Prince Albert Minor Baseball Association receives $30,000 donation from Jays Care Foundation

Prince Albert minor baseball players react to the city being named as a winner of a $30,000 donation from the Jays Care Foundation. --Kyle Kosowan/Daily Herald

In an effort to rejuvenate local baseball diamonds around the city, the Prince Albert Minor Baseball Association received a massive donation from a Major League Baseball team.

The Toronto Blue Jays and Jays Care stepped up and donated $30,000 to the organization this week. The funds will be used to renovate baseball diamonds in the city. That means each age group will have their own diamond to play on.

“It was a simple process to put Prince Albert in the conversation for this donation,” PA Minor Baseball president Duane Krip said. “It was just a matter of filling out an application and submitting it.

“One of the things that was pretty special was that they gave us the option to submit a video presentation. I went out there and filmed a video talking about the history and explained why we need this new diamond. That history is that our 15U kids don’t have a diamond.”

There were 16 towns across Canada named as winners of a $30,000 donation. The winners were announced on live television during a Blue Jays Central broadcast before the Toronto Blue Jays game against the Houston Astros on Friday night.

“For scheduling purposes, every team needs their own dedicated field,” Krip explained. “Right now, our 13U and 15U kids are making do with what they have. Our 13U’s have been playing at Crescent Acres, but on portable mounds. That means that every game, coaches have to be there extra early. The mounds are stored in a shed and they have to drag it out and measure out where they go. After that, they take it all back. Now we’ll have permanent mounds and it will be a permanent field for our 13U’s.”

The diamond at Crescent Acres will be renovated this year, which means this season will mark the first time that every age group in the city will have their own diamond to play on. The Andy Zwack field will also be used regularly once again this summer.

Krip says the donation that came in from Jays Care will not only help the organization this year, but it will have a long term impact on the economic success of baseball in Prince Albert.

“Now with the new diamond, we can use that one as well as the Andy Zwack. We can start hosting provincials and start hosting regional tournaments. When you think about the thousands of people that come in to these tournament, it will have a huge economic impact on the city of Prince Albert.”

On top of the donation and upcoming renovations, Prince Albert Minor Baseball has found their own success in the form of registration. This year has already become their largest registration year in the organization’s history. Krip thinks the recent hype around the Blue Jays, as well as the lifted COVID-19 restrictions have had an impact on the number of kids that want to play baseball this year.

“Kids want to play the game, and we’re seeing a lot of kids joining into the sport to follow along with the Blue Jays’ success,” he explained. “There are some kids that haven’t done anything for two years, and they are now coming back into the sport. For a lot of them, it’s a great relief to be able to go out and play sports again.”