Photo by Don Fennell
Ray Carter retired as the longest-serving president in the history of Baseball Canada a year ago. But he certainly hasn't withdrawn himself from the game.
Having made many landmark contributions during his tenure with the national association, including establishing the Challenger Baseball program that allows children with disabilities to participate in the sport, Carter also saw the men's and women's national teams enjoy unparalleled success. Yet it should come as no surprise to see him sitting intently in a dugout at Minoru's Latrace Field last Friday as a group of 150 teen players from around B.C. participated in a series of drills. After all, the ball park has long been his second home.
Carter said he wouldn't be surprised if, in as few as five years ,a camp participant made it to the Major Leagues.
"He's a very knowledgeable, well-liked and respected man throughout Canada," said Mike Kelly, a long-time colleague of Carter's at BC Baseball, which helped its member club, Richmond City Baseball, host last week’s Toronto Blue Jays Baseball Academy T12 B.C. Player Evaluations camp.
Kelly, who himself chairs BC Baseball’s coaching development program, said the opportunity to expand the number of opportunities for its young players is always welcome.
"We’ve got a lot of good young kids playing baseball, but it all comes down to coaching and player development," Kelly said. "We spend a lot of time with our coaches to help the kids get to the next level."
The T12 academy (which derives its name from former Blue Jay Roberto Alomar, who wore uniform No. 12 during his playing days and who supports the endeavour) invites amateur baseball players aged 14 to 19 to register for a tryout camp. From those camps, held across the country, players are selected and assigned to the team representing the province or region where they were born. A team representing B.C. will play at the T12 tournament Sept. 14 to 17 at Rogers Centre in Toronto.
Position players were evaluated on speed, throwing, defence and hitting, while pitchers were evaluated by throwing in the bullpen. Each session lasted about four hours.