By Bob Elliott
Baseball is a game all about numbers.
And some Pan American Games numbers to consider before Saturday’s opening schedule of games:
3,103 _ Combined career hits in 3,359 major-league games by Team Canada manager Ernie Whitt along with coaches Larry Walker and Stubby Clapp.
2,784 _ Miles second baseman Skyler Stromsmoe travelled from Sacramento to Raleigh Durham, the farthest distance of any Team Canada player who were in Cary, N.C. for five days. Stromsmoe was born on a farm in Etzikom, Alta., which is near Bow Island (pop: 1,790). He’s in his ninth season in the San Francisco Giants system.
1,688 _ Games of big league experience for members of Team USA. Casey Kotchman (more later) leads the way followed by Brian Bogusevic (299 games), Andy Parrino (131), Tyler Pastornicky (124), David Huff (118), Tommy Murphy (66 games), Casey Coleman (10) and RHP Ryan Kelly (one).
1,302 _ Games played by Pedro Feliz of the Dominican Republic, who leads a mishmash of the old and young on his team. He’s 40 and has not played in the majors since 2010 or winter ball for two years. Feliz played 11 seasons with the San Francisco Giants, Phillies, St. Louis Cardinals and Houston Astros.
962 _ Games of major league experience on the Canadian roster. Newmarket’s Pete Orr had played in 443 games with the Atlanta Braves, Washington Nationals and the Philadelphia Phillies. The rest of the total is made up of: London resident and Delta, B.C. born Jeff Francis (248 games), Mississauga’s Chris Leroux (65), Port Coquitlam, B.C. outfielder Rene Tosoni (60), Gatineau’s Phillippe Aumont (46), Georgetown’s Shawn Hill (45), North Vancouver’s Scott Richmond (36), Andrew Albers, North Battleford, Sask. (11) and Dorchester, Ont.’s Chris Robinson (eight).
939 _ Games in the majors for Team USA’s Kotchman and he needed a lot of big-league poise when asked in Cary by a radio interviewer: “tell us about losing your mother in 2008 to a brain hemorrhage.” Kotchman answered “she recovered.”
876 _ Appearances by Canada pitching coaches Paul Quantrill and Denis Boucher who earned 74 wins pitching in 1,401 2/3 innings while picking up 21 saves.
52 _ Games played in the majors by infielder Javier Baez of Puerto Rico.
18 _ Different countries have qualified to compete in the Pan Am baseball competition since 1955: Argentina, Aruba, Bahamas, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Netherlands Antilles, Nicaragua, Panama, Puerto Rico, USA and Venezuela.
16 _ Years between Orr, the eldest Canadian, who turned 36 on June 8, and left fielder Tyler O’Neill, the youngest, who turned 20 on June 22.
14 _ Medals won by Team USA and Cuba in the 16 previous Pan Am Games.
12 _ Gold medals won by Cuba in the 16 previous Games. The other golds went to the Dominican Republic in Mexico City in 1955, Venezuela in Chicago in 1959, the USA in Winnipeg in 1967 and Canada in Mexico four years ago. Canada’s only other medal was a bronze in 1999 at Winnipeg.
10 _ British Columbia born players with Canada: catcher Kellin Deglan of Langley, Vancouver outfielder Tyson Gillies, Victoria infielder Jesse Hodges, Langley first baseman Jordan Lennerton, Delta reliever Kyle Lotzkar, Jared Mortensen of Abbottsford, Francis, O’Neill and Richmond.
Nine _ Ontario players with Canada: Simcoe shortstop Sean Jamieson, London outfielder Brock Kjeldgaard, Brampton reliever Jasvir Rakkar, Windsor lefty Evan Rutckyj, Toronto outfielder Tim Smith, Hill, Leroux, Orr and Robinson. The other four players are from Alberta (Shane Dawson and Stromsmoe), Quebec (Aumont) and Saskatchewan (Albers).
4 _ Prospects who went high in the draft are with Team USA: outfielder Albert Almora (drafted sixth over-all by the Chicago Cubs in 2012), who is in his seventh international event, a USA record; RHP Zach Eflin (33rd, San Diego Padres, 2012) of the Phillies, RHP Aaron Blair (36th, Arizona Diamondbacks, 2013) and OF Travis Jankowski (44th, 2012) of San Diego Padres. Almora is ranked No. 49 on MLB.com’s Top 100 prospects list, while Blair, who was recently promoted to Triple-A. Jankowski and Canada’s Rakkar were teammates with the Stoney Brook Seawolves.
3 _ Cuban players to defect after the national arrived in North Carolina: outfielder Jorge Ona, infielder Luis Yander La O and outfielder Yadiel Hernandez.
2 _ Former Blue Jays coach Roly de Armas and Jim Lett are on Team USA manager Jim Tracy’s staff.
1 _ Country has the live baseball feed from Ajax. Ah, not us ... there might be soccer somewhere. Cuba has the rights so it you can get Cuban TV on your Rogers box you should be OK.