By on September 2, 2010

CLEARWATER, Fl. (RSE)–It has been a week or two since we last communicated fans so if you missed me or not does anyone really care?

     Hate to start out this way, yea right, so let us move on with a subject or two of interest to you the intelligent and astute reading public.

    The month of September will see the major league baseball teams start cranking out press releases on their players in the running for season end league awards. 

     Two players I personally would like to see win their league’s MVP Awards are the Cincinnati Reds Joey Votto and the Toronto Blue Jays Jose Bautista.  Not wanting to bore you or waste your time with a lot of useless stats, they both deserve their leagues MVP Awards!  Unfortunately they both have a common negative factor.

     Votto is Canadian and Bautista plays for the one and only Canadian major league baseball team.

     Having covered the Blue Jays since 1991 and growing up near the border as a kid, I have seen how we Americans treat Canadian athletes especially those who excel at our national pastime.  This also includes those who play for Canadian teams like Bautista. 

     Remember Hall of Fame right-hander Fergie Jenkins is a Canadian.

     So get your thinking caps on and give your past a moment or two of thought and tell me honestly that in 1992 and 1993 you weren’t “PO’ed” when the Blue Jays stole your World Series trophy.  Too much evidence to the contrary.

     Moving right along to a positive pat on the back to a VFW Post and three “Nam Vet” coaches.

     Back in January a group of former servicemen at VFW Post 10304 in Clearwater got together to help out those less fortunate children in the area of North Clearwater which were unable to gain access to the game of baseball for one reason or another.

     Well in the process of providing entrance to the game for these youths roadblocks were thrown up locally like tryouts, drafts and the ever popular costs even for use of a field.  But not to worry for the kids at the North Greenwood Boys and Girls Club that is adjacent to Jack Russell Stadium the coaching staff from the post, headed up by Manager “Rudy”, Sgt. USMC, they overcame, adapted and the team took the field, literally.

     In June this year Rudy along with his Pitching Coach “Lee”, Sgt US Army and Third Base/Fielding Coach “John” CPO US Navy, along with 12 aspiring ball players 10-12 years old took the field for the first time, literally.

     The reason for the mention of the field is that it was once the grass covered parking lot for the Phillies spring training games at Jack Russell Stadium.  But not to worry as the manager overcame, adapted and the “Little Jays” took the field.

     You see fans with all the hoops to jump through locally the post went national and thanks to Major League Baseball’s R.B.I. Program (Rejuvenating Baseball in the Intercity), the Boys and Girls Clubs and the Toronto Blue Jays the kids had a team to play on, a league to play in and sponsors.

     Despite practicing on a field with throw down bases and a number of scheduling problems the players followed their manager and coaches.  They overcame and adapted to win their league title.

     Yes fans those Little Jays of the North Greenwood Boys and Girls Club are champs of their age group here in Pinellas County.  Unfortunately with other R.B.I. programs in Tampa and Bradenton they have yet to be notified by the Boys and Girls Club as to when the district playoffs are.

     But if nothing else the players and coaches did the R.B.I.  program proud as they met and succeeded in more ways than was expected of them.

      Just a note on the GCL playoffs:  the Phillies took the league crown two games to one over the Rays 6-3 Tuesday.

     Congratulations to the Phillies as they take home the first ever “Tom Saffell Trophy” named after the former long time league prez.

     Now in closing this issue just a thought or two about the final two games of the Jays/Rays series at the Trop.

     It seems an obvious error by the Jays 2B Aaron Hill can be changed to a base hit after a three run Ray’s homer causing three unearned runs to become earned.       Then in the series third game an eight inning appeal on a checked swing results in a strike out while two pitches later the same call on a different player and a by another umpire is called a non swing.  No consistency here fans, right?

     So until then…

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