The Toronto Blue Jays are coming to Prince George for spring training.
Four former Blue Jays -- Lloyd Moseby, Homer Bush, Jesse Barfield and head instructor Duane Ward will be training a group of kids at the Blue Jays Honda Super Camp at the Charles Jago Northern Sport Centre March 26-28.
Brenda Astorino's son Quinten was part of the first Blue Jays Honda Super Camp in Prince George in 2011 and says her 12-year-old can't wait to go through the drills again with former World Series champions.
"These kids are so excited when they see these type of people coming to Prince George to help them with their game, it's something they will remember forever," said Astorino, the coaching co-ordinator for the Prince George Youth Baseball Association. "They're still talking about the last one."
The cost to register for the three-day camp is $230 per player. It's open to kids aged 9-16 and space is limited to 125 players. Online registration is at bluesjays.com, under the heading Baseball Academy.
Also coming to Prince George as a camp instructor is T.J. Burton, who played for Team Canada at the 2009 World Baseball Challenge. Local coaches from the region have been invited to participate in the camp.
Todd Schwab's son Michael was 10 years old in 2011 when the Jays Honda Super Camp first came to Prince George. The chance to work out in major league pitching drills with Ward, a dominating Major League Baseball mid-reliever who helped the Jays win back-to-back World Series in 1992 and 1993, left a huge impression.
"As a coach, watching how they coach, we teach sort of the same drills but they do it in a different way that makes it a lot more fun for the kids," said Schwab.
"When you're dealing with nine-and 10-year-old kids, variety is of the utmost importance and it's amazing what that does for the kids. It just picked everybody up and made for a better season. That team of 10-year-olds went on to finish second in the province and it might sound crazy but I think [the Blue Jays Super Camp] had a lot to do with it."
The same four Jays will bring the Honda Super Camp to Nanaimo, Kelowna and Vancouver during the summer. The 2011 camp in Prince George attracted players from Alberta, Terrace, Fort St. John, Williams Lake, and Quesnel.
"These are four star players... there's four World Series rings among them," said Jim Swanson, co-chair of the World Baseball Society.
The camp will be a lead-in to the 2013 World Baseball Challenge this summer. Swanson said the city and its facilities, as well as the large volunteer base built to stage the WBC international tournaments in 2009 and 2011, helped paved the way for the Super Camp visit. Swanson also credited the influence of Prince George native Stephen Brooks, a College Heights secondary school graduate who serves in the Jays' front office as senior vice-president of business operations.