Robin­son ditches re­tire­ment for Pan Ams

Cape Breton Post - - SPORTS -

Com­pet­ing in another Pan Amer­i­can Games was the last thing on Chris Robin­son’s mind when Base­ball Canada’s di­rec­tor of na­tional teams called him a cou­ple months ago.

As a re­cently re­tired catcher, the 12-time na­tional team rep­re­sen­ta­tive in­no­cently as­sumed Greg Hamil­ton was phon­ing him to pick his brain on po­ten­tial play­ers who could fill his po­si­tion.

Then the tone of the con­ver­sa­tion changed.

“All of a sud­den Greg says, ‘ you know, I’m miss­ing out on that vet­eran pres­ence, some­one who knows the staff,’’’ Robin­son said af­ter Fri­day’s prac­tice at the Pres­i­dent’s Choice Pan Am Ball­park in Ajax, Ont.

“I was hold­ing my 10-weekold baby in my arms, my other two kids were run­ning around, my wife Amy was out of the house and Greg says, ‘so can you do it?’ I look around and I’m like: ‘what do you mean can I do it?’’’

“Ob­vi­ously un­ex­pected is an un­der­state­ment,’’ Robin­son added with a laugh.

The 31-year-old Dorch­ester, Ont., na­tive hung up his cleats at the end of the 2013 sea­son af­ter fi­nally mak­ing it to the big leagues. His stint in the ma­jors was short _ eight games with the San Diego Padres _ but he was grate­ful for it af­ter spend­ing nine sea­sons in the mi­nors.

Since his re­tire­ment, Robin­son has been work­ing as a coach with the Great Lake Cana­di­ans, an elite base­ball pro­gram in Lon­don, Ont., for high school-aged kids in the area. He also spent time on the coach­ing staff of the ju­nior na­tional team.

While Robin­son ad­mit­ted he was hes­i­tant to join the Pan Am team af­ter be­ing out of the game so long — his last pro­fes­sional ap­pear­ance came on Sept. 28, 2013 against the San Fran­cisco Giants — he says his job in Lon­don keeps him in “some­what base­ball shape.’’

CP PHOTO

China catcher Wei Wang looks on as Canada's Chris Robin­son (30), from Dorch­ester, Ont., con­grat­u­lates Em­manuel Gar­cia (15), of Mon­treal, af­ter they both scored in the eighth in­ning dur­ing pre­lim­i­nary round ac­tion at the Bei­jing Olympics in Bei­jing, China on Aug.13, 2008.

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