Baseball season around corner, town to host summer tournaments
© File photo
While the bases may be empty now, planning for the 2012 minor baseball season both locally and provincially is well under way.
The sun shining on the mound – the sound of the bat sending the ball flying into air, the bases loaded.
For fans of the big league, the baseball season is well underway, but the young people in the region who enjoy playing the sport have to wait just a little longer.
Even though the start of the Grand Falls-Windsor Minor Baseball Association is not until late June, those responsible for the planning of the season's programs and events are hard at work.
Dave Janes is the central director of the Baseball Newfoundland and Labrador, and is also involved with the local association. Janes recently returned from a weekend-long semiannual spring meeting of Baseball Newfoundland and Labrador in St. John's.
Janes said the meeting was highly beneficial considering the many changes rolling out over the past several years in minor baseball.
"This was a very, very big session for us, because not only was it our semi-annual meeting where we're getting ready for the summer season, but also because we had the Director General of Baseball Canada, Jim Baba, come down for the meeting."
Janes said Baba attended the meeting to help the provincial organization develop a 3-5 year plan for baseball in the province.
"All sporting associations in Newfoundland and Labrador registered with the government have to put together a plan for where they expect to be in the next 3-4 years, and how they expect to get there," sand Janes. "It's very extensive at times because government regulations have to be followed provincially and federally, as well as Baseball Canada's guidelines."
Janes added that Baseball Canada has brought in an "immense" amount of changes in the past four or five years in terms of long-term athlete development programs, recruitment programs, pitch counts, and coaching certification.
"The whole dynamic is changing, it's becoming more uniform across the country, and older programs are becoming obsolete," he said.
In order to make sure baseball programs continue to receive funding, all these factors need to be considered in the 3-5 year plan drafted by Baseball Newfoundland and Labrador.
"We're kind of at a big crossroads – how do we think we should get to where we need to be?"
Janes said having Baba there was a huge help to the association when coming up with their plan.
"We had him there to bring us through it. He brought down Baseball Canada's long term plan, Baseball Saskatchewan's long term plan, and we brought everyone in for three days and went at it," said Janes. "I thought it was very informative, and now we've got the plan done."
He said there's still some "meat" to be added to the bones of the plan, but otherwise it's ready to submit.
Janes said the meeting had a great turnout, and after the long term planning was wrapped up, the attendees could focus on sharing ideas and talking about the upcoming season.
One of the items that were decided at the meeting was which associations would host the various provincial tournaments throughout the year.
"I'm pleased to say the Grand Falls-Windsor association will be hosting at least two, possibly three tournament this summer," said Janes.
The PeeWee AAA provincial tournament will take place in Grand Falls-Windsor in mid August; a tournament Janes said will bring in the best players in that age group from across the province. The Mosquito A tournament will also take place in Grand Falls-Windsor in August.
"We're also still looking at hosting the PeeWee A the same weekend as the PeeWee AAA," said Janes.
Janes added that Baseball NL will be putting off a coaching clinic in Grand Falls-Windsor in June.
Craig Tulk is the president of the Grand Falls-Windsor Minor Baseball Association, he said the spring training program is also currently in planning stages.
"We're hoping to kick that off on May 14," he said.
The Grand Falls-Windsor Minor Baseball Association will be holding their Annual General Meeting and Election of Officers on Wed., May 7 at 7:30 p.m. at the Mary March Room in the Mount Peyton Hotel.
Tulk said he encourages all members of the public who have interest in minor baseball to attend.