There will be Toronto Blue Jays signage at Nat Bailey Stadium again after the Blue Jays invited the Vancouver Canadians to become one of their affiliates in 2021.
The Vancouver Canadians are preparing for what they hope will be a Northwest League season in 2021.
One of the first signs that the upcoming baseball year is not that far away is the Annual Hot Stove Luncheon that is normally held at the Vancouver Fairmont Hotel near the end of January. However, this year’s event was a virtual affair thanks to COVID-19. Among the highlights of Beyond the Nat week was a ‘State of the Franchise’ address from Canadians co-owner Jake Kerr.
Whenever fans are allowed to return to Nat Bailey Stadium, they will see some changes as Kerr says the team—along with the City of Vancouver—plans to be “making substantial improvements to the stadium” over the next few years. Among the planned changes will be new clubhouses for the players.
“We’re going to build clubhouses down the right field line where the current picnic area is and our plan is to have the picnic area on the roof of the clubhouse which will provide lots of space. It will provide a much better view of the field for the people who are picnicking.
We’re planning to have more areas for small groups to get together. That’s been pretty popular down the third base line and on first and I think we’ll have a bunch more of those down around the right field corner. We might have a bar up there.”
Canadians co-owner Jeff Mooney provided an update on all the good works happening with the Vancouver Canadians Baseball Foundation that include helping underprivileged kids play baseball.
Also, C’s president Andy Dunn joined Toronto Blue Jays president emeritus Paul Beeston in a Hot Stove Q&A hosted by Sportsnet’s Hazel Mae.
2019 Vancouver Canadians manager Casey Candaele has been named the new skipper of the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons. The former Montreal Expo joined the Blue Jays organization in 2018 where he managed the Dunedin Blue Jays before arriving in Vancouver. Candaele served as a minor league field coordinator last year.
The Jays also announced that Cesar Martin will still be in charge of the Double-A New Hampshire Fisher Cats. He was given the job last year but did not have the chance to hand in any lineup cards to the Eastern League umpires due to the pandemic.
The Jays have not announced who will be managing Vancouver, Dunedin or the Gulf Coast and Dominican League squads. North Delta, BC native Brent Lavallee was tabbed to be the C’s manager in 2020 before the Corona Virus spoiled that plan.
The two teams exiled from the Northwest League have found new baseball homes. The Boise Hawks have joined the newly independent Pioneer League and they—unlike their former Northwest League brethren—know when they will be playing. They will begin their 96-game schedule in Ogden May 22 before playing their home opener four nights later against Grand Junction. The manager for the birds in Boise will be Calgary native Gary Van Tol, who skippered the club during the 2013 and 2014 seasons.
As for the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes, they will be part of a four-team independent Mavericks League that will include the Salem Senators, the Campesinos de Salem-Keizer and the Portland Mavericks of The Battered Bastards of Baseball fame. Each team will play a 48-game schedule at Volcanoes Stadium each Thursday to Sunday from mid-May to September.