(ISN) – VICTORIA, B.C. – The Victoria HarbourCats promised the new Head Coach would be entertaining, and full of energy. Now sit back and get to know Graig Merritt on your home TV screen before the West Coast League season begins – giving Victoria a front-and-centre tie-in to one of the biggest Canadian television events this year.
Merritt, a former professional baseball player and now a Tampa Bay Rays scout, is entering his first season as coach of the Victoria HarbourCats. Prior to getting here, he’ll be busy, as he has been named to the cast of the wildly popular reality show Big Brother Canada, which will air this spring on Global TV. The first episode is slated for March 23.
The team will be holding a viewing party for the “Series 3” premiere, at the Tally Ho Sports Bar VIP Room, starting at 7 pm on March 23 – all fans, media and reality show junkies are welcome to attend and see Victoria’s connection to a major TV event kick off.
Big Brother Canada 3 is scheduled to air three times a week (Mondays at 8pm, Wednesdays at 9pm, and Sundays at 7pm) on Global TV. There are online live feeds (free!), an “After Dark” offering on Slice, and the “Big Brother Canada Side Show” also available on Thursdays on Slice. In total, 25 hours of non-stop drama will be broadcast nationally every week. Wall-to-wall cameras and microphones capture their every move, with the winner pocketing $100,000.
“Graig has a lot of personality, that’s for sure, and I’m sure he’ll be one of the interesting characters on the show,” said General Manager Jim Swanson. “This will be a great chance for the people of Victoria to get to know the man who will be leading our team on the field as the HarbourCats begin their third season in the West Coast League.”
Merritt, a 36-year-old Canadian from Pitt Meadows, B.C., is now “in the house,” believed to be somewhere near Toronto, and is sequestered, unavailable to media. While on the show, he is not allowed contact with anyone, including the team’s front office. Swanson and Pitching Coach Alec Adame will oversee the HarbourCats’ roster prior to the start of the season.
Merritt is one of 15 ‘guests’ for this third season of Big Brother Canada, and more than three million viewers watched “Season 2.” House guests are not allowed to have any contact with the outside world, and the objective is to be the weekly ‘HOH’ (head of household) or earn ‘POV’ (power of veto). HOH winners are immune from eviction, but have to nominate people who end up ‘on the block’ for an eviction vote.
“I have known about this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Graig since late last summer when we competed together and won gold at the Baseball Canada Senior Championship in Newfoundland, so we had a chance to plan our recruiting and player-side administration knowing this was likely to happen,” said Swanson. “We have been able to announce 36 of the 39 signed players to date, as paperwork has come in, and myself and Alec are glad to pick up some of Graig’s usual pre-season duties while he is involved with Big Brother Canada.”
Merritt is expected to be done with Big Brother in time to report to Victoria for the HarbourCats season. At worst, he could miss the first couple days of pre-season, and plans are laid out to take care of any issues that may arise.
“I have full trust and confidence in our coaching staff, and I’ll jump in myself to fill in any gaps so we can get the season off on the right foot,” said Swanson. “We are excited – we get to look forward to two seasons this spring.”
HARBOURCATS HOME GAME TICKETS ON SALE, ON-LINE
HarbourCats fans can get to the front of the line now by going online to purchase tickets for the 2015 season. Popular dates include: Opening Day (June 5), Father’s Day (June 21), the added number of day games this season, and special Fireworks Games, slated for June 6, June 30, and August 3. The first exhibition game is May 31. www.harbourcats.com/tickets