Pro Baseball in Vancouver? A summer night at Nat Bailey Stadium

Photo credit: John Bollwit | Flickr

When it comes to spectator sports in Vancouver, hockey is king, football is a distant second and soccer is an equally distant third.

And somewhere well after that comes baseball.  Yes, Vancouver does have a professional baseball team: the minor league Vancouver Canadians, a farm club for the Toronto Blue Jays.  The Canadians play a brief summer season at Nat Baily Stadium in the Riley Park-Little Mountain area – a tree-lined, residential neighbourhood just minutes from downtown Vancouver.

And not only are the games a thrill to watch, they might just be the best sports value in the city.  Continue reading:
Pro Baseball in Vancouver? A summer night at Nat Bailey Stadium

Vancouver’s Forgotten Japanese Baseball Club

Although it may not look like it now, Oppenheimer Park in the Downtown Eastside was once a baseball diamond – home field for the Vancouver Asahi, an all-Japanese baseball club formed in 1914.  Earlier this month, a ceremony honored the nearly forgotten team, 70 years to the day the club was disbanded and its players sent to internment camps.

The story of the Asahi is among the most fascinating, and little-known, chapters of Vancouver’s early history (as related in this great Vancouver Sun article). The team was started in 1914 when businessman Harry Miyasaki brought together the best amateur players from British Columbia’s fast-growing Japanese population.  The club, known as the Asahi Tigers,  competed against the city’s white ball clubs during the early days of baseball.

And they kicked some butt.

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Vancouver’s Forgotten Japanese Baseball Club

Playoff Baseball in Vancouver

Photo credit: Remy Scalza

With the BC Lions in the CFL basement and the Canucks still a month away from starting the regular season, Vancouver sports fans haven’t had much to cheer about lately.

With one exception:  Vancouver’s minor league baseball team – the Canadians – is finishing up an exceptional season.  After a full summer of baseball, the Canadians currently sit atop the Northwest League’s standings.  They’re scheduled to play for the divisional title this Monday, Labour Day, at 1 p.m. in historic Nat Bailey Stadium.

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Playoff Baseball in Vancouver

Baseball in Hockey Land? The Vancouver Canadians

Photo: The Province

Vancouver is rightly known as a hockey town, and from October through April (and well beyond that on good years) the Canucks are the hottest ticket in town.   During the summer, however, other sports take the spotlight.  There’s football with the B.C. Lions, soccer with the Whitecaps and – believe it or not – professional baseball.

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Baseball in Hockey Land? The Vancouver Canadians

Take Me Out to the Ball Game…

Go Canadians
Ah, summer – picnics, beach days, Playland, and the smell of freshly cut grass. In the dog days of August, it’s time to make the most of the season, and one quintessentially Vancouver way to do that is to take in a “Nooner” at the Nat. Grab a hot dog or pretzel, settle down in the bleachers, and root-root-root for the home team (the Vancouver Canadians at these games) at the iconic Nat Bailey Stadium in Queen Elizabeth Park.

At Tuesday’s game, the Canadians thoroughly thumped the Tri-City Dust Devils, but the real reason to go to a game is the atmosphere. From field groomers who spontaneously bust out into choreographed dance routines to the infamous ‘sushi race’ this is a family-friendly experience that just screams summer. Plus, any excuse for mini-donuts and lemonade works for me.

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Take Me Out to the Ball Game…