Canadian Baseball Attendance, 2019

the nat

The Blue Jay affiliated Vancouver Canadians again lead the country in minor league / summer collegiate attendance in 2019 (courtesy Daily Hive).

Here is my sixth annual look at baseball attendance across Canada. Here I cover all levels from Minor League Baseball, independent baseball and collegiate summer leagues.

The figures are the average attendance per game. An “opening” is a single admission to the ballpark, either it be a single game or a doubleheader. I also mention if average attendance is up or down from last year.

  1. Vancouver Canadians, Northwest League (6210 / 38 openings), down from 6292
  2. Winnipeg Goldeyes, American Association (4079 / 48 openings), down from 4477
  3. Okotoks Dawgs, Western Canadian Baseball League (3937 / 26 openings), up from 3676
  4. Quebec Capitales, Can-Am League (2381 / 53 openings), down from 2386
  5. Victoria HarbourCats, West Coast League (2311 / 27 openings), down from 2318
  6. Edmonton Prospects, Western Major Baseball League (2102 / 26 openings), up from 2053
  7. Ottawa Champions, Can-Am League (1798 / 49 openings), down from 1831
  8. Trois-Rivieres Aigles, Can-Am League (1677 / 51 openings), down from 1869
  9. Lethbridge Bulls, Western Major Baseball League (1022 / 24 openings), up from 992
  10. Kelowna Falcons, West Coast League (883 / 25 openings), down from 1025
  11. Thunder Bay Border Cats, Northwoods League (837 / 36 openings), up from 823
  12. Medicine Hat Mavericks, Western Canadian Baseball League (794 / 28 openings), down from 900
  13. Fort McMurray Giants, Western Canadian Baseball League (593 / 26 openings), up from 578
  14. Regina Red Sox, Western Canadian Baseball League (589 / 27 openings), down from 732
  15. Wheat City Whiskey Jacks, Expedition League (390 / 29 openings), new team
  16. Moose Jaw Miller Express, Western Canadian Baseball League (355 / 25 openings), up from 351
  17. Swift Current 57s, Western Canadian Baseball League (320 / 28 openings), down from 390
  18. Weyburn Beavers, Western Canadian Baseball League (318 / 27 openings), up from 299
  19. Brooks Bombers, Western Canadian Baseball League (191 / 25.5 openings), up from 181
  20. Yorkton Cardinals, Western Canadian Baseball League (144 / 26 openings), down from 184
  21. Melville Millionaires, Western Canadian Baseball League (123 / 25 openings), up from 124

The only Intercounty League team with reported attendance is the Welland Jackfish. They averaged 57 fans over 18 home dates.

The breakdown is 11 teams went down in attendance, 9 went up plus there was on new team added to the mix.  The Vancouver Canadians continue to lead the country in high level baseball attendance (excluding the Blue Jays, obviously).

Next season, the Can-Am League will merge into the Frontier League, Ottawa will not be part of that new merger for the 2020 season.

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Darren Doucette Drafted By Cardinals (1992)

1992 doucette

Doucette spent the 1992 season with the Hamilton Cardinals.

Most of the information in this post is from the Daily News archives from June 1992.

On June 1, 1992 Doucette was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 25th round (699th overall) in the MLB Amateur Draft.  Doucette, 20 years old at the time, was playing for the Dartmouth Moosehead Dry of the Nova Scotia Senior League that spring after finishing his college season at Ulster College in New York state.  During the college season he hit .308 with four homers and 31 RBI in 37 games.  He was a NCAA Division 3 All-American.  He had received two scholarship offers from Division 1 schools but signed a contract with St. Louis instead.

Doucette would sign a minor league contract the next week and reported to the Cardinals’ New York Penn League affiliate in Hamilton, Ontario (the Redbirds).  He would receive $800 a month with a four figure signing bonus.  On June 15, Doucette got a single in the seventh inning on opening day (against the St. Catherines Blue Jays) in a 1-0 win.  He lead the team in home runs and RBI for much of the season until an arm injury ended his rookie campaign.

Quotes:

  • “I am excited, I’ll, tell you that.  I wasn’t expecting St. Louis” – Doucette, on getting drafted.
  • “I just got my bags unpacked, now they’re almost packed again” – Doucette, on returning from college, then heading away to Hamilton.
  • “The Cardinals took my family to dinner and afterwards we went over the contract from about 10 pm to 4 am.  (The length of discussions) wasn’t a matter of not being happy with the offer.  We had to go over a lot of details.  There was a lot of reading between the lines.”
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Hello Canada, and Baseball Fans in the United States and Mauritius

world views

Countries in pink are where Maritime Pro Ball has at least one view.

The stats pages for WordPress includes a map and list of countries where people have viewed your posts. It also includes the option of seeing the all-time lists of where people are viewing your material. The two countries that have viewed these pages the most are not surprisingly, Canada and the United States. The top ten is rounded out by Brazil, Australia, Netherlands, United Kingdom, India, Russia, Mexico and the Czech Republic. Not bad for a site that specialized in Maritime baseball. Granted, I do expand to other sports from time to time and do some general baseball stuff.

The most intriguing thing is some countries where there are only one or two hits from. These include the likes of Aruba, Guyana, Mongolia, Belarus, Mauritius and “European Union”. I even have hits from Communist countries like China, Vietnam and yes, Cuba. Other countries where I have hits from include (but are not limited to): the UAE, Cayman Islands, Kazakhstan, Singapore, Jersey, Bahrain & Bermuda. In total people from 89 countries (including the ambiguous European Union) have visited since blog since I launched it in 2013. Much of the world is covered, with the biggest holes being Africa and the eastern part of the Middle East.

In case you are wondering, Mauritius is an island in the Indian Ocean about 2000 km off the coast of Africa. It gets my vote as the most obscure country where a hit has been registered for this blog. The title of this post is obviously a reference to Foster Hewitt’s opening to Hockey Night in Canada, “Hello Canada, and hockey fans in the United States and Newfoundland.” Speaking of Newfoundland, my post on Newfoundland connections to Major League Baseball is another popular post on this blog.

The most recent country to record a visit to the blog is Iceland. Which is strange as I was just thinking the other day, “Wouldn’t it be fun if someone from Iceland visited the blog.” A couple of days later, I registered a hit from there. My ultimate fantasy would be getting a hit from the Pitcairn Islands, that would be wild as the islands are in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, hundreds of kilometers from the nearest civilization. The population of the islands is only 50. Aside from that, it is fun to see where people are viewing this blog from.

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Atlantic Canadians Playing College Ball, 2000

2000 year

My annual lists of Atlantic Canadians playing college baseball in the United States tend to be one of my more popular posts in terms of hits.  I am going to expand on the series by including years prior to 2014 (the first year I tracked the East Coasters), starting in 2000.  That is the first year archived by the Canadian Baseball Network, which if you’ve been following the blog, that’s where I get all my information regarding guys playing college ball.

As usual, players will be listed by position, name, hometown, class & university.  Also, this includes all divisions of NCAA, NAIA, junior college and community college.

  1. P Jason Bailey, Dartmouth NS, Sophomore, Pasadena Community College (CA)
  2. 2B David Barr, Fredericton NB, Sophomore, Southern Nazerene University (OK)
  3. P Jeff Brewer, Fredericton NB, Freshman, University of British Columbia
  4. P John Burns, Fredericton NB, Senior, Northeastern University (MA)
  5. OF Alan Cantwell, Saint John NB, Junior, Louisiana State – Shreveport
  6. SS/OF Jeff Chishom, Truro NS, Sophomore, Dutchess Community College (NY)
  7. P Andre Duval, Hartland NB, Sophomore, Wayne State (NE)
  8. SS Josh Ferguson, Saint John NB, Freshman, Husson College (ME)
  9. P Derek Finnigan, Rogersville NB, Freshman, Florida Junior College
  10. P Jamie Franey, Shearstown NL, Freshman, Des Moines Area Community College (IA)
  11. P Ryan Harris, Woodstock NB, Sophomore, University of Maine
  12. P Christopher Levine, Truro NS, Sophomore, Southeast Louisiana University
  13. P Scott Marine, Saint John NB, Senior, Manhattan College
  14. C Greg McGinnis, Fredericton NB, Freshman, Babson College (MA)
  15. SS Drew Palmer, Rothesay NB, Freshman, University of Southern Maine
  16. OF/IF David Parsons, Gander NL, Sophomore, Des Moines Area Community College (IA)
  17. P Brooks Saunders, Fredericton NB, Sophomore, Southern Nazerene University (OK)
  18. P Pete Sonier, Summerside PE, Freshman, Hawaii Pacific University
  19. 1B Jerry Stone, St. John’s NL, Freshman, Warner Southern College (FL)
  20. P Craig Tredenick, Cornwall PE, Trinity College (CT)
  21. OF/P Tom Van Wart, Saint John NB, Sophomore, College of the South West (NM)
  22. P Jared Whitehouse, Woodstock NB, Junior, Mayville State College (ND)
  23. P/DH Andrew Wright, Woodstock NB, Sophomore, Concord College (WV)

Wow!  A total of 15 players from New Brunswick were on college rosters during the 2000 season, many of which were from Fredericton.  Considering there were three Major Leaguers from the province at the time (Stairs, Comier & Dickson) the late 1990’s and early 2000’s were the heyday for the sport in the province.  The proposed Canadian Baseball League team for New Brunswick could have used some of this local talent had it gotten off the ground.

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Joel Irvine Drafted By Yankees (1991)

I will start a new series detailing times a East Coast baseball player has been drafted by a Major League organization.

Imagine being drafted by your favourite teams arch rival?  This happened to Joel Irvine back in 1991.  Irvine, a Dartmouth native, was a huge Red Sox fan but was drafted in the 74th round (1550th overall) by the New York Yankees.  Irvine played junior college baseball at Des Moines Area Community College in Boone, Iowa that spring.  He was drafted as a catcher, but also played in the outfield.  As a catcher, he hit almost .300 with five home runs.

Irvine, who was 19 at the time, received word that he was drafted by telegram, after all this was 1991.  Irvine would later play several seasons with the Dartmouth Moosehead Dry of the Nova Scotia Senior Baseball League.  His first NSSBL season came in 1990, when he was a member of the Dry’s Nova Scotia and Atlantic championship teams.

Some quotes from Irvine about the draft:

  • “The Red Sox are the Yankees arch enemy, but I could become a Yankees’ fan real fast”.
  • “I’m kind of ecstatic, but I’m trying to keep it low key”.
  • “I was told I had a good camp, but I’ve only had one year catching and catching is one of those positions you just can’t learn it in a day.  It takes years and years of practice”.  He has attended an evaluation camp just two weeks prior to the draft.  The quote also gives some solid advice to all young catchers out there.
  • “I figure if they drafted me on Wednesday, it was pretty late (The draft started on a Monday).  But still, just getting drafted is pretty good”.

Unfortunately, Irvine would never sign with the Yankees.  He would later play NCAA Division 1 baseball at the University of Toledo, a member of the Mid-American Conference.  As a member of the Dry he would win the 1997 and 2010 NSSBL batting titles.  He would win MVP awards in 1997, 2003, 2007 & 2010.  Irvine would also be NSSBL home run champion in both 1997 & 2007 (sharing the title on both occasions).  He would add RBI titles in 2007, 2009 & 2011.  Irvine would also lead the league in stolen bases from 1995 to 1997 and from 2000 to 2004.

The next time the Yankees drafted an Atlantic Canadian was Jake Sanford in 2019.

 

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Cole MacLaren Signs With Tigers

Maclaren playing for the Morell Chevies of the Kings County Baseball League in 2017 (courtesy of the Journal Pioneer).

Cole MacLaren, a catcher from Morell, Prince Edward Island has signed as a free agent with the Detroit Tigers organization. Maclaren, who recently completed his senior season at the University of Pittsburgh went undrafted in this month’s First Year Player Draft.

This past season he hit .247 with seven doubles and three home runs for the Panthers. He is a product of the Okotoks Dawgs Baseball Academy in Alberta. MacLaren played his first two seasons of college baseball with Colby Community College in Kansas before joining Pittsburgh for the past two seasons.

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Alex Lawrie, Professional Umpire

lawire

Jake Sanford isn’t the only Nova Scotian in professional baseball this season (courtesy Sports and Moore YouTube).

Just to give a quick shoutout to Mineville’s Alex Lawrie who this week started his professional umpiring career in the Gulf Coast League.  Lawrie earned his spot in pro ball by completing the Minor League Baseball Umpire Training Academy this past winter.  Only 20% of academy students are hired by Minor League Baseball.  He becomes the first Nova Scotian to umpire professional baseball since Troy Blades (Clark’s Harbour) left the International League at the end of the 2002 season.

Lawrie started umpiring minor baseball at the age of 13.  He was umpiring in the Nova Scotia Senior League by the time he was 18.  He also umpired in the independent Can-Am League the last two summers.  The process to get to the Majors is even longer and more drawn out than it is for players.  The umps continue up the ranks level by level and cannot skip a level in the minors.  They spend a season at one level and if their performance is good enough, their promoted to the next one the following summer.  It can take up to ten years to reach the Major Leagues.  Lawrie is quoted, “They say it’s the longest job interview in the world”.  He is not kidding.

Fredericton’s Matt Whipple umpired in the Gulf Coast League in 2017 and in the New York Penn League last year.

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