Back to Back T12s for Garon
By Matt Betts
Jean Francois Garon was excited to display his athleticism and baseball talent for pro scouts and college recruiters for the second year in a row. He describes himself as fearless player who feels like a kid every time he is on the diamond.
Just don’t expect the 6-foot-3 outfielder from Terrebonne Que. to be in an indoor facility all year round.
“I have never been in a kind of baseball program where you play all year long,” Garon said before the tourney began. “I am someone who thinks people should NOT play baseball 12 months a year until a certain time. I think being a multiple sport athlete will pay off in the future.”
Garon credits being a multiple sport athlete to his success in baseball. He played hockey for 10 years and was a very successful member of his high school football team. He began playing baseball around age five and admits it has always been his favorite sport.
Garon might be on to something.
Invited to the inaugural Tournament 12 in 2013 he was not sure what to expect, saying “I did not even know about it until I was invited.”
The invite to this prestigious tournament is not the main highlight of young Garon’s already impressive baseball career. Competing for his country with the Junior National Team tops the list thus far. When asked about this experience Garon did not hesitate to express his feelings with pride.
“Just a huge honour to be able to jump on the field every day and represent your country,” Garon said. “So far there is nothing I can compare to playing for my country. Being a part of the Junior National Team is the highlight of my career without any doubts. This year I would say being on the field during the national anthem with the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre on Canada Day was my favorite moment.”
So how does his experience with the National team help this rising star when it comes to the upcoming Tournament 12? For one, playing on a big stage in an impressive stadium should not be a distraction.
“Playing with the Junior National Team brought me a lot of experience, especially when it comes to playing on nice fields,” Garon said. “This year I should be able to focus more on my game than the stadium. Also, I will know a lot of players from other teams so it will be a lot of fun.”
It is clear that Garon is well supported on his way to the Tournament 12. His father, Jean Pierre, has supported his son through everything he has done.
“I put JF in baseball when he was about five years old,” Jean Pierre said. “He always loved playing ball and the interest grew with him. Focusing on baseball was his choice this year I think. I respected that decision and I will always continue to support him.”
He is obviously very proud of his son both on and off the field.
“As a father it’s hard to be objective but I think JF is a talented athlete who enjoys the sport. He loves to play. He is a player with great potential who developed skills athleticism in several high level sports” Jean Pierre said. “He is motivated, a competitor, a hard worker, coachable, a leader, team player, works well under pressure and is a clutch performer.”
Whether he can be objective or not, those are all traits that have helped young JF to where he is and landed him on a Tournament 12 roster.
Garon the son is happy he can do it all again.
“A close buddy of mine (Vincent Beauregard, a pitcher for Quebec) called me when the first 10 players of the Quebec team were announced and he told me we were going to T12 again this year,” Garon said. “So I am happy we can both live it together twice.”
“I see myself being a major leaguer one day. Whether I have to go to college or sign out of high school, I am willing to do whatever it takes to play in The Show” Garon admits.
The opportunity to participate in the Tournament 12 will certainly bring him one step closer to achieving his dream.