The Toronto Blue Jays may be in a bit of a slump on the field, but off the diamond the Major League Baseball club is shining bright in the Heritage City.
The Blue Jays are combining with Nelson Baseball Association to recognize former coach and highly decorated athlete and member of Canada's National Women's team Amanda Asay by hosting a clinic Sunday at Queen Elizabeth Park.
Asay, a former youth coach in the NBA, died in a skiing accident earlier this year.
“When we learned of Amanda's passing, the NBA was approached by the Toronto Blues Jays, looking for a way to bring us all together to grieve, celebrate Amanda's life, and try and build something lasting as a legacy to Amanda for all she gave to us,” Jay Stewart, president of the Nelson Baseball Association explained.
“We all knew baseball would be at the heart of whatever we did.”
Sunday, May 15, at Queen Elizabeth Park, Nelson Baseball, with help from the Toronto Blue Jays, will host a player’s clinic in the name of Amanda Assay from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Steward said once word got out that the clinic was happening, the event quickly filled.
Stewart said, unfortunately, there will be no walk-ons accepted.
“Baseball and Amanda are the threads that unite us all, and it was determined we'd lean in together to host a free players clinic in Amanda's name,” Steward said.
Stewart said Blue Jays Academy instructors and WNT members will lead approximately 90 players from across the West Kootenays through drills that cover the basics — hitting, throwing, catching and fielding.
The clinic was designed with girls in mind and to encourage curious players to potentially give the sport a try.
Stewart said females were given priority registration, as were players previously coached by Amanda, before registration was opened to regional players between 7-16 years of age.
“We will be joined by members of the Asay family and Baseball Canada,” Stewart said.
“Players will receive a commemorative baseball cap and a Blue Jays Clinic shirt adorned with Amanda's WNT jersey # (19).”
The clinic is being held at the recently refurbished Queen Elizabeth Park, which has undergone major upgrades including newer field, fenced park as well as batting an pitching cages in the center field.
Amanda Asay, a member of the Canada's National Women's team, was a popular coach with Nelson Baseball Association.