Father’s day weekend saw a heavy slate of games with many IBL fans choosing to spend their holiday Sunday at the ballpark as the London Majors packed the park and the Welland Jackfish set a new attendance record of over 2600 people. With Major League Baseball also celebrating dad’s everywhere, I’ll be giving each IBL team an MLB comparable. Let’s get into it!
#8. Brantford Red Sox (2-13, Previous Week: 8)
Oakland Athletics. Brantford has earned this comparison both on and off the field. Not only have they struggled between the white lines, but the organization isn’t doing itself any favors. It’s unfortunate because like the A’s, they have a strong and loyal fanbase, but the product they are being given by ownership just isn’t up to the standard the rest of the league has set. Hopefully they turn things around and their story doesn’t come to the same end as Oakland’s.
#7. London Majors (4-8, Previous Week: 7)
St. Louis Cardinals. The Cardinals and Majors both had high expectations entering the 2023 season and have both fallen flat on their faces. Each team has had major issues on the mound, with London’s imports just not being good enough and issuing way too many walks. They have already made some changes adding Anfernee Benitez who made his debut Friday, but that outing didn’t offer much optimism either as he walked 11 over 2.2 innings. Both teams have more talent than they’ve shown, but it’s starting to look like maybe we just overrated them.
#6. Guelph Royals (4-10, Previous Week: 6)
Cleveland Guardians. After losing in the first round in five games, Cleveland’s young roster has taken a step back. The Guelph Royals have followed a similar path. The Royals now have a fairly young core with the Morro brothers and Brando Leroux leading the charge, but their issue is similar to the Guardians – they lack power. With only four home runs on the season, they sit last in the IBL in that category. They still have time add some heavy hitters, but if they don’t it’s going to be hard for them to keep up with the big boys.
#5. Kitchener Panthers (8-7, Previous Week: 4)
Boston Red Sox. Hot start followed by a regression to the middle of the pack. That’s been the script both organizations have followed in 2023. It’s interesting to look at how similar these teams look – the offenses are excellent, but they were hitting at an unsustainable rate early in the year, and when they came back down to Earth the pitching hasn’t been good enough to keep up a winning pace. The Panthers offense did the heavy lifting early on, it’s time for the pitchers to carry their weight.
#4. Barrie Baycats (8-5, Previous Week: 5)
San Francisco Giants. Riding winning streaks, these two clubs find themselves in the top half of the standings and have done so in unspectacular fashion. Saturday and Sunday saw the Baycats win one-run games against the bottom two teams in the rankings, however they also beat the Hamilton Cardinals convincingly. Either way, they haven’t lost in the past week and neither have the Giants. Nothing jumps off the page when you look at either roster, but it seems that the product they are putting out on the field is greater than the sum of their parts, a characteristic of every good team.
#3. Hamilton Cardinals (9-6, Previous Week: 2)
Arizona Diamondbacks. The Cards have a young exciting team that’s exceeding expectations with a potential MVP candidate who’s also in his first year in the league in Clayton Keyes, similar to what the D-Backs are experiencing to this point. A scrappy team that can be frustrating in their youth, but yet are very fun to watch as they play the game hard and with high energy, and the people of Hamilton have noticed – they are drawing crowds that haven’t been seen at Bernie Arbour in a very long time.
#2. Toronto Maple Leafs (10-5, Previous Week: 3)
Los Angeles Angels. Like the Angels, Toronto’s offense has carried them this season, while their pitching has let them down at times. They pace the league in runs per game, but are also seventh in ERA (7.20). This is like what the team in Anaheim is experiencing, who have a top 10 offense with a starting rotation that ranks in the bottom 10. The Leafs version of Mike Trout plays third base, as MVP candidate Johnathan Solazzo is tied for the league lead in home runs and RBI. The Angels are trying to get over the playoff hump, while the team out of Christie Pits looks to get over the championship hurdle. Is 2023 the year for these franchises? Time will tell.
#1. Welland Jackfish (11-2, Previous Week: 1)
Tampa Bay Rays. The top team in the IBL has a ton of similarities to the top team in the big leagues. A red hot offense that seems to put up runs at will, supplemented by a relentless pitching staff of dudes that just get it done, with each arm seemingly better than the last. Tampa Bay started the season on a 13 game win streak, and the Fish are just two games away from matching that mark. The Rays have slowed down slightly, and it’s unreasonable to expect Welland to keep up this pace all year, but both teams have shown that they are top dog in their respective leagues, and anybody looking to win the championship will have to go through either the Trop or the Pond.
News: IBL Veteran Brett Lawson Re-Signs with Hamilton
The Hamilton Cardinals have re-signed veteran right-handed starting pitcher Brett Lawson.Standing tall at 6-foot-8 and hailing from Burlington, Lawson made a mid-season move to the Cardinals from the Welland Jackfish during the 2023 campaign. Despite a limited regular-season engagement, where he pitched 7 innings for the Cardinals, Lawson stepped up remarkably in the playoff series…
The Hamilton Cardinals have re-signed veteran right-handed starting pitcher Brett Lawson.
Standing tall at 6-foot-8 and hailing from Burlington, Lawson made a mid-season move to the Cardinals from the Welland Jackfish during the 2023 campaign. Despite a limited regular-season engagement, where he pitched 7 innings for the Cardinals, Lawson stepped up remarkably in the playoff series against Barrie, delivering a standout performance by striking out 10 batters across 8 innings and achieving a commendable ERA of 3.37.
With a rich career spanning over 500 innings in the IBL and accumulating more than 400 strikeouts, Lawson’s experience is unparalleled in the league. His illustrious career includes clinching the IBL’s prestigious Dominico Cup with the Barrie Baycats from 2014 to 2018. Lawson’s professional journey was kickstarted when he was drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the 15th round of the 2001 MLB June Amateur Draft, following his tenure at Northwestern Oklahoma State University, marking the beginning of a six-season journey in professional baseball. The Cardinals will continue to lean on Lawson’s proven leadership and track record of success throughout the 2024 season.
“Lawson is one of the model IBL veterans, and with a young roster, we’re fortunate to have him back with us,” said George Halim, Hamilton Cardinals General Manager. “He’s a lifetime pro who knows how to get outs, and knows how to compete while giving us a chance to win when he’s out there.”
About the Hamilton Cardinals
The Hamilton Cardinals Baseball Club are a member of Canada’s best league, the Intercounty Baseball League. The over 100-year old summer league is one of the oldest baseball leagues in the world, established in 1919. For more information visit: https://www.theibl.ca & https://www.iblcardinals.ca
News: JACKFISH ANNOUNCE CHAMPION VS. CHAMPION GAME AGAINST QUEBEC CAPITALES
WELLAND – The Welland Jackfish, Niagara’s sports entertainment destination, is excited to announce they will host the 2023 Frontier League Champions Quebec Capitales for a preseason game at Welland Stadium on Monday, May 6.Gates are scheduled to open at 6:00 p.m. and first pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. Concessions will be available and tickets…
WELLAND – The Welland Jackfish, Niagara’s sports entertainment destination, is excited to announce they will host the 2023 Frontier League Champions Quebec Capitales for a preseason game at Welland Stadium on Monday, May 6.
Gates are scheduled to open at 6:00 p.m. and first pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. Concessions will be available and tickets can be purchased over the phone by calling 905-735-9834 or by clicking here.
“It will be great to open the doors on May 6 for the exhibition against Quebec,” team President and Director of Fun, Ryan Harrison said. “I appreciate Pat Scalabrini and the entire Quebec Capitales for making this happen for us and all of our fans. It will be tremendous for our players – and our gameday staff – to get in a preseason game under the lights as we continue to prepare for Opening Day. It’s incredible to be home at the Pond.”
The Québec Capitales (French: Les Capitales de Québec) are a professional baseball team based in Quebec City, Quebec. The Capitales have been members of the Frontier League since the 2020 season after a merger between the Can-Am League and the Frontier League in October 2019. Since the 1999 season, the Capitales have played their home games at Stade Canac.
The Jackfish return to The Pond on Saturday, May 18th at 6:05 pm for their 2024 Home Opener. Season membership and flex plans are on sale now at wellandjackfish.com/2024 or by calling 905-735-9834.
The Welland Jackfish are a member of Canada’s best league, the Intercounty Baseball League. The over 100-year old summer league is one of the oldest baseball leagues in the world, with the league established in 1919, drawing significantly more fans, in a friendly ballpark experience, than any league of its kind. For more information, visit www.wellandjackfish.com or follow the Jackfish on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter at @wellandjackfish.
News: Leafs Re-Sign Pitcher Chris Nagorski
TORONTO, Ontario – The Toronto Maple Leafs Baseball Club (@MapleLeafsBaseball) announced today the re-signing of 5 time IBL Champion Right-Handed Pitcher Chris NagorskiNagorski returns for his 3rd season with the Leafs after spending 8 seasons in the IBL with Guelph and Barrie. Nagorski is 2nd all time in IBL career saves (25) and 12th all-time…
TORONTO, Ontario – The Toronto Maple Leafs Baseball Club (@MapleLeafsBaseball) announced today the re-signing of 5 time IBL Champion Right-Handed Pitcher Chris Nagorski
Nagorski returns for his 3rd season with the Leafs after spending 8 seasons in the IBL with Guelph and Barrie. Nagorski is 2nd all time in IBL career saves (25) and 12th all-time in appearances (136 games) . Last season in 12 games, Chris stuck out 8 and had an ERA of 5.26 in 13.2 Innings pitched.
“Chris is a tremendous team player and understands his role as a leader and late inning relief pitcher. He knows how to be ready to pitch and helps the younger players adjust to the IBL. We are excited to have him back this year.” GM Jeff Lounsbury
“I am thrilled to run it back with the boys and contribute to a new era of Toronto Maple Leaf Baseball” said Nagorkski
The Toronto Maple Leafs are a member of Canada’s best league, the Intercounty Baseball League. The over 100-year-old summer league is one of the oldest baseball leagues in the world, with the league established in 1919, drawing significantly more fans, in a friendly ballpark experience, than any league of its kind. For more information, visit www.mapleleafsbaseball.com or follow the Maple Leafs on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
This announcement is brought to you by NEW ERA CAP COMPANY official hat supplier of the Toronto Maple Leaf Baseball Team. New Era | New Era Hats & Apparel – New Era Cap
Photo: Craig Aikin