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The next time Fox broadcaster Harold Reynolds visits Canada he probably shouldn't expect a warm welcome.
In the fourth inning of the Toronto Blue Jays' 5-1 Game 3 win in the ALDS over the Texas Rangers on Sunday, Jose Bautista drilled a ball into the stands just above the Rangers' dugout.
Fortunately no fans were injured. But for whatever reason, that got Reynolds thinking what might have happened had the same scenario played out in Toronto, and in the process side-swipped the baseball pedigree of an entire country.
"We we're talking about foul balls in the stands up in Toronto and because there's not a lot of people who grew up playing baseball in Canada, they're not used to catching a lot of balls hit into the stands."
Russell Martin – he's from Quebec – is starring for the Blue Jays. Joey Votto – he's from Ontario – just had an MVP-caliber season with the Cincinnati Reds. Ferguson Jenkins – he's also from Ontario – is enshrined in Cooperstown. But right, not a lot of people in Canada grew up playing baseball. Oh, Canada also beat the U.S. in baseball to win the gold medal at this past summer's Pan Am Games.
Sure, it's not as popular as hockey, but to claim the fans in Toronto are less capable of catching a foul ball in the stands than the fans from any other team is absurd.
Need some more proof that baseball's doing all right in Canada? Wayne Gretzky had said that he "used to love and admire the game as much or more than even hockey when I was a kid." That must have rubbed off on his son Trevor, who was drafted in the seventh round of the MLB draft in 2011 and is part of the Los Angeles Angels' minor-league system.
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Reynolds' ignorant comment caused quite the stir on social media, too.
The best response of the night came from five-time All-Star, 1997 NL MVP and proud Canadian Larry Walker:
Well played, Mr, Walker. Well played.
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