Happy Canada Day – From the Bird’s Nest
Today is Canada Day.
And that made me think. (Yeah, I know...it's dangerous.)
The country to our north has made a lot of contributions to sports...and to me.
As a baseball fan, Canada is well represented. Ferguson Jenkins is in the Hall of Fame. Justin Morneau, Joey Votto and Larry Walker have won MVP Awards. Jenkins and Eric Gagne won Cy Young Awards. And, Astros fans will remember Terry Puhl from some of Houston's first really good teams.
Some Canadians have migrated all the way down South. Since Tony Robichaux arrived in 1995, four Canadians have worn the Vermilion and White. Phil Devey, the Cajuns' all-time leader in strikeouts, played in three NCAA Regionals and a Super Regional before leaving in 1999 after his junior season to play professionally. (Phil once requested the Canadian anthem be played at home when he pitched....um...no.)
Gordon O'Brien and his wicked curve ball will always be remembered by Cajun fans. It was O'Brien who worked around a leadoff double in the bottom of the ninth inning in Columbia, South Carolina in 2000 to earn the save that propelled the Cajuns to Omaha. He would up at the bottom of the dog pile.
Devery Van de Keere led the Cajuns in hitting in 2006 and played on the 2007 NCAA regional team in College Station that came within one win of advancing to the Supers. And, this past season, Brad Antchak shared shortstop duties with Hunter Kasuls as the Cajuns hosted an NCAA Regional.
Jesse Newman was the most recent Canadian to play football for the Cajuns. He toiled under Rickey Bustle's tenure and received All-Sun Belt honors. And, there was a Canadian who play for Bobby Paschal--Bruce Pringle, the Vanilla Gorilla.
Carleigh Martin played soccer at UL and then worked in the compliance office before becoming Director of Compliance at Southeastern last year. Carleigh is getting married next week.
And, then, there are those without a direct tie to UL who have become my friends.
You've heard me talk about Kevin Sytko, who played third base for South Alabama in the early 2000's and then became their Sports Info Director for baseball. In fact, I mentioned him recently during the baseball series with the Jaguars. Ok, maybe the ball WAS foul. One of Kevin's best friends is, ironically, Justin Morneau. Sytko sent me pics from various ball parks where he had great seats. I stayed jealous.
Adam Prendergast is the Sports Info Director at Troy. His disposition has gotten much better since he left ULM. He's a huge Toronto Blue Jays fan and had no problem with Jose Bautista's bat flip in the ALDS last October. Ask him about the night he couldn't find a computer after we left ULM following a football game. No, Adam, we didn't steal it on purpose.
Rob Broussard is a former assistant SID at UL. He also worked in the Sun Belt Conference office as a media contact. His wife, the former Susan Seabrook, worked in sports information at another school when they met. When Rob was at UL, he decided to marry that girl. But he wanted to get her Dad's permission back in Canada. Obviously, he needed to do that by phone. Only problem was, Susie was visiting back home at the time and he was afraid she might answer the phone. So, I was commissioned to get Dad on the phone. Poor Rob was sweating in a 65 degree room. But he asked and Dad said yes.
I'm taking credit for their happiness.
So, whether you're mentioned in this story or not, Happy Canada Day to all.
So....who from Canada is part of YOUR life? Give them a loonie or a toonie today!