To the surprise of absolutely no one, the Blue Jays and Vancouver have extended their Player Development Contract, which was set to expire at the end of this year, to 2022.
The C’s earned their fourth Northwest League title since becoming a Blue Jays affiliate in 2011 last year. The Canadians have consistently set league attendance records along the way, averaging just over 6300 fans a game at venerable old Nat Bailey Stadium.
The Blue Jays have been able to grow their brand considerably with their partnership with the C’s. Fans come home from work to watch the Jays game on tv, then head out to the Nat to see the Jays of the future that evening in June, July, and August.
A conversation with Blue Jays CEO Mark Shapiro last fall revealed that the Blue Jays are very pleased with all of their PDCs, especially Vancouver’s. Blue Jays prospects get a taste of life in Canada by playing with the C’s, dealing with the currency and customs issues. For both sides, there are musts: from the MLB team’s point of view, they want a first-class development for their players and instructors. The affiliate wants either a competitive team, or the promise of multiple one-day MLBers passing through their city.
If you are a Blue Jays fan, you owe it to yourself to catch a game in Vancouver. The Nat is a quaint old neighbourhood ballpark, and is a short walk from the city’s elevated train service.