It’s easy to understand why the players would relish a game with TV cameras, play-by-play announcers and packed bleachers. For these lucky 9-year-old ball players, it was a taste of the big leagues as they took part in a ‘live’ commercial shoot for Schneiders hot dogs.
The minor mosquito players didn’t know about this big production at Neilson Park until they arrived at the game and were welcomed by boisterous group of fans bused in for the occasion. Blue Jays mascot Ace even flew in for the big event. Five or more cameras recording every moment of the game and the announcers called the game and conducting sideline interviews.
The players’ new-found celebrity was further christened with a round of delicious Schneider’s ballpark hot dogs after the game.
A major league pro returned to his roots for a day as the Scarborough Stingers mosquito and peewee teams welcomed home Sean Ratcliffe, the Toronto Blue Jays 18th round selection in the 2013 MLB draft.
Sean dropped into Out of the Park Sports to meet with the players and coaches of the four Stingers teams. Sean pointed out he was their age when he started playing competitive ball on a Stingers team coached by Frank Gallo. Sean told the boys he spent five great years in a Stingers uniform, learning a lot about baseball and having a ton of fun.
“Work and hard and listen to your coaches,” Sean said in answer to a question on the secret to being a good ballplayer. “And always have fun. Baseball is a great sport and more than anything you should be having fun while getting better.”
Sean is not the first Stinger to be selected in the draft but he is the first to sign a pro contract. He leaves for Dunedin, Fla., next month for extended spring training.
The Stingers wish Sean the best of luck. And drop by anytime!