By Ashley Grant
The Blue Jays Honda Super Camp has returned to Seaman Stadium after the extreme popularity that it received in 2013 and 2014. In 2013, Okotoks was the highest attended Super Camp in Canada outside of the Toronto Super Camp held at the Rogers Centre.
The camp is run by the Toronto Blue Jays Academy along with hall of famer, Roberto Alomar and focuses on teaching players of varying skill levels the fundamentals of the game, helping them to play at a higher level. The camp targets amateur baseball players aged 9-16 and is run in partnership with both Baseball Canada and Little League Baseball Canada.
As much as the camps can hone in on certain skills, according to Toronto Blue Jays alumni and Super Camp coach, Lloyd Moseby there is a main objective that is more important than all the others.
“This is what it’s all about, we have camps from Newfoundland to British Columbia just making sure that the kids are loving the game,” said Moseby.
There are 223 registered participants in the camp this year and continues to grow in popularity each season. The attractiveness of these camps speaks to the growth of the game in Canada. The attendance of the Super Camps, the amount of Canadian players being drafted in to the professional leagues and the number of Canadian born Okotoks Dawgs players on the roster shows that Canada cares about more than just hockey.
Former Major League Baseball second baseman, Sandy Alomar Sr. explains that the camp has had real success all over Canada and is optimistic that the Super Camp will keep expanding.
“The camp has been run every year, last year we had like 26 camps, this year we have another camp going in the Vancouver area, Victoria and all those places,” said Alomar Sr. “From here we are going to go to Toronto and then we are going to go to Halifax, Muncton, all those places over there. Things are really growing.”
The fact that more and more Canadians are being drafted in to the major league helps with the amount of young Canadians taking up and sticking with the sport. Moseby believes that having an idol to look up to playing professionally can help drive players to stick with the game and improve as much as possible.
“They [young baseball players] can finally see now that their heroes who are Canadians are coming up in the big league and that’s really important to see your own in the big league,” Moseby said.
Moseby also had a lot of optimism that there could be the next superstar in attendance at the camp this year.
“First off we got to have the young guys, we have seven and eight-year-olds, if they keep on loving the game, there’s a lot of Joey Vottos (Cincinnati Reds) left. There are a lot of players and we have been very fortunate,” Moseby said. “T-12 (Toronto Blue Jays Academy tournament) has seen seven or eight kids this year get drafted and four of them got over two million dollars, so Canadian players are coming really hard and really strong.”
Alomar Sr. agreed with the potential of the participants in attendance if they learn the fundamentals early.
“It is very important for them to understand early because when they understand early, they put it into practice later and it will come easier for them in the end,” Alomar Sr. said.
The importance of staying dedicated was also discussed by Alomar Sr. as he mentioned the work ethic that young players must have in order to be successful at anything in life.
“We have a lot of kids here and they have a nice future if they decide to play baseball, the thing is you have to sacrifice for anything that you want to do,” said Alomar Sr. “Hopefully these kids understand that whatever sacrifices they make today contain the benefits of what they can obtain tomorrow.”
To achieve success in the sport, the dedication and work ethic that Alomar Sr. discussed is extremely important, but there are some players who have an advantage due to what Moseby describes as “natural talent”. Moseby gave a big compliment to baseball players in Calgary, and possibly some advice for scouts.
“There’s something about Calgary that has those natural players, where they start playing that is something we can’t predict but they have natural talent in Calgary.”
As much of thrill it is for players to learn from the legends of the baseball world, Moseby is just as excited to get the chance to watch them play and possible spot one of those natural players.
“Any time we come to a camp like this, we can see one player, think about it, there are over 200 kids here, if we can see one player, it’s worth coming.”
Source Okotoks Dawgs