1 Thru 9: Vimy Ridge Baseball Academy

While many baseball academies have been up and running for several years in Alberta – some for decades – a program in Edmonton is just stepping into the batter’s box for the first time. 

Vimy Ridge Baseball Academy started up a few years ago and players will embark on their inaugural season this year.

To find out what’s going on at the school, we spoke with program director Drew Boyer (who is also the head coach of the Midget AAA Edmonton Cardinals squad) as part of our ongoing “1 Thru 9” series, which sees us pose nine questions to academy directors across the province.

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Designated Hall of Famer

Good things come to those who wait.

In the case of former Seattle Mariner and Calgary Cannon Edgar Martinez, he’s become accustomed to waiting.

After going undrafted and signing with the Mariners in 1982, the third baseman spent the majority of the next seven years in the minor leagues, including 276 games with the Triple-A Cannons.

The rest of his career was spent with the Mariners, mostly as a designated hitter (DH), where Martinez waited for a World Series berth that never came before retiring at the end of the 2004 season.

When his career Major League Baseball (MLB) numbers – he hit 309 home runs, batted .312 and posted a .418 on-base percentage – were deemed worthy of National Baseball Hall of Fame consideration, Martinez would once again be forced to exercise patience as the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA) deliberated his fate.

But, after his 10th and final year on the ballot, the wait is over and it’s good news for the man who simply became known as “Edgar” to Seattle sports fans.

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1 Thru 9: Absolute Baseball Academy

Standing in the shadow of Foothills Stadium in Calgary is Absolute Baseball Academy.

And while the aging stadium – which was home to the Triple-A Calgary Cannons and the independent league Vipers – serves as a reminder of the great history of baseball in Cowtown, the academy signals a hopeful future for the game in Alberta’s largest city.

Academy director Cam McLachlan, who is also a coach with the Junior Dinos program, made time for us and told us what is happening with baseball at 2221 Crowchild Trail N.W.  in Calgary. Here’s what he shared with us in our ongoing “1 Thru 9” look at the province’s baseball academies.

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Striving for More

During a season in which Danny Jansen realized his dream of playing Major League Baseball (MLB), it was Giancarlo Stanton who provided the “pinch me” moments for the Toronto Blue Jays catcher. 

In the bottom of the first inning on Aug. 18, 2018, the 6-foot-6 pinstriped baseball beast stepped into the batter’s box at Yankee Stadium and gave Jansen his first game-action look at the chiseled outfielder’s 245-pound frame. 

Jansen and fellow rookie starting pitcher Sean Reid-Foley got the better of Stanton during that at bat, watching him strike out swinging.

But in the fourth inning, Stanton sent a fastball 412 feet away from home plate and over the centre-field wall. It was Reid-Foley’s second start for the Jays and Jansen’s fourth game with the big club. Welcome to the major leagues. 

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