By: Bob Elliott
Canadian Baseball Network
Oscar Rodriguez and Vincent Beauregard sat in the first base dugout of the Rogers Centre late Monday afternoon to talk some ball.
Like two old timers sitting on the front porch rocking and talking ... about the good old days as the young uns whizzed by on their skate boards and scooters, plugged into head phones.
Rodriguez and Beauregard you see are old timers.
They were together wearing Quebec Blue uniforms at the Rogers Centre in 2013 for the first Tournament 12.
They were together a year ago when T12 commissioner Robbie Alomar congratulated Quebec coach Denis Boucher with the championship trophy.
They are in the Quebec team picture which hangs in Alomar’s suite on the 300 level ... right beside the Atlantic Grey picture from Year I.
As Rodriguez (St. Leonard, Que.) and Beauregard (Laval, Que.) sat and talked, the first-year Quebec Blue players took batting practice, mostly from Les Ailes du Québec, gawked at the sights from the CN Tower, to the roof which was inching along closing and there, right there behind the batting cage -- a real live Hall of Famer in Robbie Alomar.
Rodriguez and Beauregard had seen it all before.
They were born less than two months apart ... Rodriguez May 27, 1997 and Beauregard July 26.
They both pitch for coach Marc-Andre Ronda with the Orioles de Montreal, the same program which produced RHP Jesen Dygestile-Therrien (Montreal, Que.), who is in the Philadelphia Phillies organization, as well as INF Louis-Philippe Pelletier (Montreal, Que.) of the Academy Baseball Canada selected in the 38th round by the San Diego Padres in 2014.
Dygestile-Therrien was 5-0 with three saves and a 1.43 ERA in 39 games at class-A Clearwater and class-A Lakewood. He walked 17 and struck out 54 in 63 innings this season.
They’ve been to the Canada Games together in Sherbrooke in 2013 and the Canada Cup in Saskatoon a year ago.
And they both say their best pitch is their fastball ... both have peaked at 88 mph.
Both speak Spanish: Rodriguez moved to Montreal from Tijuana, Mex. four years ago, while Beauregard’s mom Jessie is from Costa Rica.
Matthew Chiz-Majeur (Pte. Clarie, Que.) and Mathieu Denault-Gauthier (Candiac, Que.) are also back to defend their championship with coach Denis Boucher.
And Isaac Deveaux (Montreal, Que.) returns to the Rogers Centre.
“We let him play for the Futures team last year to audition for this team,” joked Boucher.
If truth be told Deveaux did watch Quebec beat BC Orange from the victorious dugout and then got in on the post-game pizza too.
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One area where the pair are different is their travelling schedule. While they both flew into Billy Bishop airport on the weekend, Beauregard’s previous flight plan was Montreal-Toronto-Los Angeles-Brisbane and one to Osaka, Japan for the 18U World Cup.
Beauregard pitched in Australia on the exhibition tour and in Osaka as the lefty pitched three times; seven scoreless for the win in a 10-0 victory over Italy, two scoreless in a 5-2 loss to Japan walking three, striking out four and faced three hitters against Team USA in an 8-5 loss.
Beauregard said it was a thrill “representing your country,” and had all the players who were eligible been allowed to go, Canada would have won a medal.
“We went 8-4 in the Dominican against pro teams when we had all our players,” said Beauregard, but the Atlanta Braves would not allow right-hander Mike Soroka (Calgary, Alta.) selected 28th over-all in North America to play for Canada and the Cincinnati Reds said no to four signed players competing: OF Miles Gordon (Oakville, Ont.), INF J.D. Williams (Brampton, Ont.), LHP Isaac Anesty (Guelph, Ont.) and C Darren Shred (Brampton, Ont.).
“That’s the first time I ever felt like a big leaguer, with people coming up and asking me for autographs -- me,” said the lefty, who was 1-0 with a 1.93 ERA walking four and striking out 12 in 9 1/3 innings.
* * *
The most lasting impression for Beauregard was the way fans in Japan and other teams treated slugger Josh Naylor. Players from opposing teams asked to have their picture taken with him ... just the way players from other countries did after watching Adam Loewen in 2001.
Fans mobbed Naylor for autographs.
The media compared Naylor to Kotaro Kiyomiya, who starred when Canada won the Little League World Series in 2012 and was nicknamed the “Japanese Babe Ruth” in Williamsport, Penn.
The USA game was played at Koshien Stadium, home of Hanshin Tigers, one of the oldest pro teams in Japan and one of three major natural grass baseball stadiums in Japan.
At 91 year old Koshien Stadium is the oldest park in Japan and hosted Babe Ruth and a touring team of big leaguers in 1934. It is “sacred” park, where players traditionally bow before entering and before leaving its field. The losing team in any high school baseball game played at the ballpark is allowed to scoop up handfuls of Koshien infield dirt, stuffing holy clay clods into tiny plastic bags as hordes of Japanese paparazzi snap photos at arm’s length.
If you watched any of the live streaming from Osaka (unlike the Pan Am Games from far off Ajax, it was possible) you heard Ted Smith (@tedzzing) cheering for Canada playing his horn. Smith is a Canadian living in Korea and cheers for the “Nexen Heroes” when a Canadian team is not in town. Soon, Beauregard’s mom Jessie was accompanying Smith and playing a base drum during Canuck rallies.
* * *
Two years ago Beauregard played for Northeast Baseball in Boston for the summer.
“It was a good experience, I went with Jonathan Martin,” said Beauregard, who said Jethro Supre helped arrange spots for players like Charles LeBlanc, Denault-Gauthier and many others to the Ohio Warhawks Atlanta Elite U17.
“It’s a good experience, it helps a lot when it comes to speaking English.”
* * *
Both Rodriguez and Beauregard were at Olympic Stadium when the Blue Jays played two exhibition games against the New York Mets in the spring of 2014 and this spring against the Cincinnati Reds. Rodriguez sat in the outfield, while Beauregard sat down the third base line.
“Robbie Alomar got me great tickets, I met Robbie in spring training when he was helping coach the Junior team,” said Beauregard, who was seven years of age when the Montreal Expos left town.
“I really didn’t know what it meant at the time -- that we couldn’t see baseball in Montreal any more, said Beauregard. “This summer has been fun because the Blue Jays are good.”
He says his favorite player is lefty David Price because he likes his explosiveness, adding “he’s very aggressive with a good breaking ball.”
Rodriguez’s fave is naturally Blue Jays closer Roberto Osuna, Sinaloa, Mex.
“I knew about him when he signed (2011), he’s all over the papers in Mexico,” said Rodriguez. “He’s a surprise ... closing at age 20 and having so much success.”
Beauregard’s mother Jessie a stay-at-home-mom -- unless she is hammering on a drum in Osaka -- while father Marcel works for the Metro. Rodriguez’s mother Flor is also a stay-at-home mom, while his father Raul is a used car salesmen.
Would Oscar Rodriguez buy a car from that used car salesman?
“Yes I would,” answered Rodriguez quickly, “because it won’t be pricey.”
* * *
Boucher walked by and said “avez-vous dit que le meilleur entraîneur - vous jamais eu était Denis Boucher?” (which translates to “did you tell them that the best coach you ever had was Denis Boucher?)
Both Beauregard and Rodriguez laughed.
And on Tuesday as the games began Beauregard started for Quebec and Rodriguez was scheduled to follow him.
They’ll have more to talk about.
* * *
Trivia: Who was the first member of the Canadian Junior National Team to win a world championship?
Impressing: Catching eyes on the work out day from the roughly 25 pro scouts and nine college teams on hand:
SS Kobe Morris (Victoria, BC) BC Orange, showed a great set of hands.
3B Brett Esau (Meadow Lake, Sask.) Prairies Purple, went deep off facing of the second deck in left.
INF Adam Hall (London Ont.) Ontario Green, hit two into the second deck during batting practice.
OF Nick Howie (Oakville, Ont.) Ontraio Green, homered over the Blue Jays bullpen in left.
C Kobe Hyland (Spruce Grove, Alta.) Alberta Red, the Canadian Junior National Team shortstop put the gear on and had a 1.88 pop time throwing to second base.
C Reese O’Farrell (Burlington, Ont.) Ontario Black, showed a strong arm and was under 2.0.
Three-year men: Besides Rodriguez and Beauregard others to bat 1.000 attending all three T12s: SS Kobe Hyland (Spruce Grove, Alta.) Alberta Red, OF Joe Woods (Calgary, Alta.) Alberta Red; RHP R.J. Freure (Burlington, Ont.) Ontario Green; OF Cooper Davis (Mississauga, Ont.) Ontario Green; INF Adam Hall (London, Ont.) Ontario Green; C Andrew Yerzy (Toronto, Ont.) Ontario Black; RHP Josh Burgmann (Nanaimo, BC) BC Orange, OF Nick Howie (Oakville, Ont.) Ontario Green and C Luke Van Rycheghem (Kent Bridge, Ont.) Ontario Green.
Briefly: OF Tyrell Hebert (Hamilton, Ont.) set a record on the grip test which measures bat speed surpassing the 200 mark. Hebert is 6-foot-6 and 215 lbs. Next high was Isaac Deveaux ... Peter Hutzal (Calgary) who attended the T12 last year and was in Japan with the Canadian Junior National Team did not make the trip east, so Alberta is going with a 19-man roster ...
Beep Beep: The top 10 sub 7.00-time run on Monday at the Rogers Centre ...
Cooper Davis Ontario Green 6.35 seconds
Nick Howie Ontario Green 6.54
Adam Hall Ontario Green 6.59
Isaac Deveaux Quebec Blue 6.65
Luke Torino Ontario Black 6.67
Lucas Parente Ontario Black 6.7
Clayton Keyes Alberta Red 6.72
Tyler Duncan BC Orange 6.78
Adam Estey Atlantic Maroon 6.85
Ryan Humeniuk Prairies Purple 6.85
Fastest: The 10 best 60-yard times from last year …
Cooper Davis (Mississauga, Ont.), Futures Navy, Ontario Blue Jays, 6.45
Adam Hall (London, Ont.), Futures Navy, Great Lake Canadians, 6.57
Miles Gordon (Oakville, Ont.), Ontario Green, Great Lake Canadians, 6.60
Luxon Glor (Winnipeg, Man.), Prairies Purple, Vauxhall Academy, 6.61
Austin Oulds (Chatham, Ont.), Ontario Green, Great Lake Canadians, 6.65
Royce Ando (Mississauga, Ont.), Ontario Green, Ontario Blue Jays, 6.7
Tristan Pompey (Milton, Ont.), Ontario Green, Toronto Mets, 6.7
Matthew Chiz Majeur (Pte. Clarie, Que.), Quebec Blue, Lachine A’s, 6.68
Jay Oram (Summerside, PEI), Atlantic Grey, Vauxhall Academy, 6.68
Isaac Deveaux (Montreal, Que.), Futures Navy, Upstate Mavericks, 6.69
Jesse Mycock Faure (Victoria, BC), BC Orange, Victoria Mariners, 6.69
Peyton Hoyt (Fredericton, NB), Atlantic Grey, Fredericton Royals, 6.69
Trivia answer: Luke Wilson (La Salle, Ont.) , who hit clean up at the Worlds in Edmonton in 2008, and won the Super Bowl playing tight end for the Seattle Seahawks.