World Classic: a great first for Abraham Toro
BETTING À DAY
PHOENIX | Never had Abraham Toro had the opportunity to represent Canada on the national team before. The Quebecer has long been one of the outcasts.
“For me, this is an accomplishment, he said, while the Canadian team must begin its tournament at the World Baseball Classic on Sunday in Arizona. This is the first time I can represent Canada, because I have never been chosen before, even at the junior level. ”
On Friday, as the Canadian team took to Chase Field for practice, Toro proudly wore his uniform. The 26-year-old is a model of perseverance. When he was younger, the Quebecer could have given in to discouragement when he couldn't break into the national junior squad. major international tournament, with the Canadian club.
“The times I had represented Quebec were very special,” said the Milwaukee Brewers player. Now to find myself among the best players for Canada is incredible. I like the idea of being on the field and being opposed to players from different countries, seeing the different styles of baseball. I've never had such an experience in an international competition and it's fun.
Canada's first match will be against Great Britain, then quickly comes this expected confrontation against the United States, Monday evening.
“Playing against the Americans is a bit like playing against an all-star team,” Toro said. It's going to be a great challenge, especially since the game is in the evening and many fans will be watching this game. »
Phillippe Aumont, Édouard Julien, Abraham Toro, Otto Lopez, Russell Martin (assistant coach) and Denis Boucher (pitching coach) represent Quebec on the Canadian team.
A pride for the family
Representing Canada for the first time, Toro shares this special moment with his family.
His mother Yamila Hernandez is already present in Arizona, as is his sister Kimberling. His big brother Douglas, a faithful accomplice, is due to land during the weekend.
“My life, my baseball was made in Canada, it is an extraordinary feeling to represent the country. For me, but also for my family,” summarized the man who wore the colors of the Montreal Orioles, in the Quebec Junior Elite Baseball League, before being drafted by the Houston Astros in 2016.
“We are proud that Abraham represents Canada, but also Quebec, comes for his part to comment on his brother Douglas, who regularly coaches his younger brother during the off-season. What I find interesting is that there are not many French speakers in professional baseball. You have to be proud of that!
“Abraham was born here, less than a year after we moved, it's our adopted country, but we're also proud to be French-speaking,” Douglas said. As immigrants, we still have a duty to demonstrate our pride in having succeeded in integrating into this country that welcomed us. We do our best to represent our culture and it includes Quebec. In the end, Abraham is a francophone of Venezuelan origin and he is very proud to have developed as a baseball player in Quebec. »
Canadian team schedule at the Classic Baseball World Cup:
Sunday at 3 p.m.
vs. Great Britain
Monday, March 13 at 10 p.m.
c. United States
Tuesday, March 14 at 3 p.m.
Wednesday, March 15 at 3 p.m.
In the notebook…
Cal Quantrill, of the Cleveland Guardians, will start the match at the mound against Great Britain on Sunday. Manager Ernie Whitt explained the choice logically: “The first game is very important to us, and Cal is our most experienced pitcher among our starters”.
The team canadian should do better than at the previous edition of the World Baseball Classic, in 2017. The representatives of the maple leaf lost their three games, scoring only three points and allowing 21.
Quebec pitcher Phillippe Aumontsurprised many, including himself, by hitting 92 miles per hour with his fastball on Thursday during the preseason game against the Seattle Mariners.
Denis Boucher, pitching coach for Canada: “This tournament is very short, but the chemistry builds quickly. There is a strong sense of belonging among Canadian players. »
Watch Russell Martin start batting practice and catch a few ground balls on the ground of the Chase Field, it still seems in its form of the beautiful days. “The problem is that there are 162 games in a season, commented the one who has just celebrated his 40th birthday. Like there, I've just trained a little and I feel it in my knees.
Across Arizona, pennants bearing the image of the different Major League Baseball teams. At the airport, at the rental car center and in the hotel lobby. Heavenly!