A new season is around the corner for the Barrie Baycats, and with that, new challenges, but a mentality of “love and support” is at its core.
Josh Matlow, president of the club, took over the reins in 2020, and a new era of Baycats baseball commenced.
The former player, who helped them capture their first-ever championship in 2005, says holding the title as president is an honour on many levels.
“Everything coming full circle is mind-blowing,” Matlow told Barrie 360. “For me, it was very humbling that they would even consider me to come back into the organization.”
“I think the most special part for me is that when you get the kids who were running around shagging fly balls when I was playing, now are Baycats, that’s full circle…the Ryan Rijo’s, the Max Lojko’s who have a picture of me when we had Junior Baycats come and take pictures before games…it’s a really cool experience all around.”
The Baycats hold a high standard of success, as the club has won seven championships, and Matlow says they expect/hope to win every year.
The president noted that they have brought in a young core group that wants to uphold those expectations, and represent the Baycats’ name well.
“It’s going to be a winning atmosphere, hopefully not only on the field but off the field,” said Matlow. “And I think that’s where success is measured best, is that not only are we going to do well on the field, we want to make an impact off the field, especially within the community.”
When asked if he has a certain leadership/coaching philosophy, Matlow instantly said, “love and support.”
“If we can’t love and support each other, then you’re either not fit for the organization, or we just can’t surround ourselves with ya, that kind of thing,” said Matlow. “It’s one of those things where everyone’s bigger and stronger as a team.
“That goes all the way to the volunteers and the staff at the ballpark and people on and off the field, it’s everyone loving and supporting each other. It makes it a lot better of an atmosphere to help each other grow.”
Another mentality that Matlow has instilled in the organization is there’s no losing, there’s learning.
“It’s one of those things where it’s inevitable, you’re gonna win some games, you’re gonna lose some games,” said Matlow. “I think a lot of it is just experience, and I’m honoured to actually be in this position to be able to, not only coach, but mentor some of the young guys.”
Pitching will be a big piece of the puzzle according to Matlow, who says they have some good import pitchers coming back, as well as adding to the starting rotation.
“If our starting pitchers can get us deep into games and give us a chance to win every night, I think we’re going to be a very good team.”
This season will also bring a new experience for Baycats’ fans, as the club will be hosting more theme nights, including health care workers appreciation night, fire rescue night, country night, and minor sports night.
The team will also host Junior Baycats games with jumpy castles, snow cones, face painting, and other activities geared for kids – who get in for free if they are 12 or under.
“Not only is it going to be a nice baseball atmosphere, but it’s going to be a family atmosphere,” said Matlow. “It’s going to cater to a lot of the young families, and the kids.”
With new obstacles on the field and lots of entertainment factors off the field, Matlow says the thing he’s looking forward to the most is surrounding himself with good people throughout the season.
“Beautiful, beautiful weather and baseball of course,” said Matlow. “Entertaining the community, being a part of the community, and just enjoying the game of baseball.”
The Baycats’ regular-season opener is Thursday, May 19th, at home against the Toronto Maple Leafs – game starts at 7:30 p.m.
Feature image – Rob Daniels – Kool FM