by Jim Swanson
March 13, 2014, Victoria (ISN) – The Greater Victoria Baseball Association (GVBA) and the Victoria HarbourCats of the West Coast League are pleased to announce they have added to their existing partnership, to bring the Toronto Blue Jays to Victoria for an exciting two days of youth-focused instruction.
The list of the five instructors scheduled to attend is headlined by Hall of Fame second baseman Roberto Alomar, regarded by many as the best second baseman in baseball history. Other instructors will be Duane Ward, closer for the 1993 World Series champions, All-Star outfielder Lloyd Moseby and outfielder Brian McRae, who played for the Royals, Cubs, Mets, Rockies and Blue Jays over a 10-season career. Also part of the instructional team will be Jesse Barfield, an outfielder with the Blue Jays for nine of his 12 MLB seasons, leading the American League in home runs in 1986 and playing in that season’s all-star game. Barfield hit 241 career home runs and had one of the best outfield arms in baseball history.
HarbourCats players and coaches will augment the instructional team. The camp will be open to the public for viewing.
“This is clearly an exciting time for baseball on the Island as the Blue Jays bring some of the greatest players in their history here to Victoria,” said Fraser Campbell, President of the GVBA. “The skills these former players bring will cover pitching, hitting, infield play and outfield play, and it couldn’t be a better mix. We are so pleased to have the Blue Jays coming here.”
The Blue Jays will be at Royal Athletic Park, home of the HarbourCats, on July 2-3, part of a 25-city national series. The Toronto Blue Jays, who have successfully carried out a stated mandate to grow the game across the country, have previously hosted Super Camp events in Prince George, Kelowna, Vancouver and Nanaimo, teaching the skills of the game to more than 1,000 B.C. players. This is the first time the Blue Jays have held a camp in Victoria.
“This is outstanding news that will bring even more attention to baseball in Victoria, and augment the work the HarbourCats do with our Cats Camps,” said HarbourCats Head Coach Dennis Rogers, the former manager of the Vancouver Canadians. “We look forward to working with the Blue Jays and having our players and coaches provide instructional support for this event.”
The Blue Jays accept registrations directly through their website (www.bluejays.com, http://toronto.bluejays.mlb.com/tor/baseball_academy/honda_super_camps.jsp), and players receive special Blue Jays shirts and other gifts. The cost per child is $190.
“We work hard to team with youth baseball in Victoria and surrounding regions, to make sure our program is benefitting grassroots efforts,” said HarbourCats General Manager Jim Swanson, who has previously instructed with the Blue Jays at camps in Prince George, Kelowna and Vancouver. “When you put the kids first, things happen the right way. It’s why the HarbourCats last year donated more than $25,000 to youth baseball through our 50/50 program, and it’s why we’re excited about announcements we plan to make soon that will tell the story of how we plan to expand our Cats Camps program to bring even greater benefit to the kids, and to the coaches.”