Tagged: Ontario

March 14th: One of the Greatest Moments of my Life … Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame

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Oh yes!  On Saturday I got to touch the same plate that Joe Carter crossed when he hit the World Series winning homerun in 1993.  It was an enormous rush of shear ectasy and elation, as I touched the ledgendary plate.  For a minute, I relived that homerun all over again.  It truly was one of the greatest feelings I could ever have.  In this picture, you are witnessing one of the greatest moments in my history, along with Canadian Baseball History.   

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This is a good picture my girlfriend caught.  I’m saying, “Can I touch it?” to the tour guide accompaning us through the Hall.  I even have my hand out shaking as I say it – imagining the beautiful moment that my hand was about to encounter.  Phew, what a day!!!

The Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame houses many interesting pieces of baseball history in Canada.
   I couldn’t think of a more perfect follow-up to my previous post, where I lashed out at an American writer that generalized all Canadians into having a lack of respect/committment towards baseball.  The St. Marys, Ontario site has many reasons why Canadians, or even Americans, should feel proud to be a fan of the great game.  Some of the information our tour guide, Scott, through at me was amazing.  You would be amazed to hear that Babe Ruth hit one of his first pro homeruns in Canada, that Ruth credited a Canadian with making him the hitter that he was and that Jackie Robinson broke the colour barrier in Canada playing his first pro game in Montreal.  Canada is where Hall of Fame coach, Sparky Anderson, honed his managrial skills, it is where Tommy Lasorda PLAYED most of his career, and it is where baseball ledgends like Fergie Jenkins, Tip O’Neil (hit somewhere near .425 in the late 1800’s) Larry Walker and George Selkirk (the player that replace Babe Ruth in right field for the Yankees) were born.  The Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame is a magical place, smaller and with noticeable less assets, but equally as impressive as Cooperstown in my estimation.  Here are some of the highlights from my trip:

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The outside of the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame is similar to a house in the town of St. Marys.  This adds to the nostalgia and historic atomosphere of the building.

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Here I am in the actual Hall.  Not only are Canadians recognized here, but others with contributions to Canadians Baseball History – such as, Joe Carter, current Blue Jay manager Cito Gaston, Tony Fernandez and Cooperstown Hall of Fame catcher Gary Carter, to name a few.

 
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“Fergie was the man!” from the words of my tour guide.  He is a Canadian Baseball icon, and an excellent pitcher in his time.  Fergie Jenkins was the prototypical finess pitcher.  He won 20 games seven different times, along won the Cy Young in 1971.  He won 20 games in six straight years from 1967-1972!!  Yes indeed!  He was the man, and has his own section in the Canadian Baseball Hall!     

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Home plate taken away from the last game at Olympic Stadium in Montreal was a sad thing to look at.  The Expos have a large feature exhibit in the Hall.

 

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Equally as sad was this glove from the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.  Knowing that baseball may be taken out of the Olympics is what made looking at this a difficult thing for me.  I have loved cheering for Canada in the Olympics, where hometown stars like Stubby Clapp and Peter Orr emerged.  A great number of the international competitions that Canada competed in are featured here in this exhibit. 

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My girlfriend, who was taking the pictures, saw this as one of her favorite exhibits.  It is chubby Expo bobblehead along with the Expos display.  The cuteness of this bobblehead lives on, even after the fallen Expos franchise.               

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Among the many great displays, was a number of pieces from the short-lived 1940’s women’s league that was featured in the movie, “A League of Their Own.”  A large percentage of the players in that league were actually recruited from Canada, many might not know. 

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My girlfriend loved the pink uniform.  This exhibit was very well done.

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On the right:  Tip O’Neil is a ledgendary Canadian member of the CBHOF.  He played in late 1800’s and put up astronomical numbers.  The Tip O’Neil Award is given to the most outstanding Canadian baseball player every year.  On the left:  Jack Graney was the first major league player to appear in a game with a number on his uniform.  He later became the first major league player to become a broadcastor.  The Jack Graney award is presented periodically to journalists deemed to have made notable contributions to promoting baseball in Canada.

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Member of the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame and one of the greatest Blue Jays to ever put on the uniform has his own section here.  Tony Fernandez is the all-time Jays leader in hits, he has come back to play for the Jays three different times and has always been an exciting fan favorite.  With his looping, but deadly accurate sidearm throws from shortstop, #1 Tony was definately one of my favorites.  I got a little excited over this display.

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Here is some Blue Jay Bling, Bling!!!  Hope that you weren’t blinded.  Don’t worry, I will get our healthcare system will cover it.

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Larry Walker and Justin Morneau are the only two Canadians to win MVP awards.  They are honoured here in this section.  More current Canadian players are recognized here.  There is a lot of neat Justin Morneau stuff, like the first bat he used in the majors, a Canadian Cooper made bat FYI.

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I wore my replica Brooklyn Dodgers jersey here because I knew that they had a great exhibit for Jackie Robinson.  Like I mentioned before, Jackie played his first pro game in Montreal.    

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The Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in St. Marys, Ontario also hosts a number of minor baseball tournaments, and other games of all kind.  They have a MLB sized field with lights, and beside one field, are donated seats from the old Exhibition Stadium in Toronto.  I sat in a couple, and it brought back memories from when I was a kid.        

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We topped off the day a the Hall of Fame, the best way I know how.  With a portabello burger loaded with cheese, and a side of sweet potatoe fries from a restaurant called the Creamery in St. Marys.

There is so much to see in the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame, I could not possibly fit it all in one blog post.  If you love baseball in Canada, general baseball history and want a really cool place to visit, St. Marys and the CBHOF provided me with that and more!!  They do guided tours, and the people there have loads interesting of information. 

Anyway, this trip made my week, it made my month, it made my year!!     

My Fantasy Baseball Team

I wanted to do an entry about my team because they have been a big part of my baseball experience this season.  There is nothing like Fantasy Baseball to give you the motivation to keep ‘up to date’ on all the stats, scores, prospects and player movement in MLB. 

My team is called the Homer City Hawks, (its my last name followed by the City and the Hawks was the name of team that owned my team prior to me getting in this pool).  I thought it was a pretty good name with a nice ring to it.

Anyway, Im in a 16 team keeper league that has been going on since the early 90’s. At that
baseball_free.jpg time Fantasy Baseball wasn’t even on the internet and it was in its infancy.  The league originated in London, Ontario (great baseball town, former home of the London Tigers and close to the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in St. Thomas, Ontario).  The league is called the Sherwood Forest Baseball League and we play on CBSsportline.com.  It is highly competitve, guys fly from B.C. and Manitoba down to Ontario to participate in the one day draft event. 

The format is weekly and yearly.  It is points based, so 1 to 16 in the categories of (K’s, WHIP, Saves, SBs, HRs, AVG, RBIs, Wins, Runs.  Pretty standard.  

My dilemma, right now, is the keeper part.  We have to select 8 keepers at the beginning of next season and I’m indecisive on who I should keep?  I can only lose a certain amount of guys, depending on how I finish.  I took over a team with many holes and various problems.  I’ve tried to rebuild them into a winner, but right now, I’m in 8th place in the 16 team league.  Anyway, this is the 2008 Homer City Hawks.  Who do you think I should keep?  What are my strengths/weaknesses??  if you are reading? 

Starting Lineup September 11, 2008

C Josh Bard SD, Salary 3

C Taylor Teagarden TEX, 1  (i’m very thin at Catcher something I have to address Teagarden is a good prospect though)

1B Justin Morneau MIN, 17

Justin Morneau - Minnesota Twins

2B Rickie Weeks MIL, 9 (don’t know if I should keep him.  He has been pretty bad, a lot of potenial though)

3B Mark Reynolds ARI, 22 (low AVG, but a lot of homers)

MI Christian Guzman WAS, 1 (don’t know???)

SS Alexei Ramirez, CWS, 1 (this guy is on the verge of doing some special things)

Chicago White Sox Manager Ozzie Guillen, left, welcomes Alexei Ramirez, and Jim Thome to the dugout after the pair scored on a double by A.J. Pierzynski during the sixth inning of their baseball game against the Toronto Blue Jays in Chicago, Wednesday, Sept. 10, 2008.

CI Mark DeRosa, CHC, 14 (gotta keep him, he can play every position)

Mark DeRosa - Chicago Cubs

OF Bobby Abreu, NYY, 37 (decline??)

OF Vladimir Guerrero, ANA, 45 (decline??)

OF Marlon Byrd, TEX, 1 (solid season thus far, don’t know if he is in their future plans?)

OF Ryan Church, NYM, 3 (He might be special next year, if he can stay healthy)

Ryan Church - New York Mets

OF Brian Giles, SD, 11

DH Daniel Murphy, NYM, 1

PITCHERS

SP Colin Balester, WAS, 1

SP Dave Bush, MIL, 9

SP John Lackey, ANA, (Is this guy on the decline???  Some bad starts recently) 

SP Ricky Nolasco, FLA, 1 (didn’t think I would keep him, but might have to now.  He has been outstanding)

Florida Marlins starting pitcher Ricky Nolasco throws in the eighth inning of a baseball game with the Philadelphia Phillies, Wednesday, Sept. 10,  2008, in Philadelphia. Nolasco struck out eight in 7  2-3 innings as the Marlins went on to win 7-3, taking two of the three games in the series.

SP Ubaldo Jimenez, COL, 10 (rocky year in Colorado, still young and gets high K’s, don’t know?) 

SP Oliver Perez, NYM, 19 (man, is this guy up and down)

SP Chris Young, SD, 9

SP Zach Jackson, CLE, 1

RP Bobby Jenks, CWS, 5 (he is shut down)

Bobby Jenks - Chicago White Sox

BENCH RESERVES

OF Milton Bradley, TEX, 13 (Was this year a fluke?  He was very good though, injured now however.)

C Michael Barrett, SD, 13

C Matt Treanor, FLA, 1

1B Chris Carter, BOS, 1

3B Mike Lamb, MIL, 1

OF Jody Gerut, SD, 1

1B Randy Ruiz, MIN, 1

BENCH PITCHERS

SP Kevin Millwood, TEX, 15

SP Kenny Rogers, DET, 19

SP Jarrod Washburn, SEA, 1

RP C.J. Wilson, TEX, 1

RP Rafeal Perez, CLE, 1

SP Micah Owings, ARI, 5

MINORS

C Brett Anderson, STL

SP Brett Cecil, TOR

SP Kevin Pucetas, SF

Active: 23, Reserve: 13, Injured: 1, Minors: 3, Active Salary: 230, Total Salary: 307 of a possible 360

My goal is to keep ‘value guys’ with low salary.  Are Abreu or Vlad on the decline???  Things I have to think about.  The guys that I’m going to keep, as it stands currently, are in bold.  I should be looking for pitching in the draft, so I’m going to hang onto a lot of my hitters.  Church or Bradley is a tough call for me??