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2021 is Going to be A+!

I’m not going to lie, when my wife turned to me in late December and asked what my intentions were for 2021, my initial thoughts were to give some glib answer that had no realistic chance of occurring. I mean, who really wants to make intentions after the year we’ve just had?? But, after some thought (on the fly no less), I said, given the Vancouver Canadians will be (we hope) not only playing high-A affiliated baseball but still within the Toronto Blue Jays system, I’d like to start writing again.

So, with inspiration from Andrew Stoeten, who has resumed his Blue Jays musings, I’ve managed to dust off my laptop and start this post. Let’s see where this goes. I thought we’d begin the re-entry into C’s blogging with a nice, comfortable 5 things I’d like to see in 2021. Leaving out the obvious – baseball at the Nat. Now, I’ve been sitting on the bench for a spell so have no particular insight into what went on during the MLB to MiLB invitation process. All I know is that it looked at first like Vancouver would not have an affiliated team. Then it seemed we might but it would be with Oakland. And finally, Christmas came early as it was confirmed that Toronto had extended the invitation. Maybe someday soon I’ll add ‘Research’ to the 2021 intentions but if the rumour about John Horigan personally calling the Rogers brass to extol the relationship the city has with the C’s and their affiliation with the Jays then a massive hat tip to our sitting Premier. On with the new year wishes:

  1. Prospects – Down the road I’m going to try and take a look at how prospects converted to MLB 40 man spots to see if there is actually much of a difference between Low and High A. For this season, as always, having a good amount of prospects on the C’s roster will make the season that much more fun. Being a college pick, you would have expected 2020 1st rounder (5th overall) Austin Martin to have joined the C’s last summer. For at least a short spell. In years past, I would have said Martin’s career arc would have included a stop in Vancouver this season. Probably from the start. Look at the last college position player the Jays took in the 1st round, 2017 22nd overall pick Logan Warmoth, for a similar trajectory. If you listen to/read Sportsnet’s Arden Zwelling, however, 2021 will be an outlier and the Jays may look to be aggressive with their top prospects. Meaning the ex-Vanderbilt star may very well bypass Vancouver for New Hampshire. Even if that does happen, the 2021 C’s shouldn’t be light on potential future Jays. The entirety of the remaining 2020 draft picks should make an appearance at some point. I wouldn’t be surprised if 2018 3rd rounder Adam Kloffenstein has a 2nd go-round with the C’s after a successful turn in 2019 with the short season version. As a Vancouver alum and after taking a turn in the 2020 ‘COVID’ Constellation Energy League, the  6’5″ righty will look to provide some clubhouse leadership.
  2. Bring back Big Jim! After two tours of duty in Vancouver, Jim Czajkowski served as pitching coach to the Dunedin Blue Jays in 2019. Vancouver, of course, has replaced Dunedin as the Jays High-A affiliate so seems a C’s reunion for Czajkowski would be a natural fit. Obviously, with the recent events, there are fewer jobs to go-round (and as I mentioned above, I haven’t bothered to do any research to see if coaches have been retained, let go, etc.) but I’m hopeful that we get the chance to pick Jim’s brain again in 2021. By the by, I found an old interview I had with Jim on my phone recently which still has some relevance. Will look to get it up as this journey progresses.
  3. Cold Weather GiveAways! Every season, local patrons of the Nat look forward to the excellent promotions run by the club and their sponsors. Given we will be cranking (huge caveat for 2021 notwithstanding) the season up much earlier — for context, the 2019 California League season began on the 4th of April — some C’s branded blankets, scarfs, ear muffs, hot toddies, etc. wouldn’t go amiss.
  4. Bring on the Braintrust – I should preface this ask by saying I have no (see ask 5 below) idea what access I will have this season but if there are interviewing possibilities then it’s always great to see the coordinators make a stop in Vancouver. Picking the brain of Gil Kim, Charlie Wilson and, especially my childhood hero, Tim Raines is always illuminating. Theoretically, with less teams to tour, we should see these guys more often.
  5. I’d really like to see a certain C. Caskey follow through on his intention to write about the C’s. Often the very best of intentions, cutting down on beer, becoming a more astute investor, upping the training regime, etc tend to go by the proverbial wayside. This season, instead of wasting time on those unimportant goals, let’s, instead, up the beer game, buy Greg Balloch one and convince him to get the band back together. Blogging AND the YourVanCs Podcast…..here we go!

Obviously, everything I’ve asked for depends very much on many things falling into place…..in a hurry. Something I’m not particularly confident about. But why ruin a comeback post with logic. Let’s close our eyes and dream about sitting in the Vancouver sun whilst watching a bit of ball.

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