COBA Week I: A shut out, Breitner getting loose in pen

THE MOUNT RUSHMORE OF ETOBICOKE BASEBALL: BOBBY SMYTH, MIKE GAUTHIER, THE LATE NICK RICO, GREG O’HALLORAN AND Steve (WHITEY) BREITNER.   

THE MOUNT RUSHMORE OF ETOBICOKE BASEBALL: BOBBY SMYTH, MIKE GAUTHIER, THE LATE NICK RICO, GREG O’HALLORAN AND Steve (WHITEY) BREITNER.   

Week One Washed Out By Mother Nature

By Dan Estey
Canadian Baseball Network

Week one of the COBA Major League season was dominated by the torrential rains and wind that swept through the GTA over the past few days. All of the soggy weather forced many local municipalities to shut down local sports fields due to safety concerns and also to make sure the grass as well as the mound and hitting areas were not destroyed.  There were supposed to be four games during the opening week of the season but all will now be made up at a later date for each team affected.

The league will have a familiar look this season as all eight teams from last season will return for the 2017 campaign. The eight teams will be divided into two divisions of four teams and will play a balanced 28-game schedule for the regular season. The divisions remain the same as the Johnson Division will consist of the Niagara Metros, Milton Red Sox, Burlington Brants, and Oakville A’s while the Andrews Division will feature the Etobicoke Rangers, Mississauga Southwest Twins, Erindale Cardinals, and Brampton Royals. 

Teams will also be taking place in various tournaments around the province including the Vaughan Vikings Invitational Tournament, the London Lakeside Invitational Tournament, the Hap Walters Invitational Tournament hosted by the COBA League, and the annual Provincial Senior Elimination Tournament which will be hosted by the Strathroy Royals this year. 

As far as league news, it can be found on the league website at www.cobamajor.ca or you can follow us on twitter as well @COBABaseball. Here you will find scores, standings, and other league news like statistical leaders and Player and Pitcher of the Week winners. This year I will be writing weekly recap pieces for the Canadian Baseball Network as well as covering the major tournaments from around the province both on the site and on twitter as well.

A big day for the league takes place May 29th. Steve (Whitey) Breitner had an excellent career on the mound whether it was at Talbot Park or Connorvale Park.

Now, he will get the chance to throw out the first pitch on the big stage at the Rogers Center for the Blue Jays game. The Etobicoke Rangers coach is heading into his 27h year at the helm of the senior team and will be honored by the Jays for his years of service to baseball both in Etobicoke and around Ontario. The opposition for the Jays that night will be the Cincinnati Reds and former Etobicoke Ranger standout Joey Votto who took some swings in senior ball under the watchful eye of Breitner, when Bobby Smyth’s junior team was not playing. 

While first  pitch is slated for 7:05pm Breitner will be on the Rogers Centre mound around 6. A number of former current Rangers present as well as other players from around the COBA Major League.

As New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter told President George Bush before he headed to the mound in 2001: “You better not bounce it or they’ll boo you.”
 

Dan Estey

Dan Estey was born in Fredericton, N.B., began playing in the Fredericton Minor Baseball Association and has played for the past 26 years. He’s appeared on the national stage: as a member of Team New Brunswick at the Baseball Canada Cup in 2000 in Stonewall, Man., was with the Fredericton Royals at the 2001 nationals midgets in Stonewall, and was with Fredericton at the 2003 Junior Nationals in Windsor, Ont. Estey played five years at the University of New Brunswick (2001-2005) winning four Atlantic Conference championships and three medals at the Canadian Intercollegiate Association championships (silver in 2001 in Ottawa, bronze in 2002 in Fredericton and gold in 2003 in Montreal. Moving to Ontario in 2006 he now resides in Mississauga. After playing three years for the Niagara Metros (2008-2010) of the Central Ontario Major League, he is currently learning under skipper Greg Cranker with the Erindale Cardinals (2011-present) of the same loop. He enjoys golfing and reading in my down time and run the website for the Central Ontario Major League, follows senior ball around the province of Ontario. This year he wrote about senior related topics and plan on doing more of the same next year in a larger capacity.