Baseball Manitoba is grateful to finally have a season without the restrictions of COVID-19. With things wrapping up across the province, Baseball Manitoba executive director Jason Miller reflects on the 2022 season.
"All of our provincial championships went off, so some really great competitions were had. Some hosts got to have championships in their town and generate some revenue for their local businesses. I'm really pleased with how everything went," Miller explains. "We had some hiccups, having to relearn how to do things, but I think most people experienced that. Generally speaking, I'm super happy with how everything went."
Miller says the beginning of the season saw some difficulties with high amounts of rain, however, he says once June rolled around, it was basically smooth sailing for the rest of the year.
He notes it was great to be able to put on all their provincial tournaments once again but the executive director notes they forgot just how hectic that time of year can be. Miller adds they reached a milestone for the first time this year.
"The AAA province-wide league, for the first year ever, saw every AAA team play at least 12 scheduled regular season games. The ones who agreed to come in full-time played 24 or 28, depending on the age division. Them having a guaranteed spot in provincials on August Long Weekend, keeps the kids playing against like competition for longer and keeps them practicing for longer. It gives them a really competitive tournament to be in at the end of the season."
One aspect of the game that Miller has noticed rapid growth in is female baseball.
"The (female) provincial team program just continues to get better," says Miller. "U14 Girls Baseball Western Championship was held at Optimist Park (in Winnipeg), and the level of competition was amazing. Seeing those girls from across Western Canada compete like that, the future is bright for high-performance girls."
Miller adds the Senior Women's Invitational took place in Stonewall and went swimmingly. He also gives credit to all the female provincial teams, singling out the U16 team, who went 5-1 at the national tournament in Prince Edward Island.
The executive director notes it's great to have provincial and national events back this year after a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19.
"It just keeps the season going for so many teams into August, which is great for development."
Miller says he's sent surveys to all the baseball organizations across the province as they are looking for feedback on where they want to see Baseball Manitoba go in the next five years.