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Blue Jays Academy staff teach the finer points of the game to 114 players at CMBA Clinic in East Caledon

May 16, 2024   ·   0 Comments

By Jim Stewart

In overcast but comfortable conditions last weekend, 114 registrants enjoyed learning the finer points of baseball from the engaging on-field Blue Jays Academy instructors at Harley Davis Field in East Caledon.

A travelling staff of eighteen, who were growing the grand old game in Woodstock on Saturday afternoon, put the local House League players through their paces at five stations.

The young registrants— aged 8-12 and clad in their Blue Jays clinic gear—received specialized and personalized small-group instruction from three energetic instructors at each of the hitting, fielding, running, throwing and catching, and base-running stations.

The Academy instructors brought with them a range of NCAA, national team, and professional experiences and the kids responded enthusiastically to their on-field lessons.

The sound of kids having fun was music to the ears of Blue Jays’ Amateur Baseball Program Specialist and On-field Coordinator Geoff Seto.

“It makes your heart feel warm when the kids have such a positive experience. They’re always a little nervous and queasy at registration about going on the field with college and professional baseball players, but it’s fun for us to make it a series of cool moments for them to enjoy. It’s all about the experience of the kids.”

Seto, who has been an instructor with the Blue Jays Academy since 2010, enjoys traversing Canada to work with local baseball organizations and their players.

“It’s an unbelievable experience.  It’s about helping the local kids enjoy the game.

The Caledon Minor Baseball Association reps—John Ruta and Jason Sweeney – have been phenomenal hosts. Our job is to look after youth baseball across Canada. A big part is participating with grassroots baseball organizations. We’re creating better ballplayers together, but we’re also creating life-long fans of the game.”

Chad and Jenna Vinden, who travelled from Orangeville so their eight-year old daughter Presley could enjoy the clinic prior to the start of her baseball season, were sold on the Blue Jays Academy’s on-field methodology and their positive impact on the clinic participants.

Stationed strategically on the third base bleachers, Jenna Vinden noted that, “The kids seem to be listening really well and the skills that are being taught are really getting Presley back in the swing of things before her season starts.”

Chad Vinden concurred with his wife’s insights about the efficacy of the clinic’s teaching strategies and the on-field staff.

“The best part of today’s clinic is the set of skills that will get Presley excited to play the game and enjoy it even more.  The staff is very vocal and everyone is enjoying the stations out there.”

CMBA Vice President Jason Sweeney, who leads the organization’s House League program, was pleased with the delivery and timing of the instruction by the Blue Jays Academy.

“Getting these kids such an excellent on-field practice before the season starts gets them re-acclimated to the game and gets them excited to play their games starting on May 25 with our Opening Day Ceremonies at North Hill Park in Bolton.” 

Coach Sweeney noted, “114 players aged 8-12 really benefitted from today’s instruction and we lucked out with the weather, too, as the rain missed us.”

“Our rain date would have been in August which wouldn’t have been as effective as this preseason clinic is. We would have had to contend with conflicting activities like family holidays and startups of other sports seasons. The conditions were great today for a preseason clinic.”



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