Coaches Can Visit “The Inside Pitch”

  • February 27, 2009

OTTAWA – Baseball Canada has launched a new blog for coaches across Canada to help share information and strategy of the game of baseball. “We developed this blog so that coaches can use this as a tool to help them gain knowledge, as well as share their own knowledge with other coaches from Newfoudland to British Columbia,”  says André Lachance, Baseball Operations Manager with Baseball Canada. Coaches can post comments for every blog as well as register to receive e-mail notification when a new blog is posted. To view the current blogs posted, go to http://blog.baseball.ca or click on “The Inside Pitch” link found on the Baseball Canada website.

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Baseball Canada Unveils its WBC Final Roster

  • February 24, 2009

OTTAWA – Baseball Canada, in conjunction with Major League Baseball, released their final 28-man roster for the upcoming World Baseball Classic. The roster features 10 current Major League players including Justin Morneau of the Minnesota Twins, Russell Martin of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Jason Bay of the Boston Red Sox, Joey Votto of the Cincinnati Reds as well as Scott Richmond of the Toronto Blue Jays, Mark Teahen of the Kansas City Royals and Matt Stairs of the Philadelphia Phillies. Also being named to the roster are Team Canada stalwarts Stubby Clapp (Windsor, ON), Mike Johnson (Edmonton, AB), Adam Stern (London, ON) and Chris Begg (Uxbridge, ON) as well as highly touted prospects Phillippe Aumont (Gatineau, QC) and Brett Lawrie (Langley, BC). Of the 28 players, 11 were part of the inaugural World Baseball Classic in 2006 which includes Morneau, Bay, Stairs, Peter Orr, Jesse Crain, Clapp, Steve Green, Stern and Begg.  To see the entire Team Canada roster, click here. Much has been made of Team Canada’s lack of experience concerning the pitching staff, but Team Canada Manager Ernie Whitt is convinced that his young staff will rise to the challenge. “We’re confident that they will be able to throw two or three innings for us and keep us right in the ballgames and we’re hoping our offence will carry our team,” says Whitt. Team Canada will report to Dunedin, Florida on March 1st where they will begin preparations for the WBC which includes three exhibition games against the Toronto Blue Jays, Philadelphia Phillies and New York Yankees.  Canada will kick off the World Baseball Classic on March 7th at 2pm against the United States at the Rogers Centre in Toronto. About the World Baseball ClassicThe 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. More than 740,000 fans from 48 states and 15 countries attended games – 16 of which sold out – and millions more watched on TV as Team Japan was crowned the first-ever World Baseball Classic Champion. Broadcast by 48 media outlets in 10 languages to 205 countries and territories around the world, the inaugural tournament had 50 official sponsors and 21 official licensees. Media members representing 25 different nations attended the 39 games in seven host venues across three countries/territories. The next tournament will be held in March 2009 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. Team Canada WBC ScheduleWorld Baseball Classic Games Schedule

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Baseball Canada Launchs New Website

  • February 20, 2009

OTTAWA – Baseball Canada unveils its new-look website to the public today, revealing a clean and user-friendly version that will enhance the portfolio of the organization while offering readers more complete knowledge of Baseball Canada’s national teams and development programs. “We felt it was time for a new design of the Baseball Canada website and we hope this will allow us to provide our consumers with a more interactive, picture friendly, information resource of baseball in Canada,” says Jim Baba, Director General of Baseball Canada.  “As we continue to move the sport forward with innovative programs, we must keep up with ongoing changes in an attempt to accomplish that goal.” The website was designed by Adam Debray of BallCharts.com, a Richmond, British Columbia web design company that specializes in personalized sports websites.  The web address will remain the same at www.baseball.ca. Visitors to the site will be able to check out a brand new home page with photo news links and several other interesting links such as news on the junior, senior and women’s national teams, information on all Baseball Canada championship events and alumni, as well as material detailing umpiring and coaching tips. The revamped site, offered in both French and English, is available just as some of the national teams prepare for a busy summer. The World Baseball Classic is first on Baseball Canada’s schedule as the team will report to Dunedin, Florida on March 1st prior to making their way to Toronto for their first game of the tournament against the United States on March 7th at the Rogers Centre.  The final 28-man roster will be announced by Major League Baseball on February 24th. Then, the Junior National Team will be competing in their annual Spring Training and Dominican Summer League camps as well as a summer tour.  The Women’s National Team will also be competing on the international stage this summer and it all concludes with the Senior National Team as they will take on the world at the XXXVIII IBAF World Cup of Baseball, which will be held in countries all over Europe from September 9th-27th.

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World Baseball Classic Media Credential Application Deadline is Friday, February 20th

  • February 18, 2009

OTTAWA - Media credential applications for the North American portion of the 2009 World Baseball Classic are available online at http://credentials.mlb.com.  All applications must be submitted online by Friday, February 20th.  Applications will not be accepted after the deadline. The World Baseball Classic, a 16-team tournament sanctioned by the International Baseball Federation(IBAF) will feature many of the best players in the world competing for their home countries and territories.  The 16 teams invited to participate in the event have been divided into four pools of four teams for the first round of play. The four Round One pools are scheduled to be played in Tokyo, Japan; San Juan, Puerto Rico; Toronto, Canada and Mexico City, Mexico.  Round Two will feature two pools of four teams each and is scheduled to be played in Miami, Florida and San Diego, California.  The Semi-Finals and Final will be played at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. Pool A (Tokyo)    Pool B (Mexico City)      Pool C (Toronto)              Pool D (San Juan) China                       Australia                              Canada                           Dominican RepublicChinese Taipei     Cuba                                      Italy                                  NetherlandsJapan                      Mexico                                   USA                                  PanamaKorea                      South Africa                          Venezuela                       Puerto Rico 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. More than 740,000 fans from 48 states and 15 countries attended games – 16 of which sold out – and millions more watched on TV as Team Japan was crowned the first-ever World Baseball Classic Champion. Broadcast by 48 media outlets in 10 languages to 205 countries and territories around the world, the inaugural tournament had 50 official sponsors and 21 official licensees. Media members representing 25 different nations attended the 39 games in seven host venues across three countries/territories. The next tournament will be held in March 2009 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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Red River Valley Most Recent to be RBI Approved

  • February 13, 2009

OTTAWA – Baseball Canada announces that the Red River Valley Sports League in Winnipeg, Manitoba has become the third minor baseball association in Canada to be approved in the Reaching Baseball Ideals (RBI) standards. “I believe that this will give us more credibility,” says Ollie Schroeder, Treasurer of the RRVSL.  “I think that it is great that we are able to fulfil the requirements as mandated by Baseball Canada.” The Red River Valley Sports League was able to meet the RBI criteria after it implemented the Pitch Count at the Pee-wee and Bantam divisions for the 2008 season. “I’ve been a big proponent in protecting the kids,” says Schroeder.  “I’ve been around for a long time and I’ve seen some pretty ridiculous things.  For some, winning is so important that everything else becomes secondary.” “Fun still has to be at the top of the list,” she adds. “You just can’t use the players to get what you want out of them and then not worry about what happens to them later on as far as injuries and the consequences that come with that.” The association has also mandated that at least one coach per team be certified with the Initiation Level of the NCCP.  They have also been a big promoter of the Rally Cap program, which helped increase the number of girls playing baseball in the region, since they have implemented it three years ago. “I admit when I first heard of Rally Cap I thought how silly it was to have three teams on the field and how would all that work,” says Schroeder, “but then we put it into effect I think it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread for these little kids.” For 2009, RBI accreditations are awarded to local baseball associations that comply with the minimum operating standards in these four areas: Development Programs Membership with Baseball Canada Coaches Training Accessibility An Association can become a Baseball Canada RBI Approved Association in 2009 by meeting these following criteria: The Association is a member in good standing with the Provincial Baseball Association (as recognized by Baseball Canada) and with Baseball Canada through the registration of all players, coaches and umpires participating in the local Association. The Association is fully utilizing the Rally Cap program as the main Initiation program for kids between 5 and 8 The Association is providing support to its coaches by driving them to the Baseball Canada NCCP Programs ensuring that all Rep level coaches are properly certified as per Baseball Canada requirements and that all house league/community programs have at least one coach per team who have completed the Initiation Coach level at minimum The Association is providing access to all programs to boys and girls at any age The Association is in support and using the Baseball Canada pitch counts for the Mosquito and Pee-Wee divisions In order to become a RBI Approved association for 2009, simply send an email to rbi@baseball.ca addressing all the criteria mentioned above.  Baseball Canada will contact you to approve your Association or to ask additional questions.

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Walker, Whitt and Soulliere Head Ball Hall Class of ‘09

  • February 11, 2009

OTTAWA – Larry Walker, Ernie Whitt and Bernie Soulliere, who represent three unique stories leading to three unique roles as they will help lead Team Canada in the upcoming World Baseball Classic in Toronto this March, will reunite in St. Mary’s, Ontario on June 20th when all three will be inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame. “My congratulations go out to Larry, Ernie and Bernie.  They all deserve this wonderful honour,” says Baseball Canada President Ray Carter.  “I’m very proud to say that I am associated with all three of these fine gentlemen.” Walker, a true five-tool player whose career spanned 17 seasons, leads all Canadians in virtually every offensive career category, amassing 383 homeruns, 62 triples and 471 doubles among his 2,160 career hits, while stealing 230 bases along the way.  The five-time All-Star and 1997 National League MVP, who also won seven Gold Glove awards and three batting titles, compiled a career .313 batting average and .565 slugging percentage which is 15th best in major league history.  The Maple Ridge, British Columbia native will be the hitting coach for Team Canada at the WBC. "To me, the key word about this honour is the word 'Canadian,'" says Walker of his enshrinement. "I've tried to never forget where I've come from, even when I played in Colorado or St. Louis following my time in Montreal.  I've always believed in representing my country proudly, and I just love the rest of the Canucks still in the game.  They all are humble, they all rarely talk about themselves, and they all have a tremendous sense of pride when they put that Canadian jersey on.  Since retiring, my priority certainly is to catch up on some valuable missed time owed to my children, but the comradery in the Team Canada clubhouse makes my role with them near impossible to pass over." "Larry is special - so unique, and so down-to-earth, a true Canadian" adds Greg Hamilton, Coach and Director of National Teams with Baseball Canada.  "We are very fortunate to have Larry involved with Baseball Canada and the National Teams program.  His easy-going nature makes him a natural on our coaching staff.  He is so highly respected by all." “Larry has truly set the standard for Canadian position players,” adds Carter.  “Many of the Canadians in the Major Leagues, Minor Leagues and at the amateur level in Canada are playing baseball because of Larry Walker and what he’s done for Canadian baseball.” Whitt, who currently manages in the Phillies farm system, is ranked fourth all-time in the Blue Jays organization in games played with 1,218.  “The most Canadian non-Canadian you will ever meet,” as dubbed by Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame President and CEO Tom Valcke, was always a fan favourite in Toronto.  After retiring as a player, he eventually returned to the Blue Jays organization as a coach for 12 years, including the last four with the Major League club. But some of Whitt’s greatest success in coaching can be found in his time as Manager of Baseball Canada’s Senior National Team.  In his first stint with the team in 1999, he led them to a bronze medal at the Pan Am Games in Winnipeg.  He would follow that up with a second place finish at the 2003 Olympic Qualifier in Panama, earning Canada's first Olympic birth since 1988.  Then at those subsequent Olympic Games in 2004 in Athens, Whitt guided Canada to a fourth place finish.  And Whitt was at the helm of arguably Canada’s greatest victory in international baseball when they defeated the United States in the inaugural World Baseball Classic in 2006.  Canada would finish the first round of that tournament with a 2-1 record but did not advance due to tie-breaker rules. "I'm thrilled to death - I mean, I've got chills running up and down me right now," says an ecstatic Whitt.  “This is something I would never have dreamed of, to be put into another country's Hall of Fame.  It is truly humbling.  In addition to my fond memories with the Blue Jays, I've got to say that I have been very proud to wear the Team Canada uniform, and Canada can be assured we'll be giving everything we have to give in the upcoming Classic.” “Ernie has truly been one of the great leaders for our organization since he’s been on board, and he is a welcomed addition to the Baseball Canada family,” says Carter. “He is the consummate players' manager, fantastic to work with, he garners respect without demanding it, and he is all-inclusive - he involves everybody in the decision-making process,” adds Hamilton. Soulliere, who has helped make Windsor, Ontario one of Canada's true baseball hotbeds, has been volunteering behind the scenes for more than 40 years in amateur baseball circles as well as with numerous provincial and national teams. He coached Windsor teams to four Ontario championships and a pair of national titles in the '70's. He was the Chair when Windsor hosted the World Junior Championship in 1986, 1987 and 1993, and he was the general manager of Team Ontario when it won three consecutive Canada Summer Games gold medals in 1981, 1985 and 1989.  The baseball lifer also served as vice-president with Baseball Canada from 1992-1997, and was the president of Baseball Ontario from 1993-1995.  Soulliere has acted countless times as Team Canada's business manager, and will assume that role again at the WBC. “Wow ... I'm speechless,” says a surprised Soulliere.  “This is a tremendous honour.  So many great people have been inducted before me.  I couldn't be going in with two greater names than Ernie Whitt and Larry Walker.” “I’ve known Bernie ever since I’ve been involved in Canadian baseball and he is simply a tireless worker,” says Carter.  “He’s not a guy who simply says he’s on the team, he really works hard at it.” “We count on him to tie up all of the non-glamorous loose-ends.   He is baseball, and he is Canada,” adds Hamilton.  “The spotlight never finds Bernie Soulliere, but his relentless efforts allow the opportunity for everyone else's star to shine.”  A posthumous induction will also be celebrated as Roy “Doc” Miller of Chatham, Ontario, who played over a century ago and died in 1938, will also be enshrined. All four new members will be inducted during a ceremony on June 20th, starting at 11 am at the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in St. Mary’s, Ontario.

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Yorkton Minor Baseball Becomes RBI Approved

  • February 10, 2009

OTTAWA – Baseball Canada announces that the Yorkton Minor Baseball Association in Saskatchewan has become the second minor baseball association in Canada and first in Saskatchewan to meet the Reaching Baseball Ideals (RBI) criteria. “This is a feather in the cap,” confirms Brian Trollope of the YMBA.  “This shows our community and our surrounding communities that grassroots baseball is important.” The YMBA has incorporated the Rally Cap program for the upcoming 2009 season and according to Trollope, it is the missing piece of the puzzle for the association. “When we were at the Baseball Canada meetings, it really came to light that (the Rally Cap program) is what our young coaches have been wanting for so long.” Yorkton Minor Baseball already asks their coaches to complete the initiation level of the NCCP and that all Rep level coaches comply with the proper certification as per Baseball Canada. Also, the association has implemented Pitch Count form the Mosquito to Bantam levels and have a continually growing enrolment of girls playing baseball in the region. For 2009, RBI accreditations are awarded to local baseball associations that comply with the minimum operating standards in these four areas: Development Programs Membership with Baseball Canada Coaches Training Accessibility An Association can become a Baseball Canada RBI Approved Association in 2009 by meeting these following criteria: The Association is a member in good standing with the Provincial Baseball Association (as recognized by Baseball Canada) and with Baseball Canada through the registration of all players, coaches and umpires participating in the local Association. The Association is fully utilizing the Rally Cap program as the main Initiation program for kids between 5 and 8 The Association is providing support to its coaches by driving them to the Baseball Canada NCCP Programs ensuring that all Rep level coaches are properly certified as per Baseball Canada requirements and that all house league/community programs have at least one coach per team who have completed the Initiation Coach level at minimum The Association is providing access to all programs to boys and girls at any age The Association is in support and using the Baseball Canada pitch counts for the Mosquito and Pee-Wee divisions In order to become a RBI Approved association for 2009, simply send an email to rbi@baseball.ca addressing all the criteria mentioned above.  Baseball Canada will contact you to approve your Association or to ask additional questions.

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Looking Back on a Wonderful Career

  • February 06, 2009

OTTAWA – When you first meet Don Gilbert, you meet an unassuming man who is very kind, gentile and welcoming to everyone.  Those who do not know him have a hard time grasping that this man was the Supervisor of Umpires for Baseball Canada for 12 years. The very humble Lasalle, Ontario native is not one to point out his accomplishments without a little extra prodding.  But what this man has done for umpiring in Canada is beyond extraordinary. Under his watch, umpires in Canada have gained notoriety on the international stage.  More Canadian umpires have been assigned to international tournaments since Gilbert was elected to the position in 1996.  But as mentioned before, the always humble Gilbert deflects the accolades. “The credit should really go to the many people in the provinces and provincial supervisors and the result of me saying ‘can you handle this, can you handle that.’  I got a lot of the credit for it but they did all the work.” Another major achievement was the creation of the Baseball Canada Umpires Operation Manual.  The manual has helped standardize the administration and development of umpires at the national level. “We were able to develop an operations manual that kind of takes away the autonomy from anybody,” explains Gilbert.  “You wouldn’t have a small group of umpires come in and say ‘this is how it’s going to be done.’  It’s become a process based on this document that says ‘this is how is has to be done.’” Gilbert however has done much more for umpires in Canada than simply being a supervisor.  He brings over 30 years experience to the table as an acclaimed umpire.  Gilbert had called games for numerous provincial, national and international tournaments.  His proudest moment came in 2004 when he got the privilege to umpire the gold medal game at the Olympic Games in Athens. “The Olympics gave me a greater appreciation for professional umpires. The type of focus and concentration I had to do day in and day out for that tournament, it gave me a new found respect for professional umpires.” That appreciation was evident in his leadership style according to the man who has replaced Gilbert as Baseball Canada Supervisor of Umpires, Corrie Davis.  “I think that Don truly cared about every umpire in Canada, whether it be a twelve year old in the Maritimes or a Level 5 guy from BC,” says Davis.  “Part of what made him a great leader was the fact that he had empathy for us, he understood the specific challenges that umpires face, and he worked hard to make things easier for us.” ”If you were an umpire, he treated you like family.” More evidence of his empathy comes from Gilbert’s very first game as an umpire back in Ontario for a Mic Mac Junior game. “I was horrible,” recalls Gilbert.  “I was calling pitches in the dirt for strikes.” From that point on, Gilbert got better and grew to become one of the best umpires in Canada.  He has received several accolades, being named Ontario Umpire of the Year in 1992, Baseball Canada Umpire of the Year in 1997 and International Umpire of the Year by the IBAF in 2004.  All that culminated in 2008 when he was enshrined in the Windsor/Essex Sports Hall of Fame. “I was extremely honoured,” says Gilbert.  “That’s not supposed to happen to umpires.” But perhaps more impressive than his personal accomplishments are the achievements he helped build as Baseball Canada Supervisor of Umpires. “Leaders can’t be successful if they lead in a direction that people don’t want to go in,” remarks Davis.  “I think that part of what made Don so successful is that he was able to steer the boat in the same direction that we were paddling in, and at the same time, motivate us to keep going.” “We are indebted to Don for his twelve years of leadership,” adds Davis.  “Our program has grown significantly under his guidance.  I think that the best way that we can thank Don is to take what he’s done for us, build on it, and provide even more opportunities for Canadian umpires to achieve their goals.”

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Felipe: A Mentor For Coaches

  • February 03, 2009

TROIS-RIVIERES, QC - A prominent baseball figure in Québec can be currently found in “La belle province.”  Former Montreal Expos and San Francisco Giants manager Felipe Alou was in Trois-Rivières as the guest speaker at the annual Baseball Québec Coaches Conference.  Baseball Canada contributed to Alou’s appearance by financially supporting Baseball Québec. The first Major League manager to hail from the Dominican Republic discussed the pertinence to favour player development and player success. Over 285 coaches from all over Québec came to the Alphonse Desjardins Sports Complex in Trois-Rivières to hear Felipe Alou preach on baseball.  Alou also praised the Baseball Québec programs and their coaches. “Theses coaches are well versed in the game of baseball,” says a passionate Alou.  “No matter at what level you find yourself, the game is basically the same.” Alou is still with the San Francisco Giants organization, entering his third year as Assistant General Manager with the club. The greatest manager in Montreal Expos history in terms of wins has wonderful memories of his time in Montreal to go along with a couple of sour ones. “My promotion as manager of the Expos and being named the All-Star team manager in 1995 are certainly some of my fondest memories as a Major League manager,” confirms Alou. “I have to admit that I was particularly honoured when baseball awarded me the Manager of the Year in 1994.  But that year also represents the most disappointing moment of my career, obviously because of the strike that shut down the season when we had the best team in baseball.  It still breaks my heart to this day, as I’m sure it does for most fans in Québec and in Canada.” Felipe Alou will be at the helm for the Dominican Republic at the upcoming World Baseball Classic in March.  The Dominicans will play the first round in Puerto Rico.

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Partners

Toronto Blue Jays

The Toronto Blue Jays continue to be an integral partner in the development of Baseball across Canada. The Baseball Canada – Blue Jay partnership extends from the National Teams to grass roots initiatives such as Honda Super Camps, Tournament 12, National Championships and Girls Days. The Blue Jays offer advice, provide expertise and continue to enhance the relationship between professional and amateur baseball in Canada. Please visit: www.bluejays.com

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Tyler O'Neill

Current MLB Team: St. Louis Cardinals
Hometown: Burnaby, BC

Umpire of the Week

Week of July 9, 2018

Andrew (NL)

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.

 Dominic Therrien

 Isabelle Higgins

Long Term Athlete Development (LTAD)

What is LTAD?

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.