Not many things make me as proud to be a Canadian baseball fan than the annual meeting between the Blue Jays and Canadian National Junior Team (U-18). Yesterday’s meeting between these two teams was a particularly special occasion on account of it not only featuring the talented duo of Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette, but also 17-year old Braden Halladay who pitched for Canada.
This game is such a wonderful showcase of Canadian talent in baseball. What can’t be forgotten is that the Canadian roster is made up of 16, 17, and 18- year olds still in high school. So for them to play a solid game against a Blue Jays line-up of professional ball players that are 4-5 years older than them speaks volumes of their talent level and the quality of youth baseball in this country.
The Canadian talent on display wasn’t solely reserved to Team Canada, as the Blue Jays also used the opportunity to play some of their top Canadian prospects, including Mattingly Romanin, Owen Spiwak, Shane Dawson, Brayden Bouchey, and Connor Panas.
The neatest moment yesterday came in the bottom of the 8th when Halladay pitched a 1-2-3 inning, that included getting Bichette to ground-out for the third and final out. Examining the Canadian roster before game time, I couldn’t help but notice how small Halladay is (when it comes to weight) compared to the rest of the team. Even though he’s still only 150 pounds, to look at his mechanics, even just the little things like the way he holds his glove in front of him while waiting for the sign were so reminiscent of his father.
The only thing that could have made yesterday’s game even better was to have seen Halladay face Guerrero. Two sons of Hall of Fame fathers (Halladay will be inducted soon enough) who did so much for baseball in this country, and now following in their Dad’s footsteps and doing so wearing a Canada and Blue Jays uniform.