Taking Western out to the ballgame
By Brendan Howe
Spring is here and baseball is in the air but this time it's not the Blue Jays it's Mustang baseball, slated to come to Western this fall.
Organized by first-year student Jamie Strashan, there is a bid for Western to add a team to the three-year-old Canadian Inter-university Baseball Association, a league which showcases teams from Ontario, Quebec and the Atlantic provinces.
Although Intercollegiate Athletics will not recognize the team as a varsity club, Strashan still plans to go ahead and get funding from elsewhere so he can bring baseball to Western.
"We'll be looking for sponsors over the summer but the players are going to have to pay a lot of the costs," Strashan said.
He started talking with the CIBA six months ago about the venture at Western, hoping to give people a chance to play after high school.
Composed of 20 teams last year the CIBA has grown from its humble beginnings of only four and now showcases both university and college teams. Plans are underway to add several new teams to the league including Western.
"It's really become a bona fide league," CIBA convenor Ken Babcock said. "The calibre of talent is good, it's junior status."
Babcock was delighted many schools have been showing an interest in the league especially Western.
"I think it could be a good thing if there is the support there that Jamie indicated," Babcock said. "London is a strong baseball area and if they work at it and be consistent they can be successful."
Strashan recently found a coach for the team in Mike Lumley, a well-respected member of the London baseball community. Lumley played organized baseball until 1993 and once made the 40-man roster of the Detroit Tigers. He spent some time playing for the triple A London tigers and now has his own baseball school in London.
"I had an interest doing that [coaching university baseball] in the states," Lumley said. "It's great that I get to do it up here."
He added that it will be a challenge because the team has no equipment, money or anything else but he'll be able to help because of his connections within the London baseball community.
The team plans to play its games at either the London District Baseball Association park or Labatt Park. Both Lumley and Strashan realize that getting off the ground in their first year is going to be difficult but both think that baseball at Western can be a successful venture.
Strashan plans to have a meeting tomorrow at 4:30 p.m. in Rm. 49 UCC for everyone interested in trying out for Western's first intercollegiate baseball team.