormier of Cap Pele, NB and to Jeff Zimmerman of Carsland, Alberta, presented by Larry Pearson of the L.J. Pearson Foundation.  Cormier is a two-time Olympian, participating in the 1988 and 2008 Olympics.  Following the Beijing Games, Cormier retired from baseball.  He pitched 16 seasons in the majors, collecting a 71-64 record and 4.03 ERA in 683 career games.  Zimmerman was a solid reliever during his Major League career with the Texas Rangers.  He owns a handful of club records, including most consecutive wins to start a season with nine and was an All-Star in 1999.  He is now the Co-Chair of Baseball Canada’s Alumni Group and is a coach with the Junior National Team. Chris Reitsma of Calgary, Alberta was the recipient of a Special Recognition Award, presented by Steve Rogers of the MLBPA.  Reitsma spent seven seasons in the Major Leagues, appearing in 338 games with the Cincinnati Reds, Atlanta Braves and Seattle Mariners.  The right-hander called it quits after the 2008 season when he represented Canada at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.  Reitsma is now back in his native Calgary where he is involved in several endeavours, including working with mentally and physically disabled kids. And finally, a Special Achievement Award was given to Joey Votto of Toronto, Ontario, presented by Steve Rogers of the MLBPA, for his terrific season.  After being a September call up in 2007 with the Cincinnati Reds where he hit .321 with four home runs and 17 RBI in 24 games, Votto completed his first full season by finishing second in voting for the National League Rookie of the Year Award to Geovany Soto of the Chicago Cubs. The first baseman hit .297 with 24 home runs, 84 RBI and 32 doubles in 151 games in 2008. The evening included check presentations from Major League Baseball, the Toronto Blue Jays and the Royal Bank of Canada to Baseball Canada at a value of $100,000, $15,000 and $10,000 respectively. “I can’t say enough about the support we’ve received from our sponsors,” said Baseball Canada Director General Jim Baba. “They continuously show a vested interest in promoting the sport in Canada, both at the grassroots level and at the elite level.” Baseball Canada would like to thank everybody who made the seventh annual National Teams Awards Banquet and Fundraiser a night to remember.

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Individual Tickets for Opening Round of the World Baseball Classic On Sale January 19

  • January 16, 2009

OTTAWA – On Monday, January 19, baseball fans will be able to purchase single game tickets to the opening round of the World Baseball Classic games hosted at the Rogers Centre in Toronto.  Single game tickets will be available for purchase online at www.worldbaseballclassic.com and www.bluejays.com. The first pitch of the World Baseball Classic tournament in Toronto is on March 7, 2009 when Team Canada takes on Team USA.  Teams from around the world will be competing from March 5 – 23 with six round-one games being played at Toronto’s Rogers Centre featuring teams from Canada, Italy, United States and Venezuela.  Media credential applications for the North American portion of the 2009 World Baseball Classic are available online today at http://credentials.mlb.com. All applications must be submitted online by Friday, February 20th. Applications will not be accepted after the deadline. About the World Baseball Classic: The World Baseball Classic is the premier international baseball tournament, sanctioned by the International Baseball Federation, and features the best players in the world competing for their home countries and territories.  In March 2006, 486 players (235 of them from MLB organizations) representing 16 teams from across the globe competed in the inaugural event.  The upcoming World Baseball Classic will be played from March 5 - 23 and will again feature 16 of the greatest baseball-playing nations in the world.  The tournament will be held every four years thereafter, with plans in place to expand the participant field beginning in 2013.

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Canada Ranked Seventh in First Ever Baseball World Rankings

  • January 14, 2009

OTTAWA – The International Baseball Federation (IBAF) has released its first ever World Rankings for baseball and Canada is ranked seventh in a ranking of 44 baseball countries. Cuba is ranked number one in the world in the initial rankings, followed by the United States and Korea. Developed in conjunction with Scott Goode, a sports information director from Harding University (Arkansas), the rankings are based on a point total which IBAF member federations (teams) earn from IBAF-sanctioned events in a four-year window, or a period of time that encompasses two IBAF Baseball World Cups. “The IBAF is long overdue for World Rankings,” says IBAF President Dr. Harvey Schiller in a statement.  “The level of competition worldwide grows stronger every year, and we need to begin to recognize the federations that are fielding teams and performing well, whether it is in an intra-continental tournament or a World Cup.” Teams earn points based on their finish in an event.  A tournament winner takes home 50 points, second place, 40; third place, 30; and fourth place, 15.  From there, points are divided evenly among the remaining teams in the event to ensure balance between tournaments that feature different-sized fields. Once points are rewarded based on a team’s finish, that amount is then multiplied by a number based on the strength of the event.  Major world championships, such as an Olympic Games, IBAF Baseball World Cup or World Baseball Classic, all receive 4X multipliers.  Minor world championship events (Junior, Youth or FISU University Worlds for example) have a 1X multiplier, and all other continental championships receive multipliers from 1X-.25X based on how many teams in the top-10 of the current IBAF World Rankings compete in the event. “We are confident that our rankings accurately reflect the performance of our federations over a four-year period,” says Schiller.  “We are also proud to say that our top-20 features federations from six continents, further proof of baseball’s continued global growth.” The rankings will be used for promotional purposes only and will not necessarily be used by the IBAF or any other governing baseball body to organize events, nor are those groups required by the IBAF to do as such.  New rankings will be released following every event recognized or sanctioned by the IBAF. Here are the top ten countries as ranked by the IBAF: 1.       Cuba2.       United States3.       Korea4.       Japan5.       Chinese Taipei6.       Netherlands7.       Canada8.       Mexico9.       Panama10.    Australia Complete IBAF World Rankings: http://www.ibaf.org/2008/world_rankings_09.html

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Baseball Canada's Statement on CRA revoking Little League Baseball charitable Status

  • January 13, 2009

OTTAWA – In the wake of continuing media coverage concerning the Canadian Revenue Agency’s decision to revoke Little League Canada’s charitable status, the Canadian Federation of Amateur Baseball (Baseball Canada) would like to issue this official statement. In order to maintain the trust and confidence of our members, the sport community and the public in general, Baseball Canada would like to reaffirm that we are a separate entity from Little League Canada. Baseball Canada is the National Sport Organization recognized by the federal government and our charitable status remains in good standing.   Ray Carter, President of Baseball Canada, would like to ensure Canadians do not misunderstand this situation. “It’s unfortunate to hear about the recent news regarding Little League Canada but our organization is separate from theirs and we want to make sure Canadians know it. We will continue to work to develop the great game of baseball as we have done so since 1964.” For more information, please contact André Cormier at Baseball Canada at 613-748-5606.    

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Baseball Canada National Teams Awards Banquet & Fundraiser to be Star Studded Event

  • January 12, 2009

OTTAWA – Baseball Canada will host some of its most distinguished Major League alumni, corporate partners and friends at the Northern Lights Ballroom of the Renaissance Toronto Hotel at Rogers Centre on Saturday, January 24th, 2009. The National Teams Awards Banquet and Fundraiser will honour the accomplishments of alumni, such as Larry Walker, Jeff Zimmerman, Rheal Cormier and Chris Reitsma.  National League Rookie of the Year runner-up Joey Votto, Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Scott Richmond, Olympians Nick Weglarz and Brett Lawrie will be recognized for exceptional achievements in 2008. Paul Beeston, J.P. Ricciardi, Steve Rogers, Jim Fanning and Ernie Whitt will join a host of MLB and National Team stars such as Russell Martin, Shawn Hill, Peter Orr, Paul Quantrill, Stubby Clapp, Adam Loewen, Adam Stern, Mike Saunders and Phillippe Aumont for an evening of Canadian baseball celebration, emceed by Blue Jays radio voice Jerry Howarth. In addition to an elaborate awards presentation, social hour and formal dinner, this evening will feature many interactive opportunities with the stars and an extensive auction of sports memorabilia and sporting event packages.  With Sportsnet, TSN and The Score covering the Awards Presentations, this event will have a very strong media presence. This evening will also serve as a very important fundraising source for Baseball Canada’s National Junior and Senior Teams.  With the World Baseball Classic, World Cup and World Junior Qualifier, Baseball Canada’s National Teams will be very active on the world baseball stage in 2009. Tickets for the gala cost $400 per person, $3,200 for a table of eight guests or $4,000 for a table of ten guests. Baseball Canada has registered charitable status. There will be a pre-banquet press conference covered by Sportsnet, TSN and The Score at 3:30 pm, Saturday January 24th, in the Aurora Room of the Renaissance Toronto Hotel at Rogers Centre (Aurora Room is adjacent to the Northern Lights Ballroom). The press conference will begin with opening statements from Baseball Canada President Ray Carter and Director of National Teams Greg Hamilton.  This will be followed by a scrum style question and answer period with the players and MLB management personnel attending. For more information concerning the gala, please contact Greg Hamilton, Coach and Director of National Teams, at 613-748-5606 ext. 225 or via e-mail at ghamilton@baseball.ca. For media interested in covering the press conference, please contact André Cormier, Manager of Media & Public Relations, at 613-748-5606, ext. 221 or via e-mail at media@baseball.ca. 2009 National Teams Awards Banquet & Fundraiser Program2009 National Teams Awards Banquet & Fundraiser Registration Form

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Meagan Cornelssen Named DHT Female Athlete of the Year

  • January 09, 2009

Meagan Cornelssen’s 2008 was a lot like her 2007. Both years she medaled with Team Alberta at baseball nationals, represented Alberta for hockey and played with the female midget AAA Storm. Those accomplishments alone would rank Cornelssen as one of the top junior athletes in Grande Prairie. The fact that she added being a key member of Canada’s silver-winning team at the Women’s Baseball World Cup to her list of accomplishments makes her a more than worthy selection as Grande Prairie’s Female Athlete of the Year for 2008. “I didn’t expect it. I didn’t even know you guys had this,” she said. “I’ve had female athlete of the year at school, but this, for the city, is kind of cool.” Cornelssen earned a spot on Team Canada after a strong performance with Team Alberta at nationals in Cape Breton, N.S. She was given the news during the medal ceremony after leading Alberta to a bronze medal with an 11-6 win over Quebec. She knew being named to Team Canada was a possibility heading into the tournament, but it wasn’t something she was expecting. “I didn’t want to think about it because I’d be more nervous when I was in Nationals. If that was all I thought about it would have affected my game. I kind of just lived in the moment,” she said. Cornelssen made the most of her time with the national team in Japan as well. “It was definitely an honour. Playing with the best girls in Canada was awesome,” she said. “I made lots of new friends, not just in my age group because it was 17 and up. It was just a great experience.” Cornelssen was the second youngest, and one of only three 17-year-olds, on the team. Don’t think because she was young that she spent her time in the dugout watching her more experienced teammates. Cornelssen played a pivotal role as the starting left fielder and rotated between the five and six spots in the lineup. She repaid her coaches for their confidence by batting .294 and stealing four bases – one behind the tournament leader. Cornelssen’s highlight of the tournament shows how important she was to the team making it to the finals – a first for either the men or women’s national team at a Baseball World Cup. “It was probably tying the game against U.S.A. and then us going on to win that game to go into the semi-finals,” she said. With Canada down one run, Cornelssen started the seventh and final inning with a single. She stole second before reaching home on a Stephanie Savoie single. Canada won the game, 7-6 and beat Australia by an identical score in the semis before losing to the host-country, Japan, 11-3 in the finals. Cornelssen was able to take plenty out of the experience despite not taking home a gold medal. “There were some girls who were on their fourth run for that team,” she said. “Their experience through the whole thing taught me some stuff, and just little fundamental things. I learned a lot.” Even though the local teams she plays on compete at a lower level, Cornelssen brings the same attitude to every game she did as a member of Team Canada. “Meagan is a workhorse,” said Storm coach Guy Anthony. “I have yet to see her play against anyone in our major midget league that can manhandle her. She out-muscles everyone she plays against whether they’re bigger or smaller. A lot of that has to do with her attitude that she won’t be beaten.” Cornelssen’s strength of character has led to her being looked at as a leader with the Storm. She was named team captain and was listed as the best player they’ve ever played with by eight of 12 teammates who took a team survey. “She is looked upon in the room as the girl who takes the team on her shoulders,” Anthony said. “That’s what they expect her to do and that’s what she attempts to do. She attempts to be everything she can be for her team.” Cornelssen leads the team in scoring to this point in the 2008-2009 season, with 20 points, including 10 goals. She has already left her stamp on 2009, less than a week into the New Year. Cornelssen was named top forward for the North after scoring a goal and an assist during the Alberta Major Midget Female Hockey League all-star game, Jan. 4. “It was fun. I got two points and I got top forward for the North,” she said. “It was a good experience.” With more than 11 months remaining in 2009, Cornelssen is looking to spend the rest of the year adding to her already impressive resume. “I definitely want to make the national team again for baseball,” she said. “Maybe decide where I want to go to school. Those are my two main goals.”

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Bantam Boys Championship Has a Home for Three Years

  • January 08, 2009

OTTAWA – Baseball Canada announced today that the city of Vaughan, Ontario was awarded the Bantam Boys Championship for 2009, 2010 and 2011. This is a first for Baseball Canada, who has been in discussions with the board of directors to attempt such a venture to help promote the championships with sponsorship partners. “Vaughan’s application was perfect timing to test this measure as they felt it necessary to have the Bantam Nationals for three years for just that reason,” says Baseball Canada Director General Jim Baba. Vaughan hosted a successful Peewee Championship in 2008, and Baseball Canada felt it was a great area to test the new endeavour. “After the success of 2008 with the Pee Wee nationals,” adds Baba, “we feel that Vaughan will showcase to the rest of Canada that this is the way of the future for many other age divisions as well.” “After hosting the 2008 National Pee Wee championships, we were pleased when the city of Vaughan presented a bid for the Bantam Nationals in 2009 and beyond on such short notice,” added Baseball Canada President Ray Carter.  “We know they will do a terrific job hosting the event and we look forward to working with the hosting group for the next three years.” For the 2009 championship, Baseball Canada will use the current 54’/80’ dimensions for the diamond, but will seriously consider implementing the 60’6”/90’ dimensions for the 2010 and 2011 Championships. The 2009 Bantam Boys Championship will take place from August 20-23.

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Morneau Named Athlete of the Year

  • January 05, 2009

OTTAWA – Minnesota Twins first baseman Justin Morneau finished off 2008 with a bang as he was named the 2008 Male Athlete of the Year by both the Canadian Press and the Canwest News Service. The New Westminster, BC native continued his solid play at the Major League level, hitting .300 with 23 home runs and 129 RBI in 2008. Morneau beat out athletes such as Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby, and Olympians Eric Lamaze and Simon Whitfield for the honour. “Any time you can beat out a hockey player in anything in Canada, it’s an accomplishment,” says Morneau.  “It’s pretty cool, especially with the people who have named to this award.” Morneau finished second in the American League MVP voting this past season.  Other highlights in 2008 include winning the Home Run Derby at Yankee Stadium, defeating Josh Hamilton of the Texas Rangers; and scoring the winning run in the 15th inning of the MLB All-Star Game. His Minnesota Twins also finished a game shy of making the playoffs in a year the team was rebuilding and was expected to struggle.  Morneau was looked upon to provide leadership for this young team. “We have some veteran guys but at the same time, when you hit fourth… you feel like you have some responsibility of being a leader,” says Morneau.  “For me it’s not by talking, it’s by example and working hard.” At the end of the day, Morneau hopes that his accomplishments inspire more Canadians to pursue the game of baseball as their sport; much like Larry Walker did for him. “Hopefully guys can see (my success) and know there are sports out there other than hockey that Canadian kids can play.”

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Under Armour

Under Armour® is the Official Uniform, Apparel and Batting Glove Supplier to Baseball Canada's National Teams. Under Armour was developed by athletes for athletes. By employing only the finest microfiber fabrics, Under Armour has engineered the ultimate moisture transport system in garments that slide over your body like a second-skin to keep you cool, dry and light throughout the course of a game or workout.   More information about the company and its products is available at www.underarmour.com

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Shaped by our Game

Baseball Canada is pleased to introduce Shaped by Our Game, a new initiative on baseball.ca that will profile people who have used our sport to achieve success later in life. Baseball is a sport that provides great life lessons and teaches skills that are applicable for future success in life whether on the baseball field or not.

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Long Term Athlete Development (LTAD) is a systemic approach being developed and adopted by Baseball Canada to maximize a participant's potential and involvement in our sport. The LTAD framework aims to define optimal training, competition and recovery throughout an athlete's career to enable him / her to reach his / her full potential in baseball and as an athlete.