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Expecting a Blue Jay’s bounce in minor baseball enrolment

Published on

Barry Wright

A former professional baseball player is hopeful the success of the Toronto Blue Jays this season will have a positive affect on minor ball in Sarnia.

“I think the house league numbers will be up (next season) because of it,” said Joel Ainsworth, a coach in the Sarnia Braves baseball system.

“I think we’re going to have a lot of first time ball players.”

He expects the biggest jump to be among young players—ages seven and eight whose interest with piqued by the admiration and support for the Blue Jays by an entire nation during the post season run.

“Driving around during the playoffs, it was awesome. I saw dads and kids out on the front law playing catch, I saw a lot of Blue Jay hats and I saw the baseball gloves in the schoolyards again. Kids wanted to play baseball, soccer baseball, anything related to baseball,” said the Grade 7 teacher at P.E. McGibbon Public School.

He said the baseball-related sights and sounds around town during the playoffs was reminiscent of the of baseball activity in the city when the Jays won back-to-back World Series championships in 1992 and 1993.

“I think everybody caught the fever—both ball fans and non-ball fans,” said the Los Angeles Dodgers draft pick.

Even during the early portion of the minor hockey season, the talk wasn’t about hockey in the arenas, he noted, but about the exploits of the Blue Jays.

As for the recent headlines about Canada’s baseball team, Ainsworth was “shocked” at the departure of General Manager Alex Anthopoulos, but still believes the Jays will be among the elite teams in Major League baseball in 2016.

He says the success of the team will make the market desirable for free agents like pitcher Zack Greinke, a 19-game winner with the Dodgers this past season.

 

 

 

 

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