Valcke and iCASE in Thunder Bay

01/29/2015 6:43 AM - Devo

ICASE.jpgSunday is the Super Bowl, but Friday, January 30, will be a fun day for baseball fans in Thunder Bay.

Tom Valcke, who was Canadian Supervisor with the Major League Baseball Central Scouting Bureau for ten years, has taught the game all over the world, and recently served 11 years as the president of the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame, will be in Thunder Bay on Friday.

Between 2:30pm and 5:00pm at the The Sports Dome, located at 141 Northern Avenue, Valcke and International Canadian Academy of Sports Excellence (iCASE), will be holding a free clinic for baseball prospects from grades 7-12.

For those unfamiliar, iCASE is a place where training is part of the daily curriculum. In a world where thousands and thousands of athletes are striving for the same dream, iCASE provides student athletes, in their junior and senior years, the opportunity to develop and fine tune their skills in an academic environment in front of some of the best coaches around.

Warren Philp, TBIBA exectutive director, commented Valcke's visit and what it can mean to the community and to the players involved.

"With our mandate of baseball development in Thunder Bay, Thunder Bay International Baseball Association (TBIBA) is pleased to promote the visit to Thunder Bay by Ontario's only baseball academy," said Warren Philp, TBIBA executive director. With Tom Valcke’s background in the game, iCASE is a credible option for young ball players as they strive to play at higher levels."

For interested players, please ensure you bring your own equipment (including bats), and dress in comfortable closing. Local coaches who are interested in the event and who want to hear more about iCASE and what it has to offer, can attend the event for free.

Anyone who is looking for more information, please visit their website. Valcke can be contacted at info@icasebaseball.com

Devon is the Founder and Executive Director of The GM's PerspectiveHe is a former professional baseball player with the River City Rascals & Gateway Grizzlies. Currently, Devon is a Manager at a financial institution in Northern Ontario Canada, and can be reached at devon@thegmsperspective.com. You can follow The GM's Perspective on twitter and FacebookHis full bio can be seen here.

 

Indy Ball Weekly Perspective: Wingnuts sign a legend

01/26/2015 5:49 AM - Devo

Álex "El Samurai" Cabrera signs with the Wingnuts

Internationally, Álex Cabrera is is one of the most dangerous hitters in recent memory. Cabrera started his career back in 1991 at 19. His stint in Wichita will be his first baseball in America since he donned the Arizona Diamondbacks uniform in 2000. In his 31 MLB games, he batted .263 with 5 home runs and 14 RBI. According to the American Association, in his first MLB at bat he hit a home run. When you take a look at his minor league numbers they're as good as anyone's. In 2000, the same year he made his major league debut, he split time between RK, AA, and AAA. In 76 games, El Samurai batted .353 with 39 home runs and drove in 94. He slugged .851 and posted a 1.251 OPS. After his run with the D-Backs, Cabrera spent 12 seasons in Japan playing for three different clubs. Oursportscentral.com reports that Cabrera, who is entering his 22nd year in professional baseball, has hit over 450 home runs, driven in over 1,270 and amassed 1,861 hits.

Alex Cabrera.jpg

O's sign Goldeyes Haerther

The American Association announced that the Baltimore Orioles have signed Winnipeg Goldeyes slugger, Casey Haerther. Haerther, who is entering his seventh professional season, was originally drafted by the LA Angels in the 5th round of the 2009 MLB June Amateur Draft from University of California. His first four years were spent in the Angels minor league system. He eventually made it up to Double A in 2012. In his four years with the Angles, he hit .298. After having spent the last two years with the Independent Goldeyes, Haerther is getting a second chance at affiliated ball. In his first year with Winnipeg, Haerther hit a healthy .307 with 10 home runs and 66 RBI in 97 games. 2014 would eventually be his coming out party. He tied for the team lead in average (.360), also good for second in the league, and his 72 RBI were second on the team (seventh in the league).

casey-haerther.jpg

Devon is the Founder and Executive Director of The GM's PerspectiveHe is a former professional baseball player with the River City Rascals & Gateway Grizzlies. Currently, Devon is a Manager at a financial institution in Northern Ontario Canada, and can be reached at devon@thegmsperspective.com. You can follow The GM's Perspective on twitter and FacebookHis full bio can be seen here.

 

 

ECBL looking to bring baseball back to local fans

01/20/2015 6:22 AM - Devo

East Coast Baseball League.jpgColin Cummins knows a little something about baseball.

A former independent league player, Cummins understands how hard it is to get to that next level. He's played college ball in the US at County College of Randolph Morris and played professionally in the Independent Frontier League for the Johnstown Steal (Frontier League Champions '95) Springfield Capitals and Evansville Otters. Cummins is also a teacher of the game. Since 1998, he's been helping kids improve their ability along with their knowledge of the game as Director of Operations at Red Eye Baseball.

I had the pleasure of speaking with Cummins, the League Director of the East Coast Baseball League, who hopes to bring the game back to an area that is rich in baseball history.

The GM’s Perspective: What was your motivation to start a professional league in Southern Ontario?

Colin Cummins: It started off as a thought of trying to bring one professional team back to Niagara. Shawn Whitely, and myself had the thought…(laughs), I kinda convinced Shawn which direction we should go. Originally, we were looking at a Can-Am League franchise in Niagara. Once that fell through, it wasn’t almost commonplace about going forward as a league, but it was basically something we thought we could do and lets move forward with it. I think there are some really good places that don’t have baseball; Niagara being one. We can work and build something that would really flourish in the community.

GMs: How did you go from the possible team in Niagara to expanding to the four or five teams you have right now?

CC: A lot of due diligence. We talked to, I can’t even tell you how many people we’ve talked to in reference to their facilities, and the opportunities of bringing a franchise to their respective city. Of course some people said no, others were very interested. Now we’re at a point where we have four teams to start out with right now. (At the conclusion of this interview it was announced that the Waterdown Bucks are the fourth and newest franchise of the East Coast Baseball League). We still have opportunities to enter into a couple other markets, but we’re just trying to clarify their stance on what they see.

GMs: To clarify for the readers that may not know, is the ECBL an Independent professional baseball league or is it a collegiate league?

CC: Independent pro ball. Not owned by a major affiliation, teams are owned by an individual owner or the league.

GMs: When you were thinking of putting the team in Niagara, did you take into account what happened previously with such leagues as the Canadian Baseball League, or other local franchises such as the Welland Aquaducks, Welland Pirates, and St. Catharines Blue Jays/Stompers, Independent and affiliated teams that left the area for one reason or another?

CC: That’s a definite yes. We really tried to weigh the pros and cons along with the city. The city has been very gracious. They’ve been great. We’ve sat in with two of the major members on various instances and they understand what’s happened in the past. That does still linger in their mind, but all in all, one thing I’ve heard from a variety of people in the Niagara region and in Welland is that they built that baseball park for professional baseball. They would love to see the professional game being played there again.

GMs: How are you recruiting players and drumming up interest for a brand new start-up league?

CC: A lot of people are still in the dark about who we are. People know who we are, but the stigmatism of the past is what continues to be brought up. We’re trying to get the word out as much as we can. Our website is a great source of information, we also have our twitter and Facebook pages up and running now. And we also have a couple websites for the teams that are functional. We’ve even run tryouts in Welland, Florida and Arizona. Currently, we are in the process of setting up a tryout in Myrtle Beach and trying to get the word out to any players that are looking for that one opportunity. If we can offer them a new place to play, I think the ECBL will be a stepping-stone for a bigger and brighter future.

GMs: Independent baseball is a great way for players to get noticed. It’s sort of a diamond in the rough. We’ve seen great success stories like Daniel Nava who have used Indy ball to springboard themselves from obscurity to a professional level and a World Series Championship. What you’re your doing with this league is not only helping people reach their dreams of playing professionally, but also bringing back baseball to an area that, in my opinion, sorely needs it.

CC: We look at how we can keep it in a short distance. The question of can it be done in St. Catharines and Welland is constant, but Welland has the best stadium in the area. London has the best stadium per se, in all of Ontario. The Niagara region is rich in baseball roots. I think the one thing it doesn’t have is taking it to the next level. The Scott Bullet’s of the world have done a great job of bringing in elite baseball. The Brock Badgers have done a great job at the collegiate level to build, basically, a dynasty at Brock. Now there’s that evolution step. We all grew up wanting to play professional baseball. I don’t think there is one of us who wanted to stop playing at the collegiate level. Baseball players want to get to that next step. If we have it in the area, and the people see it, people will come out and watch a game and enjoy it. Not to knock the Bisons, it’s great the Toronto Blue Jays have a Triple-A team across the border, but I still think there’s a missing link where there’s an area with such a history of this game we all love.

GMs: Who is helping you along the way with travel, scouting, and putting on these clinics? At time of this conversation, you’re on your way to Myrtle Beach to conduct player tryouts.

CC: We have a good group of guys that we brought together to help scout and see the dream of the ECBL move forward. Rob Warnock is our Director of Player Procurement; Sal Raie is the ECBL General Counsel & Assistant Director of Player Procurement. Rob’s in Georgia and Sal’s in Philadelphia. Rafael Melchione is in Arizona and Sean Repay in Wisconsin. We have a pretty good foundation that is directing our focus to our areas of strength. We don’t have any one in the Texas area helping us right now, but that’s not to say we won’t have someone there in the future. We have a great foundation, a solid group of guys wanting to see players succeed and get to the next level.

To learn more about the ECBL, visit their website and check out their Twitter and facebook page.

Devon is the Founder and Executive Director of The GM's PerspectiveHe is a former professional baseball player with the River City Rascals & Gateway Grizzlies. Currently, Devon is a Manager at a financial institution in Northern Ontario Canada, and can be reached at devon@thegmsperspective.com. You can follow The GM's Perspective on twitter and FacebookHis full bio can be seen here.

Adversity won't keep Myles Jury from the title

01/16/2015 9:26 AM - Devo

Myles Jury comeback.jpgUFC 182 was supposed to be Myles Jury's coming out party. He was 15-0 and taking on Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone at the UFC's big New Year's event. At the conclusion of the co-main event, Jury's record stood at 15-1, his first defeat after a unanimous 30-27 decision at the hands of the #4 lightweight fighter in the world.

Big time athletes have God given talents, talents that separate them from the rest. Barry Bonds, Wayne Gretzky, Michael Jordan, Tom Brady, and Anderson Silva are all, at one time, the absolute best in the world at their respective professions. If they missed the game-winning shot, or hit the game-winning home run, these students of the game continued to look for ways to improve and take their craft to the next level. 

Failure is not just a part of life, it's inevitable. Jury has crossed that road only once in his professional career. It may be devastating to some, but Jury has taken the approach that many champions take; take the loss for what it was and begin the improvement process immediately.

Days after the fight, Jury posted this on his Twitter feed:

Learning from mistakes and failures is what truly makes us who we are and brings out the best in us. I've begun the process to bringing out the best.....

Step #1 - Acknowledging what all I did wrong, what I should have done and taking 100% responsibility.

This isn't fun and is quite humbling. At the same time, I needed something to light a fire under my ass to stop worrying about being perfect. I'm ready to bite down and get after it like never before! You have to take BIG RISKS TO GET BIG REWARDS and that's exactly what I will do....

Many of the negative comments from the fight have come from his opponent. Jury doesn't let that phase him. Look at the positives. Jury is one of the best up and coming fighters in one of the most competitive professions in the world. He was up against his biggest test to date and Cerrone did not stop him. Cerrone had Jury on his back in a very precarious position for most of the first round and could not put him away. Jury, a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt used those skills to hold Cerrone at bay.

That first round could have rattled many fighters, but Jury kept calm and cool under pressure and never succumb to the submission attempts. That is another example of how good, not only Jury is at his craft, but how well-prepared his team is. Jury may not have won the fight, but he learned more in defeat than he ever could any other way. In a recent interview on Bleacher Report, Jury comments on what lessons he learned once the fight concluded.

"I know I belong at the top and just made a lot of mistakes that I need to correct and will then never hold myself down or back ever again. To be at the top of the division, it just showed me that I need to stop putting pressure on myself to be perfect and do everything perfectly and start getting ruthless, taking big risks to get big rewards."

15 wins and 1 loss. That might be good for some, not for "Fury" Jury. The next time Jury enters the Octagon, you can better believe he'll be ready to go. He is a consummate professional always looking for ways to improve mentally and physically. For someone who has worked his whole life for this moment, this is a stepping stone to bigger and better things. 

How many other athletes would be so open and honest about that? Only the best ones.

To learn more about Myles “The Fury” Jury, please check out his website and Jury Jiu Jitsu at Juryjj.com. You can also following him on Twitterfacebook, and Instagram. For more inquiries, please contact his manager, Ryan Hass, Founder of Evolution Agents.

Devon is the Founder and Executive Director of The GM's PerspectiveHe is a former professional baseball player with the River City Rascals & Gateway Grizzlies. Currently, Devon is a Manager at a financial institution in Northern Ontario Canada, and can be reached at devon@thegmsperspective.com. You can follow The GM's Perspective on twitter and FacebookHis full bio can be seen here.

 

 

 


Jury Jiu Jitsu
Myles Jury