Humphrey Bogart once said: “A hot dog at the ballpark is better than steak at the Ritz.”
The legendary Hollywood tough guy wouldn’t have gotten any argument from the 600 guests of the Vancouver Canadians over a two-night World Series Party on the main concourse at Nat Bailey Stadium this week.
It’s become a tradition at The Nat. The first night is reserved for sponsors, advertisers and corporate clients to watch the opening game of the World Series on a jumbo screen. The second night is for season ticket holders, loyal customers and neighbourhood supporters.
C’s co-owner and president Andy Dunn had been tipped off by general manager Jason Takefman that a very special fan would be on hand Thursday. Aaron Guralnick had recently turned seven and in lieu of birthday gifts he had asked his chums to each bring a $5 bill for a project he would explain later.
Young Aaron came to the World Series Party with his dad and older brother and $65 in his pocket that he wanted to donate to the Vancouver Canadians Baseball Foundation that gives underprivileged kids a chance to play organized baseball for the first time in their lives.
Dunn was so taken by the youngster’s gesture that he presented Aaron with an original Canada Day game-worn C’s jersey with No. 1 on the back. Emotions were running rather high as Dunn led the 300 guests in singing Happy Birthday.
“I hardly got through it,” Dunn admits. “It was amazing how $65 from a little boy could affect a concourse full of adults from the baseball community.”
HERE ‘N’ THERE: A gritty pitcher in his day and tremendous friend of baseball, the late Senator Ray Perrault has had the landmark Boulevard Park in North Vancouver renamed in his memory. Senator Perrault, who died in 2008 at age 82, had a spirited hand in Vancouver’s attempt at trying to land a Major League Baseball franchise. He was also a staunch supporter of the B.C. Lions and Vancouver Canucks during his tenure as leader of the B.C. Liberal Party.
Arnie Hallgren, the first B.C.-born baseball player to make the 40-man roster of a major league club (Boston Braves, 1953), is now a die-hard Detroit Tigers fan. His son Tim, a former ninth-round draft pick of the Seattle Mariners, is in his third year as the Tigers’ supervisor of scouting. He previously worked as a scout with the Texas Rangers and Los Angeles Dodgers.
END ZONE: With little fanfare, former Canucks defenceman Garth Butcher has been working with the Langley Rivermen at practice the past three weeks. His son Ben is a rookie forward on the team and Garth’s second son to play in the BCHL. Matt was with Chilliwack when he was drafted by the Canucks in 2005. … From Gold Mine to Gold Medal is on bookshelves written by Ivan McLelland, goaltender with the world amateur champion 1955 Penticton Vees and respected member of the BC Sports Hall of Fame.
© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun