Spring isn’t quite here yet, but it’s already in the air. Just ask local baseball fans.
Those eagerly awaiting the Major League Baseball season are aware that spring training has already begun – and once again hopes are riding high for a strong season from the Toronto Blue Jays.
Fans of minor baseball should know that planning is well underway for the start of the local season. At the Nanaimo Minor Baseball Association’s annual general meeting held prior to Christmas, Mike Holyk was elected as the new head of minor baseball in town. Others on the executive as past-president Scott Leaf, first vice-president Glenn Buckle and second vice-president Jereme MacKinnon. Treasurer is Darsh Bligh, association secretary is Dave Munger and registrar is Dave Humphrey.
Also on the executive committee are Wahid Ali, Brandi Walton, Doug Neff, Diane Laukkanen, Jeff Stevens and Jason Vance.
Registration is now open for those wishing to play minor baseball this coming season, with fees ranging from $95-195 depending on age division.
For young beginners in the t-ball (born 2010-11) division, MacKinnon is the division manager and games will be on Tuesdays and Fridays at Merle Logan field. Next step up is the rookie (born 2009) league, coordinated by Darren Cavan. Games will happen Mondays and Thursdays at Harewood Centennial Park.
The tadpole (born 2007-08) group will play at Departure Bay and Comox Gyro Park on Mondays to Fridays, under the direction of league manager Rene Gutierrez. Kerry Anderson is manager of the mosquito (born 2005-06) division, with games scheduled Mondays through Thursdays at Gyro Park and Serauxmen Fields on Third Street.
Peewee (born 2003-04) players will take the field Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Third Street fields and Geoff Linn is division manager. For this group, spring rep league and summer all-stars are also a possibility. Then comes the bantam (born 2001-02) league, managed by Doug Neff, with games Mondays and Wednesdays at Robins Park and Third Street fields. Rep teams and summer all-stars will also be formed. The oldest age group of NBMA is the midget (born 1998-2000) division. Game days will be Mondays, Wednesdays and Sundays at Third Street fields and Serauxmen Stadium.
To prepare for the new season, winter training sessions are being held for players in the rookie, tadpole and mosquito divisions. Cost is $30, with upcoming practice sessions to be held at the Arbutus Meadows indoor arena from 3-5 p.m. on Sunday (Feb. 28), March 6 and March 13.
Lee Clark is the NMBA director in charge of all-star teams this year. Minor ball is hoping to field competitive teams at the peewee AA/AAA, bantam AAA and midget AAA levels. Player evaluations for these teams start March 3.
For all levels of play, registration forms are available at www.baseballnanaimo.com. For information, stop by Kirby’s Source for Sports from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. this coming Saturday and Sunday.
Whatever your sport, a reminder in closing to play your hardest, play fair, and show good sportsmanship.