I grew up in St. Catharines, the big little city in Niagara, and as a kid in the late eighties and early nineties the coolest thing to do would be to go watch the “Baby Jays,” who played in the New York Penn League, on a nice summer evening. The ballpark wasn’t much to look at, and the seats weren’t exactly comfortable — the bleachers, at that time, were shiny, tawdry metal benches that stretched from behind home plate to first and third base — and my cousin and I would stand in the open space down the third base line near left field and try to catch as many foul balls as possible.
Oh, yes, the good ol’ days! Gameboy was revolutionary, Tom Henke was the Terminator, Exhibition Stadium was still the “mistake by the lake,” and St. Catharines had a professional baseball team.
During these youthful times and summer nights, I got to see players like Derek Bell, Rob Butler, Pat Hentgen, and Jeff Kent work their way through the Jays’ system — which I’m sure that this is where my love for minor league ball came from — and I think that it would be pretty great if one of the Jays’ affiliates relocated one day to a city like Hamilton, or as the man behind “Clutchlings” and now “Future Blue Jays” would suggest, Ottawa.
I have been perusing those sites for years and have always found the thorough work on the Jays’ farm system very useful, as I am always researching certain players the good ol’ Birds have in the system.
About a couple months ago, I pitched an idea to Stoeten to write a little series called, Kind Of Blue Sessions, where I would interview writers about the Blue Jays, baseball, and whatever. I interviewed old beat writer Danny Gallagher in the first edition, but most people who read the piece were concerned with the picture of Miles Davis that Stoeten used and whether or not I saw a brass band at The Rex – whatever. I just thought it would be cool, for when things got slow, to read about the people who are constantly typing up thoughts and good content that you click on and read.
So I reached out to the great Future Blue Jays, who is a really cool guy, and we started going back and forth through emails – just shootin’ the baseball breeze. I asked him if he would be interested in doing this interview, and he agreed. We decided to talk about our love for the minor leagues, the minor leagues themselves, and, of course, future Blue Jays too. Hope you enjoy it.
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