By Bob Elliott
Canadian Baseball Network
We can hear the voices now.
Maybe it will be an assistant coach.
Or it could be the parent of a tadpole or mosquito player, but we know it is coming:
“Where do we play (practice) next week?” will be the question.
And the answer will be “At The Nort.”
Port Moody, B.C. town council has decided to re-name the town’s Westhill Park the Wayne Norton Baseball Diamond.
Wayne Norton, or Nort, as he was called by his dear friend, Hall of Famer Pat Gillick helped found the National Baseball Institute with John Haar, wrote manuals for Baseball Canada and came up with the idea of the Canadian Junior National Team.
Norton scouted for the Baltimore Orioles and the Seattle Mariners before passing Jan. 7 at the age of 75.
This game does not easily let go of people it loves: like Nort throwing out the ceremonial first pitch last season at Safeco, like Doug Mathieson and Jamie Bodaly’s DBacks Langley Blaze playing the first annual Wayne Norton Memorial game against the Seattle Mariners extended spring team and now the naming of this diamond.
The City of Port Moody will officially re-name the diamond in Nort’s honour on May 12 at noon. All of Nort’s friends are invited.
Port Moody Mayor Mike Clay will throw out the ceremonial first pitch, although we think Wayne’s wife Trudith could also make the perfect pitch.
When I was young I'd watch Dizzy Dean and Pee Wee Reese on the Game of the Week with my dad and pepper him with questions? Which is the most important stat? Is Sherm Lollar a Hall of Famer? Why are the Yankees so good and so lucky? Why is Ted Williams your favourite player?
I don't recall all the answers, but I do remember one. "What's the greatest compliment you can receive in baseball?"
My father said "To have a ball field named after you. That means your did something special."