By IAN WILSON
Catcher Noah Or is like your favourite playlist right now … he’s offering up all the hits.
Through nine games in the Western Canadian Baseball League (WCBL), the Richmond, British Columbia native is leading the pack in batting average (.486), and on-base percentage (.568). His 15 runs, 17 hits and nine runs batted in (RBI) are also near the top of the leaderboard.
It’s been a sweet summer for the University of British Columbia (UBC) player, who originally signed on with the Okotoks Dawgs in November of 2020 before ending up on the Lethbridge Bulls roster for the 2021 season.
Or recently made time for us and our THREE UP, THREE DOWN series, which sees us pose three somewhat serious baseball questions to the interviewee, along with three not-so-serious questions.
Here’s what he had to say:
1. This is your first season playing in the WCBL and you were originally signed by the Dawgs for this season. Tell us how you ended up playing for the Bulls in Lethbridge?
Bigger things than baseball were happening around the world with the pandemic, so the WCBL was in the air after I originally signed with the Dawgs in November. Lethbridge was a great option for me given a few of my teammates from UBC are here and I’ve heard of many great experiences here, as well, so it was the right fit for me given the circumstances of the pandemic and the opportunity to play here.
2. You’re one of many UBC players in the WCBL this summer. It’s been a while since UBC has played a string of competitive games, because the COVID-19 pandemic put a halt to the Thunderbirds spring season. What have you been doing over the last year to stay in game shape and improve your baseball abilities?
We have a great program at UBC, so despite the lack of real game action, our coaches have done a great job to make and simulate a competitive environment for us. Our facilities are second-to-none and we used every aspect of it we could to improve on the field and as a group. Through live at bats and lots of simulated scenarios, we were able to improve our game and hopefully we can get back out there next year.
3. You’ve already gotten off to a good start this season. You’ve been hitting well. What’s your approach to this season been and why does it seem to be working?
I’m just excited to be playing again. I haven’t played in a competitive game like we have been over the last few weeks and it’s been surreal. I’m one of the older guys on this team, so my approach this season is to soak it all in and enjoy the games since it’s been so long since I’ve been on a field playing against teams wearing other jerseys.
1. You’re a catcher, which means you work with pitchers all the time. What is the hardest part of working with pitchers?
Pitching is tough, so keeping the pitchers mentally in check is key. As a catcher we are responsible for a lot behind the plate and one of those responsibilities is to manage the game, including keeping our staff mentally in check. The game can get out of hand really quick, so if we can minimize the mental gaps, we can have a greater chance of success.
2. Major League Baseball (MLB) is cracking down on sticky substances and doctoring baseballs. It’s led to some interesting situations for umpires and pitchers. What is your take on this development and do you have any good doctored baseball stories from your time behind the plate?
It’s been around for a while, that being said I don’t have much to say on this. None of the pitchers I’ve caught have used this in a game to my knowledge. Our coaches never pushed for using substances and our staff wasn’t reliant on it anyways, but it’s going to be interesting to see how the MLB deals with it in the years to come.
3. Whether it’s walkup songs or the seventh inning stretch, baseball is known for incorporating music throughout the game. What is your favourite baseball-related song and why?
John Fogerty’s Centerfield. I think it’s just a classic ballpark song that plays in all stadiums, regardless of the time of day or time of game. Walk-ups are individualized to get the player and/or team going, so I wouldn’t classify those as baseball-related per se.