Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Quebec Capitales Win the 2009 Can-Am Championship

This article first appeared in the October edition of Main Street and is reprinted here with permission from the editors. Drop by www.mainstreetweeknews.com to have a look at a great community newspaper. You can also sign up and have Main Street Week delivered right to your inbox every Friday.


Quebec Capitales Win the 2009 Can-Am Championship

Baseball fans in the province have embraced the Quebec Capitales since they arrived in Quebec City for the 1999 baseball season. With plenty of local talent, which includes the 2003 Cy Young winner and World Series Champion Eric Gagne, the team once again led the league in attendance with 160,992 fans dropping by the Municipal Stadium during their 45 home games this summer. A member of the Northern League when they began play, the Capitales joined the Can-Am League in 2005 and they have been one of the premier teams in the league; proving year after year, that baseball has a home north of the border.

The Quebec Capitales rebounded from a slow start this past season to finish third overall in the six-team Can-Am League and qualified for the playoffs, which took place in mid-September. As the winners of the second half in the split-season schedule, the Capitales began their quest for their second league championship at home with a best of five series against the Brockton Rox. After winning the first two games at home, the Capitales headed to Massachusetts to finish off the Rox and the series, three games to one.

A surprising series win by the Worcester Tornadoes over the first place New Jersey Jackals meant that Quebec would stay in Massachusetts for the start of the 2009 Can-Am Final. The Capitales and Tornadoes split the two games in Worcester and the Quebec City team returned to the best fans in the league tied at one game each in the best of five series. Eric Gagne took to the mound in game three, pitching a complete game in a 5-1 victory and Karl Gelinas, a native of Iberville Quebec, struck out five Worcester batters in a 7-4 win to claim the 2009 Can-Am Championship.

The 2009 Can-Am League title was not the only honour bestowed upon the franchise this season. For the second year in a row, the Capitales won the Organization of the Year Award. Capitales General Manager, Alex Harvey, discussed the honour in a press release at the Can-Am League’s website.

“To win the Organization of the Year Award for a second year means a lot for the whole front office,” said Harvey. “Everybody has worked really hard over the past year to remain a top organization.”

For the first time, the groundskeepers in Quebec City have won the award for having the Best Playing Field in the league. Built in 1938, the stadium has witnessed many baseball legends over the years, including Hank Aaron, Andre Dawson and Gary Carter to name a few. After undergoing extensive renovations before the Capitales arrived, Quebec’s Municipal Stadium is now one of the best ballparks in North America.

“It is a great honour for all employees from the City of Quebec who work on the field. They do it with passion and professionalism,” said Harvey in a press release. “Head Groundskeepers Guy Jacques, Richard LainĂ© and Marcel Nadeau are doing a tremendous job to set high standards of excellence.”

Before the playoffs began, Montebello resident Pierre-Luc LaForest won the Player of the Year Award in the Can-Am League. The catcher/first baseman led the league in several offensive categories and was an integral part of the championship season in Quebec City. The former Montreal Expos draft pick hit 24 home runs and had 84 runs batted in during the regular season.

Congratulations to all the players and staff involved in another exciting season of Capitales baseball. Personally, I would like to thank Can-Am commissioner and Capitales owner, Miles Wolff, for taking the time to speak with Main Street throughout the season. As the temperatures begin to fall below zero, remember folks, Spring Training is only six months away. Have a great sports day everyone.

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