Quantrill's doing it his way

Canadian junior Nats' pitcher Cal Quantrill takes a breather at spring training in St. Petersburg,...

Canadian junior Nats' pitcher Cal Quantrill takes a breather at spring training in St. Petersburg, Fla. (KATHY ANDERSON photo)

KATHY ANDERSON, Special to QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:14 PM ET

ST. PETERSBURG, FLA. - You may feel bad for hardcore Toronto Blue Jays fans who are too young to remember Joe Carter touching ’em all.

However, despite his birth certificate reading 1995, there’s no need to feel sorry for Cal Quantrill.

A pitcher for Canada’s junior national team, Quantrill is one lucky Jays fan.

“Carlos Delgado and Shawn Green taught me how to swing,” he said, with a huge smile. “And it turns out I’m a pitcher, so it didn’t matter.”

A pitcher representing his country, no less, and name-dropping those batting coaches at a party could definitely drop some jaws.

Quantrill’s first day of spring training was on Monday in St. Petersburg.

As Brett Lawrie’s parents watched coach Corey Eckstein — a family friend of the Lawries — running infield drills, Sportsnet’s Jamie Campbell spent his final day in Florida in the Team Canada weight room ... not doing reps, but interviewing players.

Freshly pressed uniforms were worn for the first time. The sun was beating down, but unlike most Port Hope, Ont., natives, former major leaguer Paul Quantrill’s son is no stranger to 20 C weather this time of year.

On March break, he’d leave the Canadian slush behind and go south.

“I got out halfway through the school year and lived with my dad wherever he was playing and got home-schooled (from March on) ... It was awesome. I went to a baseball field everyday,” the younger Quantrill said.

Studying long division by the third-base line could be tricky for a young boy, but Quantrill learned to balance life on and off the field.

“Away from sports, his academic work ethic is actually pretty frightening (in a good way),” high school coach Tom Langford said.

Before getting his driver’s licence, Quantrill would study in the passenger seat while commuting to and from practice in Mississauga.

“I found a way to be both part of the school community and part of the baseball community, some people don’t even know I play,” he said.

As the son of a retired 13-year major league veteran, Quantrill didn’t start his baseball career like you may think.

“My dad didn’t force me into baseball. He said, ‘Whatever sport you want to play, play.’ So I chose soccer.”

Quantrill’s career as a Timbit was short lived. After realizing soccer wasn’t his forte and electing to hit the mound, Quantrill still wanted to carve out his own path.

“No one would accuse me (of playing baseball) just because my dad did it ... he’s done a good job of helping me as much as he can — but letting me make my own way.”

Quantrill is making his way quite well.


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