Today, TORONTO BLUE JAYS players J.P. Arencibia, Colby Rasmus, Anthony Gose and Drew Hutchison, and general manager Alex Anthopoulos, joined Blue Jays fans at the inaugural Winter Tour Luncheon Presented by TD held at the Delta Bessborough Saskatoon. Emceed by Jamie Campbell, host of Sportsnet’s Blue Jays Central, the Luncheon gave guests the opportunity to listen in on the players’ insights into the upcoming season, and take part in a raffle for the chance to win autographed Blue Jays memorabilia or a trip for two to Toronto during the 2013 Blue Jays season.
Proceeds from the Luncheon were dedicated to building Saskatoon Minor Baseball Association’s (SMBA) indoor baseball training facility, including the installation of four batting cages, three pitching bullpens and infield modifications. This space will serve the 1,200 players who have registered for programming.
“In the offseason, Saskatoon Minor Baseball teams only have access to local school gyms, which are not conducive to the development and refinement of the skills they gain all summer,” said Darren Richens, President, Saskatoon Minor Baseball Association. “The Toronto Blue Jays generous contribution to improve access and opportunities at our facility demonstrates a true commitment to growing the game from coast to coast.”
Jays Care also supports the development of grass roots baseball in under-resourced communities in Saskatchewan through its Blue Jays Baseball Academy Rookie League. Launching its first full season of national programming in 2012, Boys and Girls Clubs of Saskatoon and Regina were given equipment, monetary grants and coaching support to introduce more than 400 children to the game of baseball through summer camps and after-school programs. These Rookie Leaguers will have access to the SMBA indoor training facility in order that they, too, can connect with a local baseball association and explore the sport at a more competitive level.
“As proud supporters of amateur baseball across Canada, the Toronto Blue Jays, through Jays Care Foundation, are pleased to extend their community investment efforts to the Prairies,” said Rob Drynan, interim Executive Director, Jays Care Foundation. “Through capital funding and program support, we’re striving to give more kids in Saskatchewan the opportunity to be part of a team and embrace the sport of baseball all year round.”
About Jays Care Foundation
Since 1992, Jays Care has created opportunities for children and youth in need by providing access to programs that promote regular physical activity, encourage the pursuit of higher education and impart fundamental life skills. The foundation has made possible the building of dedicated, accessible, safe youth spaces for recreational programming, inspiring engagement through the sport of baseball. In 2012 alone, Jays Care contributed more than $1.9 million to initiatives and facilities across Canada, and provided 23,000 kids access to vital programs and services through Field of Dreams funding, Grand Slam Grants, the Home Run Scholars program, Rookie League camps and Jays Care Community Clubhouse.