Toronto 2015 Pan Am / Parapan Am Games Organizing Committee released its full schedule for men’s and women’s baseball, meaning ball fans can snap up tickets to watch Team Canada take on some of the strongest teams in the Americas.
The recently upgraded President’s Choice Ajax Pan Am Ballpark will be an exciting place to be throughout the tournament. On the men’s side, a total of seven teams will compete, including powerhouse nations Cuba, the U.S. and Dominican Republic, along with Team Canada – gold-medal winner from the 2011 Pan Am Games in Guadalajara, Mexico.
The Canadian men begin defending their title on Saturday, July 11, at 7 p.m., against Dominican Republic, a nation that produces more Major League Baseball players than any other country besides the States.
Another marquee match-up will take place on July 12, at 7 p.m., when the U.S. faces Cuba. Each team will play every other team in the preliminary round.
Canada’s jam-packed schedule includes a game against Cuba on July 14, a country that won 10 straight Pan Am gold medals before the Guadalajara 2011 Pan Am Games. Canada then faces Puerto Rico on July 16, before closing out the preliminary round on July 17 against arch rivals the United States – the team that Canada beat 2–1 four years ago in Guadalajara to capture gold.
Toronto Blue Jays great Ernie Whitt is back as Team Canada manager. Whitt still remembers the historic moment from 2011.
“I get chills thinking about it. I remember the players running onto the field celebrating. For a lot of them, it was their World Series. It was an honour to be a part of it. I’ll never forget it.”
MLB is allowing minor league players to participate in Ajax, meaning fans can see some of the best prospects on their way to the major leagues. All MLB-affiliated players who aren’t protected on 40-man rosters will be eligible to take part in the Games.
The Games offer an additional pull for ticket buyers, with it being the first time that women’s baseball will be played at a Pan Am Games.
Team Canada’s women’s team will mark its debut following a fourth-place finish at the World Cup last September in Miyazaki, Japan. Five teams will take part in the inaugural women’s baseball tournament – Canada, the U.S.s, Venezuela, Cuba and Puerto Rico – and all are ranked among the top 10 in the world.
With long-time veteran Ashley Stephenson and two-time all-world catcher Stephanie Savoie leading the way, Canada’s women’s team is expected to be a gold-medal contender.
“I’m looking forward to leading Team Canada into this historic women’s baseball tournament and it’s even more special because it’s here on home soil,” said André Lachance, Team Canada manager. “Every game will be tough but we’re hoping to come out on top.”
Team Canada women’s opening game is against Cuba on July 20. The Canadians will then take on Venezuela the following night, before an afternoon game on July 22 against Puerto Rico. The final game of the preliminary round on July 24 has Canada taking on the States’ top-ranked team. The roster for Canada’s women’s team will be unveiled in May.
To view the full baseball schedules or to purchase tickets, visit TORONTO2015.org/tickets.