Larry Walker: Version 1.0. Version 2.0 was Justin Morneau. Hello, 3.0.
As Brett Lawrie lights it up in his dramatic debut days with the Toronto Blue Jays, he’s just continuing the wave of success breeding success. In this case, Canadian baseball players lighting up the bigs and inspiring those who follow.
In particular, it’s a continuing story of B.C. boys doing it.
Capitals infielder Matt Rogelstad came from the coast playing with and against Morneau in the ‘Sons of Walker’ era.
He also saw the next wave first-hand. But even he is surprised at what Lawrie is doing so soon.
“Played with him on the Olympic team,” said the 29-year-old Port Moody native. “He was fresh out of high school, just graduated about a month, just an 18-year-old. That was the only opportunity I had to see him play until this last week on TV.
“So he’s come a long way from 18 in the last three years. It’s good to see Brett up there making a good name for Canadians and the B.C. area.
“(Walker) was obviously the first big one to come out of the area. And then the late ’90s, early 2000s saw a boom with Justin Morneau, Rich Harden, Jeff Francis, Adam Leowen and all those guys coming through.
“It put B.C. on the map and continued to build.”
And proof that time is condensing, barely a week or two after Lawrie’s arrival with the Blue Jays, the kids from his hometown of Langley win the tournament to represent Canada at the Little League World Series.
“They’ve got a great program out there in Langley,” said Rogelstad, just learning that news. “They’ve been strong for a few years. It’s evident with Brett coming through.”