Trevor Clarke bullish about baseball
Carbonear native to play for host team at 2014 nationals in St. John’s next month
With the 2014 Senior Men’s Baseball Championships in St. John’s just seven weeks away, Carbonear native Trevor Clarke acknowledged last week the excitement level is starting to build.
The tournament will bring together the finest senior men’s talent from across the country on Aug. 21-25, marking the first time since 1997 that the nationals have been staged in this province.
The 30-year-old is the everyday shortstop with the Trapper John’s Shamrocks in the St. John’s senior circuit and a member of the St. John’s Capitals senior men’s squad for the last decade.
He said there is a different feeling this season as the Capitals prepare to welcome the nation. “There’s an excitement,” said Clarke. The Capitals are one of two local entries in the 10-team national tournament. Corner Brook is the other.
The Barons captured the provincial senior baseball crown last summer, earning them the right to represent Newfoundland and Labrador in this year’s tournament.
Clarke is banking on this tournament being a bit different then the ’97 version.
“There were four teams that pulled out at the last minute,” he said. “It ended up having two teams from Newfoundland, two teams from Nova Scotia and two teams from New Brunswick. It was more like an Atlantic tournament.”
However, there is a buzz about coming to this side of the country.
“We’ve been going to these tournaments on the mainland for the past 13 years straight, and everyone is looking forward to coming out east for a good time,” said Clarke.
Ahead of the tournament, the venerable St. Pat’s Park in St. John’s is getting a substantial makeover.
St. Pat’s is one of the two fields in the metro region being used for the tournament. The other is the Smallwood Drive ballfield located at the Team Gushue Sports Complex in Mount Pearl.
Work is being completed to upgrade the bleachers, along with the clubhouse and score box, as well as a new scoreboard, work on the drainage system, the sprinkler system, new lights and a new clay infield.
“I’ve been down taking a peek every now and then and it’s looking good,” said Clarke.
Being a shortstop, Clarke is most looking forward to getting some practice on the new infield.
“I’m the leadoff hitter and I play in the middle infield. I’m kind of relied on to get on base and steal an odd base … and I’ll tell you, from years and years of doing it down at St. Pat’s on that old gravel, it’s really taken its toll on the body,” he said. “I’m really looking forward to it.”
In Canada, baseball tends to go as the Toronto Blue Jays go. If Canada’s major league team is successful, more children start to pick up the game.
Registration numbers are steady in minor baseball programs across the province, including locally with Baseball CBN, although some feel the numbers could be higher.
The hope is a tournament like the senior men’s nationals will help provide the exposure the game needs in a province where other sports — soccer being the best example, have seen a surge in popularity.
“I believe it will do wonders for the grassroots programs inside St. John’s and outside St. John’s,” said Clarke.
“I think the closer we get to (the tournament), the more interest it will generate,” he added.
Carbonear native Trevor Clarke makes a play during last summers provincial men’s senior baseball final against the Corner Brook Barons at St. Pat’s Field in St. John’s. Clarke, and the St. John’s Capitals, are preparing for the 2014 Senior Men’s Baseball Championship being held in St. John’s Aug. 21-25.