By Bryan Cooney
Expanding the horizons is a staple of Perfect Game, with the introduction of new events and ventures aiming to get exposure for as many players hoping to take their game to the next level year after year.
That outreach is now going to extend to Canada and Europe, as the Perfect Game Baseball Association will provide opportunities for players to either continue to develop their skills or get to experience a taste of what Perfect Game events are all about.
Canada has certainly developed its fair share of successful baseball players in the past two-plus decades. Since becoming a “draft region” in 1991, talent is regularly scouted throughout the country and Canadians are becoming more of a mainstay on college rosters and professional organizations.
Bringing events under the Perfect Game brand to Canada is something John Milton, a man who has devoted years to continuing the growth of the game in the country, is really excited to get started. Heavily invoolved with Baseball Ontario, Milton is a former Toronto Blue Jays scout and now coaches with the Ontario Terriers.
“We want to make sure we can get more Canadian teams to the U.S to be able to allow the players to showcase their skills to colleges and professional teams,” Milton said. Years ago PG held an annual Canadian Showcase which was discontinued a few years ago.
“Perfect Game is the most well-known amateur organization in the world, and when people come to a Perfect Game event, they get treated like a big-leaguer from the exposure to the facilities to the staff that runs it all. I’m excited that we’ll continue to grow baseball in Canada, and introducing the Perfect Game brand to our country.”
Baseball in Europe is continuing to get its foundation in terms of getting kids involved in the game and being able to develop them properly. The last two years, a team from the Czech Republic has brought young ballplayers to experience what Perfect Game is about in the 12U International Championship and the Freshman PG Series.
David Winkler, the founder of the Brno Baseball Academy from the Czech Republic, will take on the responsibility of organizing events under the Perfect Game brand that will reach out to other countries in Europe to introduce kids to what Perfect Game events are like.
“There are a lot of countries that have good baseball, such as the Netherlands, Italy, Germany along with countries like Spain and France starting to pop up,” Winkler said.
“We hope to have the first international Perfect Game tournament next year next summer in the works. We want to work hard to get more kids a look at experiences like my Czech Republic kids have been able to go through as we aim to keep growing the game in Europe.”
Both entities objectives are to try and bring more players from outside the U.S. to showcase events, and for teams to make the trek to the U.S. to compete against some of the top talent in the country in the major events in the summer such as the WWBA National Championships, BCS National Championships, Super25 National Championships, and the PG Series Classic.