Robinson ditches retirement for Pan Ams
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.’’
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.