Jump to content

Edmonton Sun: The Clapper-Cats?


Recommended Posts

The Clapper-Cats?

Canadian content in Northern League makes it interesting


Call them the Edmonton Clappers.

Today, the new Northern League baseball team which features Stubby Clapp, will announce the signing of their 12th Canadian player, pitcher Scott Richmond.

Despite gassing a game in the ninth inning to the Winnipeg Goldeyes yesterday at Telus Field, the Clappers are out of the gate with the best record of the three Canadian franchises and are establishing an identity for themselves on the field.

Thanks mostly to goofball American owner Dan Orlich and his significant other Cruella De Ville, a.k.a. vice-president Ericka Cruise, as well as Mel Kowalchuk's gawd-awful choice of a team name, Cracker-Cats, this team is a miserable mess off the field.

But between the foul lines, they're proving you can play a dozen Canadians and be competitive in a professional baseball league. And that, it says here, is something.


The 'Made In Canada' label sells here.

This is a team which should be called the Edmonton Mounties. Or Beavers. Or Canadians. Or Canucks. Or Nats.

Edmonton fans would be happy with just about any name other than the Cracker-Cats, but maybe it's not too late. Maybe we could have a 'Rename The Team' contest. For the purposes of this column, let's call them the Clappers.

The Clappers didn't have Stubby in the lineup yesterday. He was serving a one-game suspension for pulling the jacket over the head of Carlos Torres, hockey-style, in Friday's brawl.

So Stubby was pictured sitting in the dugout, wearing a Team Canada sweater and reading Bob Elliott's new book The Northern Game: Baseball The Canadian Way.

It's interesting. The arrival of a team which dared sign 12 Canadians to come out of the gate to begin play in the Northern League, coincides with the arrival of the book which should be given to every fan in the stands.

It's what this team is all about.

Elliott covers major-league baseball and a significant population of Barry Bonds jerks for the Toronto Sun. But his real love affair is with Canadian baseball and Canadian baseball players. It's almost a romantic novel.

The theme of Elliott's book is that Canadian baseball players are different than baseball players from anywhere else in the world because of their hockey mentality.

Hockey is also the reason so many Canadians are left-handed hitters. It's the side from which they shoot the puck and, obviously considering the bandages on Clapp's left hand, throw their punches.

"Canadian baseball is different,'' writes Elliott. "Canadian baseball players are different.

"They have brought a nation's rich hockey culture into ball parks, and they play baseball as if they're going into the corners elbows up. Above all else, they compete. Canadians might not generally be the fastest running to the wall, but they generally run through it.''

Don Cherry wrote the foreword.

Clapp, the player Canada fell in love with at the 1999 Winnipeg Pan Am Games and again at the 2004 Athens Olympics (He's on pages 3, 17, 18, 24, 100, 104-110 and 154 of the book) agrees.


"It's true. To me, knowing this many Canadians would be playing for this team in independent league baseball this year was a big reason I came. It meant I'd be playing with a lot of guys and not have to worry about egos and attitude. Guys who come to play every day, play to win and have fun.

"I remember in 1999 in Winnipeg at the Pan Am Games sitting around with that Team Canada, talking about what fun it would be to play with that team for 140 games to see what kind of damage we could do together.''

Clapp says the Canadians on this team have a point to prove.

"Thanks to Mel Kowalchuk pushing the Canadian content in a year when there is a real problem with work visas in the U.S., Edmonton has made sure guys with visa troubles had a place to play the game and keep their careers alive.

"This team is going to get better. We have a few kinks and quirks to work out. But before this is done, we're going to turn some heads.''

If this franchise could ditch the goofball and his battery-mate Cruella on the off-the-field side and bring on some hands-off Canadian ownership, maybe something good could happen here.


Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...