The Ontario Blue Jays enter their sixth year in the Canadian Premier Baseball League with high expectations and excitement for the 2021 season.
In 2020, getting on the field at all was a huge positive for the Blue Jays. “Speaking on behalf of probably everyone in the league, I think a highlight for all teams was to just see kids playing competitive baseball again” said Corey Eckstein, the Ontario Blue Jays Director of Player Development and Player Personnel.
Like so many other organizations, the Blue Jays had to adjust their schedule and come up with backup plans to allow for the best possible competition in the shortened year. For 2021, they are prepared for similar situations, “contingency plans will be the nature of the beast and we will be prepared to have a schedule on both Canadian and US soil in 2021,” Eckstein said.
However, despite the tournament cancellations and missed games in 2020, the Blue Jays were able to partake in the WWBA World Championship, finishing off their season on a high note as they performed well in one of the year’s most prestigious events.
“After talking with lawyers, ensuring we had COVID insurance for everyone through AIG, and keeping our players in our bubble at all times we decided to move forward and try and do something positive to wrap up the fall season…. Coach Steed did a remarkable job as always with these young men and I couldn’t be more proud to see them finish in the Round of 16 out of 96 of the best programs in North America,” said Eckstein.
I’m extremely proud of Mike Steed (@SteedBaseball) & our group of players who battled to the very end today. They played the game the right way every pitch and should be proud of that. You all continue to make OBJ the program it is! #FearTheFlock #OBJFamily https://t.co/AarwnREXYP
— Joe Ellison (@JoeEllison24) October 11, 2020
The foundation of talent the Blue Jays have at the younger levels provides just as much enthusiasm for Eckstein. “I am really excited about our up and comers that nobody has really seen yet… the physicality of some of our 15’s and 16’s is what really excites me and it will be up to our older guys this off-season to show them how things need to be done around here.”
With talent at the younger levels and the older group’s recent success, Eckstein has high expectations for all the clubs in the organization. “I believe we will be competitive at all age levels next year, especially now that we scaled back to six teams,” said Eckstein.
“The standard and expectations will never change as long as you wear the OBJ uniform. Our objective will always be to compete at the highest level on the biggest stage while teaching life lessons through the game of baseball,” said Eckstein.
— Mike Steed (@SteedBaseball) October 12, 2020
Off the field, the Blue Jays have made revamps in numerous facets, “over the past four months, our facility has had a complete overhaul, and we are getting back to investing in our players player development as well as their personal well-being off the field. Our staff is closer than ever, and I have personally seen a huge change in the output of everybody’s work inside our building, which is exciting for me,” said Eckstein.
The Blue Jays are prepared on and off the field, excited about what’s to come in the 2021 season and beyond.