Faris’ summer? All-star game in KC, all-star, Rogers Centre workout
* Faris Adamou, 12, was at the all-star game in Kansas City, shagging balls during batting practice, earned all-star honours at Royal York and worked out at the Rogers Centre with the Team Canada juniors. Photo: Alexis Brudnicki ….
By Alexis Brudnicki
This summer has been a dream come true for Faris Adamou.
The 12-year-old represented the Toronto Blue Jays in Kansas City during the all-star festivities, was a member of his own league’s all-star team, and he suited up with Team Canada before they took off to the Italian Baseball Week Tournament on their way to the IBAF 18U World Championships in Seoul, South Korea.
Yet five years ago, Adamou could never have imagined any of this in his wildest dreams.
He didn’t even know what baseball was.
“Where I came from, there was no baseball,” Adamou said. “When I came to Canada I was like, ‘What’s baseball?’ Then after, I started learning it. And now I’m playing for the rookie league and on the team and everything.”
The young right-hander grew up in the Republic of Chad in Central Africa. He and his family faced many challenges as they immigrated to Canada. It was those experiences that led Adamou to Kansas City.
When the then seven-year-old moved to Canada, he was introduced to the game of baseball. He became a part of Rookie League, a program run by the Jays Care Foundation and Toronto Community Housing. He eventually joined Major League Baseball’s Reviving Baseball in the Inner City (RBI) program.
Adamou has since become a promising baseball talent, though his family still doesn’t quite understand it all.
“My dad is learning baseball,” he said. “I’m kind of teaching him too. I’m like his mentor or something. I’m teaching him the game…Now my brother wants to play baseball too, so my dad’s working on it and I’m helping him.”
Through the RBI program, Adamou and many other young baseball players were given the opportunity to write about the difficulties they’ve overcome. The top essays were chosen, Adamou’s included in that short list, and the youngster was given the chance to catch fly balls on the field at Kauffman Stadium during this year’s Home Run Derby.
So far, that experience has been the highlight of Adamou’s blossoming baseball career. But he’s also been given some other pretty cool opportunities along the way.
The now-native of Toronto took part in a full practice at Rogers Centre with the Canadian junior national team earlier this month. The best part about his day was hitting in the batting cage off of live pitching – the national teams’ director, Greg Hamilton, who threw batting practice.
“He was hitting line drives all over the park,” Hamilton said.
Adamou got also got help on the mound from Team Canada’s pitching coach, Chris Reitsma, a former major leaguer.
“He taught me a couple of things about pitching,” the young hurler said. “That actually helped me a lot because I still have a couple games left for my team, so it will help a lot.”
However, one of the biggest impressions made upon Adamou during his day with the Canadian squad was in learning about Gareth Morgan. Currently the youngest on the team at age 16, Morgan began playing for Hamilton when he was 14, giving Adamou some hope that he might be suiting up with the national team again sooner rather than later.
“They told me that Gareth was the youngest and that he just finished Grade 10,” Adamou said. “I got to learn a little bit about the other guys too … I want to be a part of this. It seems pretty fun. They do lots of travelling so that’s going to be fun.”
Though the Royal York pitcher was a little shy with his Team Canada counterparts at first, he quickly warmed up to them throughout the morning.
“[Hamilton] was asking me if I was having fun,” Adamou said. “It was actually really fun playing with these guys. They’re older than me so it’s kind of different. I was nervous at first, but then I just went along with it.”
If nothing else, the Canadian national teams’ director got a first glimpse at what could perhaps be future Team Canada potential.
“He’s an energetic little guy,” Hamilton said. “He’s got some good baseball talents and it was super to have him here to be a part of what we’re doing. Hopefully it will help him as he moves forward.”