(WINDSOR, ON) – St Clair College has announced a new baseball franchise which will join the Great Lakes Summer Collegiate Baseball League for the 2017 season. The St Clair Green Giants will be based out of Tecumseh’s Lacasse Park and be the league’s 15th team and only Canadian franchise.
The GLSCL had its inaugural season in 1984 and is sanctioned by Major League Baseball with teams across the Michigan/Ohio region. Each franchise is comprised of players from all over North America, but must be competing with a college or university baseball school.
Currently players in the league are from the NCAA, NAIA, and the NJCAA. With St Clair, the league will now feature some talent from Canadian conferences like the OCAA.
The St Clair Green Giants will play a 42-game regular season schedule in the Michigan-based Northern Division against the Lake Erie Monarchs (Flat Rock, MI), Irish Hills Leprechauns (Adrian, MI), Grand River Loggers (Muskegon, MI), and the Muskegon Clippers (Muskegon, MI).
There are 10 additional teams which make up the two divisions in the Ohio-based South. With 21 home games beginning on June 7 at Lacasse Park, the Green Giants will provide some entertainment for local baseball fans, which sees its playoffs take place in the second week of August.
“We have partnered with the town of Tecumseh once again,” said Ron Seguin, St Clair’s vice president of campus development. “Mayor McNamara and the Town Council have been valued supporters of St Clair College and fans of the Saints baseball program, so it makes sense to bring the Green Giant name back to Lacasse Park and the town of Tecumseh.”
The St Clair Saints baseball program has seen its share of success over the past five years, winning a CIBA National Championship, two OUA/OCAA crossover championships, and four consecutive OCAA Provincial Championships.
With the addition of the Green Giants, the Saints coaching staff will take on double duties with both teams.
The St Clair Green Giants coaching staff will include head coach Dave Cooper, and pitching coach Rick Lindquist along with GM and assistant coach Chico LaBute, with plans to add two more coaches in the coming weeks.
One of the driving forces behind the decision to join the Great Lakes League was the prospect of involving current students from St Clair College. Kevin Corriveau is the coordinator of the St Clair sports and recreation management program and will act as a liaison providing internship opportunities for the Green Giants.
“We are taking the very best students from our program and developing a placement where they will receive hands on experiences through the creation and organization of all business related functions of an actual sports franchise, and we are very excited to be participating,” said Corriveau.
Interns will come from many different programs at the school.
“The intern positions will not be limited to sport and recreation management program,” said LaBute. “We are so fortunate to have amazing instructors at St Clair College. They work so hard developing the specialized skills in our students, which prepare them to hit the job market upon graduation at full speed. Our success as a new franchise will start with those talented students. We will be looking across the college to include as many students as possible when filling intern positons for the St Clair Green Giants.”
The model for the Green Giants is not a new approach as the Great Lakes League’s Southern Ohio Copperheads capitalize on a pool of talented students from Ohio University. Nearly 80 interns work in the summer to make that franchise successful.
With 42 games in 52 days the St Clair Green Giants coaching staff has its work cut out for them.
“It’s a major league season for two months,” said Cooper. “It’s everything the big league clubs do for two months. It will really give the players a taste of a professional schedule.”
The major league teams count on the league to develop the up and coming talent for the pros. Last year, 38 players signed professional contracts from the Great Lakes League. MLB hopes to increase that number each year.
Both Cooper and LaBute have been hitting the phones, using their contacts in both the US and Canada, to find the very best talent in the college ranks.
“We are up against a time line that is not in our favour,” said Cooper. “The other teams have a head start on us.”
Cooper is presently in Arizona, scouting the top college players with hopes of adding some depth to the roster to bring it to 32 players.
Once the players arrive in camp in late May the Green Giants face another hurdle; the housing needs for 32 athletes over a for 2.5 month stretch. The organization will be looking to billet the players with families close to Lacasse Park and those requests will be going out shortly.
“We have already been in touch with several minor baseball organizations in the community to spread the word about our billet program,” said LaBute.
The St Clair Green Giants will be announcing the billet program in the coming weeks and will be expanding their search to all local minor baseball organizations in the Windsor and Essex County region.
The Green Giants have secured roster spots with players from Ontario, California, Kansas, Indiana, Colorado, Michigan, North Carolina, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and Panama.
For information about how to become a Green Giants sponsor, billet, volunteer, or for ticket information contact LaBute by email or by calling 519-972-2727 x4211.
The St Clair Green Giants home opener is Wednesday, June 7 at 7:00pm when the Lake Erie Monarchs visit Lacasse Park. Pricing for season ticket packages and single game tickets will be announced shortly.