The Swift Current 57’s will make their long awaited return to the field on Friday when they visit the Weyburn Beavers to open the 2022 Western Canadian Baseball League regular season.
The 57’s will be led this season by newcomer Joey Jordan, who is currently an assistant coach with the University of West Georgia.
The first-year head coach and general manager has been working hard to finalize the 57’s roster.
“It’s definitely been an interesting process,” he said before arriving in Swift Current. “I’ve talked to a lot of people. I’ve gotten to know a lot of people through the process, which is pretty cool. It went a little different than expected. The plan is to have a 25-man roster, carry 13 pitchers and 12 position players. We’re at 24 right now, so I have one more spot open and I’m trying to get a pitcher signed.”
The recruiting process has been a new one for Jordan.
“I’d definitely say it has been challenging. I didn’t have an assistant coach for a long time. I actually had one and he backed out on me, so I was in a rush to find another assistant coach. It’s been pretty much just me putting the roster together, which the assistant coach that I do have now, he’s been a lot of help, but he’s only been signed for a couple weeks under me.”
The arduous process has also been complicated by the lingering affects of the pandemic.
“It’s definitely been a huge challenge. The restrictions for American players to be vaccinated, that’s caused me to not be able to get some guys that I wanted because they didn’t want to with the restrictions. But we made it through it and I’m excited about that. I’m looking forward to getting all our guys into Swift and seeing how they mesh together.”
Jordan was looking forward to assembling his team in Swift Current.
“We have guys from all different areas, the Southeast of the States to Hawaii to British Columbia all the way over to Ontario. It’s definitely going to be an interesting group of guys.”
One recognizable face for Swift Current baseball fans will be local Brody Alexandre.
“He’s going to be a middle of the order bat. You can expect to see him in left field, right field, and first base. He’ll play a little of all of it and may DH some games,” said Jordan.
Another player Jordan was looking forward to having in Swift Current was infielder Thomas Collins from Southern Union State Community College in Alabama. Collins hit .333 with 35 runs batted in and 37 runs scored in 48 games this past season.
“He’s a left handed hitter. He’ll be more of a top of the order hitter, leadoff probably. He’s another guy that I’m really expecting big things out of,” said Jordan.
Left handed pitcher Kenny Jinks will join the 57’s from the Shorter University Hawks in Georgia.
“I would image he’s going to have a big part in our success, whether we’re successful or not and that always happen on the mound,” said Jordan of the 6’4’’ Junior.
Jordan expected to arrive in Swift Current on Monday and was expecting to have most of the players arrive over the following three days before they made the trip to Weyburn for games on Friday and Saturday.
“I’m a very laid back coach,” he said of his coaching style. “I definitely treat it like a pro ball situation. I’m a manager and if guys have questions about say their swing or anything like that I will definitely help them. My main thing with our guys is for them to find a routine and stick with that routine every day and trust in it even if they’re struggling or if they’re doing well still stick with that routine every day and just trust in that and the work they put in day in and day out. Our guys will probably get sick of hearing that by the end of the season but I’m going to drill that into their heads,” he said.
“Usually if you have a team full of guys with a routine and they stick to it usually it leads to a pretty successful team.”
Jordan does have experience in the WCBL after playing for the Medicine Hat Mavericks in 2017.
“The main thing is how well we pitch. To even simplify it more than that is if we throw strikes. Most of these guys are used to having a metal bat in their hands and it’s a big change from metal to wood bats. The main thing in this league is you have to have a bunch of guys that can come in and throw strikes, fill up the zone. They might get hit every now and then, but for the most part these guys are used to a metal bat and they’re not used to that. It’s going to be a challenge for the hitters.”
“From the hitting side, just having good at-bats each and every at bat… you have to have a plan, what you want to do, which pitches you want to swing at, which you don’t, and you have to stick to that plan, you can’t change it up,” he added.
He also hope they can have ‘team at-bats.’
“If the runner is at third, don’t worry about getting a hit with less than two outs, just put the ball in play so we can score a run. Things like that is how the good offenses might do it, they put the ball in play and usually good things happen right.”
The 57’s will play their home opener on Sunday at 2:05 p.m. at Mitchell Field.
Season tickets are available at Pharmasave, Swift Current City Hall, and Cindy’s Taxes and More with early bird pricing available until May 31.