Toronto Blue Jays were present for Baseball Week in Nanaimo festivities and Nanaimo Minor Baseball’s president says the MLB team has aided the sport’s growth in Canada.
As part of Baseball Week, Honda Super Camps were held July 24 and 25 featuring Jays alumni, including Roberto Alomar, second baseman on the 1992 and 1993 World Series teams. Mike Holyk, NMBA president, said those championships were instrumental in establishing baseball in the north.
“Certainly for the generation, and I was part of that generation growing up, it grew the sport,” said Holyk. “The Montreal Expos had some traction in Canada, but I think it made Toronto Canada’s team. I think everyone older than 35 … remembers those championship teams and the home run that Joe Carter hit. The generation we have now here at the camp probably doesn’t realize the impact; they have to go to Youtube to see all that.”
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Holyk said the week is about promoting baseball in the Harbour City, including the Serauxmen Stadium Amateur Baseball Association’s efforts to renovate Serauxmen Stadium.
“We were planning an event, the Blue Jays were coming to town, we’re fortunate to have a relationship with Robbie Alomar and his agent … so it all kind of came together,” said Holyk. “We thought it’s a great way to highlight, not just one level of baseball in Nanaimo, but from five years old to the men and everything in between and the fact the Blue Jays are here just enhances it.
“So I think the goal is just to shine a light on baseball in this community and what we we’d like to be able to do with Serauxmen Stadium.”
On Tuesday at the stadium, a charity softball game was held in support of Alomar’s Foundation 12 charity. A team managed by Ricky Romero emerged victorious, winning 11-1 against a squad managed by J.P. Arencibia.
GAME ON … Baseball Week in Nanaimo culminates Friday when the Victoria HarbourCats of the West Coast League play an exhibition against a Nanaimo all-star team. That game is a 6 p.m. start at Serauxmen Stadium. Tickets cost $10 for adults, and children under 13 get in free.