Consequences of Canada Losing to Italy.
When Canada lost to Italy on Monday in an elimination game the first leg of the World Baseball Classic, they did serious damage to the sport in Canada. You can put baseball to rest here in the Great White North.
Hosting and being successful in the World Baseball Classic was a huge opportunity for Baseball Canada to gain momentum again – something it has not had since the Toronto Blue Jays were winning championship in 1992-1993. Baseball is already a dying entity in Canada, and this was surely an opportunity missed. With soccer, lacrosse, heck, even professional gaming on baseball’s coat tail’s, it had a chance to distance themselves from those growing, but still middle-of-the-pack sports. Had Team Canada made a respectful showing at an international event, in which they were lucky enough to host, registration for baseball would surely have risen. Instead, the Blue Jay generation is dying out, not to be replaced.
The Blue Jay generation is a term that is used around Ontario referring to the kids who grew up during the championship years of the Toronto Blue Jays. It is believed that during these years, interest in baseball was at its peak and participation was at its highest in Ontario and throughout Canada. Thus, this generation of 9-12 year old kids were enrolled in baseball at a young age and had time to develop into one of Canada’s greatest crop of baseball players. Proof? Jeff Francis and Adam Loewen, who were two of Canada’s highest draft picks, would have been 11 and 9 respectively. Joey Votto and Russel Martin were 10, Justin Morneau and Rich Harden were 12. Current Team Canada talent Chris Leroux, David Davidson were 8 each and Scott Diamond, 7 (capable of throwing a ball around). A little earlier, Erik Bedard 13, Jason Bay was 14.
You don’t think successful baseball teams in Canada don’t breed good baseball players? As the Toronto Blue Jays continue to struggle and the Montreal Expos a recollection of the past, Baseball Canada relied on a good showing by Team Canada in order to gain interest back in the sport; thus, continuing to produce major league talent. The consequences of an early exit: difficult to say 2 days after the fact, but it looks like a lot like Justin Morneau’s reaction after the game. The sport must now rely on the likes of Weglarz, Aumont and Lawrie to bring national pride back to the game.