Neighbourhoods get a hand up through baseball

Students to get after-school clinics to learn the game

The East York Baseball Association is putting the home in homerun, as it gears up for another season in the Beach and East York neighbourhoods.

Looking to get more involved in the communities surrounding the league’s epicenter, Stan Wadlow Park, association president Andrew Pace said his group is starting up after-school baseball clinics in May and June as well as baseball camps run by senior level players.

Pace couldn’t be more enthusiastic than a rookie getting their first dinger.

“On a number of levels it’s great,” he said. “One it’s an opportunity for the older kids to give back and have that sense of community that we want to continue to build.

“It also improves the quality of play in games,” he added. “It’s going to keep kids coming back to the park — that sort of engagement gets kids more physically active.”

Adding to their helping hand slugging percentage is work with the Toronto Blue Jays in priority neighbourhoods like Crescent Town.

Close to 500 kids will come to the home of the Bulldogs on buses provided by the Jays organization, which will also provide lunches for the diamond denizens-to-be.

“Basically they come for the day, we get some of our rep players come in and teach kids from Toronto Community Housing,” Pace said. “It builds a good sense of community for those people.”

One of the problems encountered by Pace in the four years involved with the league was the executive board had too few members doing a bulk of the work, thus their recruitment of fresh faces and a focus on communications.

The final result is a facelift to the East York website.

“We’re going to keep it more current and relevant by having daily updates, photos every night, video clips of volunteer/player/coach of the week,” Pace said. “Just a little more dynamic that the kids can go home after they’ve played and see some pictures of things they were doing.”

Adding to the bustling season will be the interlocking with the sophomore baseball league that was spawned last year in Leslieville by Toronto Baseball Association member Dave Black.

With all the hard work, it’s to wonder Pace and his executive won’t need any designated hitters.

But this is just another trip around the horn for East York Baseball Association.

“There’s tons of things I love about baseball,” Pace said. “One is it’s a great way to teach life skills.

“Baseball is one of those games where there’s a lot of failure and it’s teaching kids and adults how to deal with failure, how to persevere, how to work together, how to strive to be your best,” he added, his voice heavy with appreciation. “You can’t get around failure in baseball, it’s going to happen.”

About this article:

By: Brian Baker
Posted: Apr 13 2010 10:54 am
Filed in: Sports
Edition: Toronto