Since the March 25th announcement by the Western Canadian Baseball League (WCBL) that they would be going “All-Canadian”, our Edmonton Prospects have made no player announcements. The Club has auctioned off some sweet swag through their Facebook Auctions page but stayed quiet on all other fronts.
The baseball fan in me finds everything about that opening paragraph concerning so I reached out to the Prospects Head Coach and Assistant General Manger Jordan Blundell for an update on the team and as much as possible the League.
- Would the league play if the probability of having fans in the stands was reduced to zero?
“We are prepared to start play without fans in the stands. It’s realistic we will play a 40-46 game regular season and we are hopeful that at some point we will have an audience. When those doors do open we understand it will not be the customary full house on Canada Day, a day that the entire league celebrates quite well, we know fan numbers will be limited.We are hopeful that by mid-July, the environment is such that the league can welcome back baseball fans. Maybe by playoff time we can get to 50% capacity but none of that is under our control. As a league we offer the province a method to give fans a conduit to returning fan engagement and attending events.”
- 2) What is the Prospects plan for player announcements?
“We do have a full roster. We made the decision to not announce the individual player signings because we didn’t feel right promoting players during a time when the Covid numbers were getting worse and so many people were struggling.Our goal for a return to play is mid-June, pending all Covid variables of course, leading into this return we will generate our customary buzz around our team by releasing player names and information.I am excited about the group we have. The excitement is only matched by their collective mindset to get back onto the playing field. I couldn’t imagine being their age and having sport taken away from me”
- 3) What are the plans for the travelling roadshow, (originally some “home” games were scheduled to played at Henry Singer Park in Spruce Grove, Centennial Park in Sherwood Park and Wally Footz Field in Edmonton) as the Prospects await the building of their new home in Spruce Grove?
“Ballpark availability requests have been submitted to the league.Over the past few years we have developed great relationships with many groups throughout Alberta. It is an important part of what we do, growing relationships within the province. The groups we have cut deals with to play in their parks see it as a chance to show their registrants this level of play. Providing youth players access is a huge win for baseball registration. We genuinely hope we allowed to engage with as many young baseball hopefuls as possible given the Covid era we currently reside in.It is not ideal for college players as a team having a season long road trip but shoot we’d play on a community field with no fences.”
- Additional comments by Mr. Blundell:
“Running camps last year during the Covid era taught me measures that I will continue to use post Covid era in spreading the kids out across the field.Currently baseball in Alberta is in shut down. The guideline for a return to play for kids can be found on Baseball Alberta. As adults those guidelines won’t vary that much. There are discussions between our league and AHS to determine our specific guidelines for a return to play including how our schedule is laid out (regular style or cohort).More than just baseball, we want everyone to be healthy and safe.”
Thank you Jordan.