Competitive ball team forming in Lower Mainland

Will play in U.S. based PIL

A Maple Ridge man is putting together a new competitive hardball team, and recruiting players from across the Lower Mainland.

The Vancouver Magicians Baseball Team is looking at gaining entry into the Pacific International League (PIL) Their league’s top two teams, the Seattle Studs and Everett Merchants, qualified for the National Baseball Congress World Series that has just finished its 83rd year. It is a summer college league, and most players are NCAA eligible.

The local team will be the Vancouver Magicians, and is looking at playing in a series of exhibition games against all six teams in the PIL in 2018 with the expectation of becoming an expansion team for 2019.

“I believe that by taking a slow approach and playing exhibition games, our organization will have a chance to build up the necessary resources to be a competitive team for years to come,” said spokesman Bobby LeFever.

The team’s home will be Queens Park Stadium in New Westminster, which he believes is perfectly suited for the PIL and for running an independent baseball team out of Vancouver.

“If you have a chance to look at the sites for the PIL and the NBC World Series I think you will be surprised by the long, outstanding baseball history and the many players who went on to become Major League players and players who went on to be Hall-of-Famers,” said LeFever.

Some of the graduates of the PIL include Major Leaguers Jeff Zimmermen, Jason Bay, Jeff Francis, Tim Lincecum and Jacoby Ellsbury.

LeFever said the team will practice year-round with a schedule that begins in June. He is interested in quality, committed players from the Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows area, and they will practice at Albion.

“We are looking to play and practise at the highest level possible year-round. The players must be 18 and older, and expenses will be covered by fundraising, including their uniforms. They should supply their own equipment. We have set up a simple fundraising program that is easy for everyone on the team to participate in,” he said.

They are also looking for volunteer administrators. Anyone interested in being involved can email vancouvermagicians@shaw.ca.