My weekly look at some Canadian baseball stories:
– It was a classy move by the organizers of the Toronto Blue Jays’ two exhibition games at Olympic Stadium on March 28 and 29 to invite Daniel Plamondon, the Montreal Expos bat boy from 1975 to 1979, back to work in the visiting clubhouse. Plamondon, now 56, befriended many of the Expos players during his tenure with the club and developed a special bond with Gary Carter that I wrote about for CBC in February 2012. Plamondon, who now works as a researcher in the workplace safety field in Montreal, was reunited with former Expo Dan Warthen, who’s now the New York Mets pitching coach. Plamondon had a locker beside Warthen at Olympic Stadium in 1977.
– On March 29, top Blue Jays prospect Aaron Sanchez struck out the side in the ninth inning against the Mets at Olympic Stadium in his last spring appearance with the big league club. In all, he tossed 15-1/3 shutout innings for the Jays this spring. His dominance continued in his first start with the Jays’ Double-A New Hampshire Fisher Cats on Thursday, when he allowed just one hit in five shutout innings against the New York Yankees’ Double-A Trenton Thunder.
– It’s interesting to note that the Chicago Cubs’ Triple-A Iowa Cubs are being led by two former Blue Jays coaches: Marty Pevey is the manager and Bruce Walton is the pitching coach.
– And two former Montreal Expos are in charge of the Cincinnati Reds’ Double-A Pensacula Blue Wahoos: Delino Deshields is the manager and Jeff Fassero is the pitching coach.
– You’ve probably read stories about players who have finally cracked a big league roster after toiling in the minors for eight or 10 years, but how about someone waiting 36 years to earn their first major league assignment? That’s just one of the reasons that Chris Jones’s story about Kansas City Royals coach Mike Jirschele in the most recent issue of ESPN Magazine is one of the most inspiring (and heartbreaking at times) sports stories I’ve ever read. Please take the time to read it.
– Seven years ago today, former big leaguer Ed Bahr, who was born in Rouleau, Sask., passed away. To read more about his career, you can visit my Cooperstowners in Canada Facebook page.
– According to Baseball Canada, 10 Canadians were on big league rosters to start the season. Perhaps the most surprising name on that list is Burnaby, B.C., native Jim Adduci. After 10 minor league seasons, the Canuck outfielder, who was a 42nd round pick of the Miami Marlins in 2003, made his big league debut with the Texas Rangers on September 1, 2013. He would suit up for 17 games with the Rangers last season and hit .258. He made the Rangers this year after a strong spring (.315 in 28 games). So far, he has recorded two hits and two RBIs in three at bats this season.
– If you were wondering what Toronto Blue Jays player is making the most money this season, USA Today released a list of all MLB player salaries on March 31. The $19 million that Mark Buehrle will receive from the Jays makes him the club’s highest paid player, while second baseman Ryan Goins is club’s lowest paid player. He’ll make $501,900 in 2014.
– If you haven’t already done so, please “LIKE” the Cooperstowners in Canada Facebook page. I update this page regularly with links to Canadian baseball stories. Thanks again for your support.