My weekly opinions, observations and rants about some Canadian baseball stories (Please follow me on Twitter: @kevinglewsports):
If I’m Toronto Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos, one of my first calls this off-season is to former Montreal Expos great Tim Raines to offer him a role as a baserunning consultant. The Jays’ baserunning this season has been inexcusably bad. Raines, who’s the director of player development for the independent Can-Am League’s Newark Bears, owns 808 career stolen bases and a stolen base percentage (84.7 per cent success rate) that ranks as one of the best in big league history. The Oakland A’s employ Rickey Henderson in a similar capacity.
Scott Crawford, director of operations at the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in St. Marys, Ont., is excellent at pointing out the milestones of Canadian players. After Montreal native and New York Yankees backstop Russell Martin belted his career-high 20th homer on Friday night, Crawford noted that this was the first time a Canadian catcher has belted 20 homers in a big league season.
Crawford also noted in a Facebook post on Saturday that Seattle Mariners outfielder Mike Saunders, who hails from Victoria, B.C., is one home run away from becoming the fourth Canadian to record 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases in a season. The other three are Larry Walker (1993, 1997), Corey Koskie (2001) and Jason Bay (2005).
Speaking of the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame, the ball shrine closes for the season this Saturday. A tip of the hat to Crawford, the many volunteers and the excellent tour guides at the museum this summer – including Stephen Harding, Zach Harmer and Andrew North.
I’m also excited to see that former Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame president Tom Valcke has started a promising new baseball academy in Stratford, Ont. If you know someone who’s thinking about a collegiate or professional baseball career, Valcke is probably the most qualified guy in Canada to help them achieve their dream. For more information, follow this link: http://www.canadianbaseballnetwork.com/articles/icase-canadian-academy-of-sports-excellence-opens-in-stratford-in-2013/
It’s nice to see that San Francisco Giants outfielder Melky Cabrera, who was suspended 50 games for violating MLB’s drug policy, has opted to remove himself from the race for the National League batting title. I’m still waiting for Alex Rodriguez, who has admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs from 2001 to 2003, to surrender his 2003 MVP Award to Carlos Delgado, who finished a close second in the voting. I’m not holding my breath.
Guelph, Ont., native Scott Diamond will start for the Minnesota Twins in their season finale at the Rogers Centre on Wednesday. This will mark his first big league appearance on Canadian soil.
Anyone who watched Dan Duquette build the 1994 Montreal Expos into World Series favourites shouldn’t be surprised at the job that he has done as Baltimore Orioles GM to convert the previously hapless club into a contender.
Blue Jays fans may have booed former American League Rookie of the Year Eric Hinske out of town in 2006, but the six-foot-two, 235-pound utility player has had the last laugh. With his Atlanta Braves headed for the post-season, Hinske has now been part of playoff teams in five of his last six seasons and collected two World Series rings. Last season was the only year that his team didn’t advance to the post-season and the Braves were eliminated on the final day of the regular season.