Kepikeren Jonathan Mallow and Josue Peley , both retired from professional baseball, will have the opportunity to jointly qualify for the Canadian team for the Tokyo Olympics, starting May 31, in Florida.
Not only did these old comrades compete with the Capitals two tournaments in 2012 and 2013, but they currently live in the same building in the Quebec region. However, both athletes received confirmation this week that they will be part of the adventure as players.
“It’s a patient to go represent the country like this, especially with Joe,” Bailey said in an interview with QMI. We wanted to try it out together. It never happened that we were in a national team at the same time. ”
“I couldn’t wait for him to take the official call.” Mallu, who had himself been urging his friend’s nomination for the Canadian Baseball Club captain, when I learned he would be there with me, said I was almost happier than him.
In Malu’s case, his choice is still less surprising despite the 37-year-old, who also came out of his retirement from baseball to help Canada in the last Pan-American Games, in 2019 in Peru, and again during the first tournament. Qualified to the Tokyo Games, in November of the same year, in South Korea.
Charles Antoine Gagnon / QMI
Sans Russell Martin
As far as QMI knows, Quebec player Russell Martin will not be part of the national team, despite the interest shown by head coach Greg Hamilton. The full squad formation, with Malo and Billy, should also be revealed on Friday, during the official announcement by Baseball Canada. Among the Kepikers, former Montreal Expos player Dennis Boucher will again be part of the coaching team, as pitching manager.
In preparation for the competition, Mallow, Bailey and other representatives from Canada will head to Florida on Monday. Two preparatory matches are scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday against the United States. As for the official tournament, Canada will face Colombia on May 31, and the other two teams in Group B (Cuba and Venezuela) will be in the following days. The two best teams in the group will then advance in “Super Ronde” as part of this tournament for the Americas.
The experience is clearly exciting for Billy and Malo as some former major league baseball stars have to be there as well, including former Toronto Blue Jays player Jose Bautista. His name appears in the formation of the Dominican Republic, in the group A. Peley will also have the opportunity to reconnect with Bautista.
Remember that Bailey gave up independent capitals and baseball five years ago, in 2016, when he accepted a position as a translator at the Blue Jays. However, in addition to translating the words of many Spanish-speaking players, the 33-year-old Quebec claims to have learned a lot as an athlete, making use of the advice of several Jays players, including Bautista. Bailey will also meet Canadian team coaches Tim Lieber and Paul Quantrill, with whom he has worked in Toronto.
Next stop: Tokyo?
After the crazy adventure of the next few weeks, Malo and Billy logically go to Florida dreaming of Canada’s qualification for the upcoming Olympics. But regardless of what happens in West Palm Beach and Port St. Lucie, the two friends already expect an unforgettable experience together. Florida while waiting for Tokyo? why not?
“Obviously, our automatic selection of the Olympic Games is not because of our participation in the qualifiers, but we are not going there to parade. We want Canada to qualify. In everyone’s hearts, regardless of sport, going to the Olympics, that would be a huge achievement,” Malo emphasized.
Glove will stay in Canada …
When Jonathan Malo learns that his dear friend Jose Pelley will accompany him in the Canadian national team qualification for the Olympic Games in Tokyo, May 31 to June 5 in Florida, he immediately asks him a question: “Your baseball glove is in color Venezuela, you will leave it here, eh?”
Obviously, Billy answered yes. Billy grew up in Quebec, was born in Valencia, Venezuela. Since this country and Canada are in the same group in this tournament, a confrontation between the two countries has already been announced on Wednesday, June 2.
Billy said: “Honestly, and I’m going to be careful not to be too emotional, I’ll definitely shed a tear before this match.”
If Billy had to carry another glove, Mallu made sure to get a new Canadian-colored “glove” for the tournament.
Annoying his old friend, Malo said, “I’m sure Venezuela is forever in his heart, but for the tournament he has to represent Canada.”
Malo in Shortstop?
When used for competition, Malo can be hired for a short position, according to a conversation he had with coach Greg Hamilton. As for Peley, he should be a more helpful player, making it clear that he can play anywhere on the field and even offer his services as a receiver if needed.
Despite the formidable challenge he faces, Bailey is not worried about the level of his play and recently, he has been still active in 2020, having contributed significantly to the Victorianville team championship in the Major League Baseball in Quebec. He then kept an exceptional hitting average of 0.615 during the Qualifiers.
Obviously, the shooters’ caliber in these Olympic Qualifiers will be extremely superior, but Billy remains confident in his ability to perform well.