Cam Moon has a pretty good idea what his Midget AAA baseball team will bring to the diamond this season but that information doesn’t make the decision-making process to form that squad any easier.
“Maybe your top five are simple enough but after that it all gets real difficult,” said Moon with regard to selecting a roster of 16 to 18 players out of more than 30 trying out. “I can’t tell you the amount of stress this brings upon me and I rue this time of year.”
Moon does have the benefit of seeing many of these players grow from their start in baseball at the Mosquito level, then Peewee, Bantam and now at the Midget level.
He has coached at the assistant and head coach levels for quite a few years and now takes the reins as the head coach of the AAA team after spending last year as an assistant.
“The game certainly changes. The landscape of the league at the midget level changes but you get a pretty good read on them over the years,” he said.
Moon added he also relies heavily on his assistant coaches and the independent evaluators to bring in a fresh look so he doesn’t come into the tryout process with a pre-conceived notion about any player.
“If there is something else that they see that maybe I don’t see, I want to know about it,” he said. “So I’m trying to take as many opinions as I can get, informed opinions from people I trust.”
One big challenge he faces with this age group is holding those tryouts indoors instead of being outside where inter-squad games could be played allowing for a much better evaluation of players under game conditions.
He does like the fact all is not lost for players who don’t make the cut for this team as there is a double A program in Red Deer and Lacombe as well as rumours of a similar program possibly in Olds so players will still get to hit the diamond this summer.
“That is a great thing. I mean the more kids playing baseball in my eyes the better,” he said. “I’m a big fan of the game, a big fan of spending time at the diamond during the summer. In fact I can’t spend enough time at the diamonds in the summer.”
Moon figures this team is going to have some good speed on the base paths this year and have players which will play well defensively.
“I’m not sure on the depth of our pitching quite yet. I think we’ll put the ball in play. I think we’ll make things exciting because of that speed but I think we’re going to have real strong defense.”
Moon feels the sport in Central Alberta is relatively healthy but he admits he sometimes feels baseball is viewed as a ‘fringe’ sport and would love to see more resources put towards growing the game in the region.
There are other parts of the province which do give their programs a higher priority than other sports but Moon says this region does very well in supporting their teams.
“We can only do what we can do and we try to do the best we can with what we have.”