Ralph Bretts on Dodgers

IAN BUSBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 11:23 AM ET

Brett Ralph's allegiance will always be to the Jays, but these days he's rooting for a different boy in blue.

When the National League Championship Series starts tomorrow, Ralph will be cheering on former Team Canada diamondmate Russell Martin, whose Los Angeles Dodgers are taking on the Philadelphia Phillies.

Back in 2000, the Calgary Stampeders wide receiver played shortstop beside Martin, then a third baseman, in the world junior baseball championships in Edmonton.

"It's fun to look back and say you played with or against certain guys, so you find yourself cheering for them in the majors," said Ralph.

"You hope they do well. Russ was a great guy and good team player, so it's nice to see him being successful."

Once that tournament ended, Ralph turned his attention to football, first going to the University of Wyoming for one season before embarking on a Mormon mission that took two years.

When Ralph returned, he contemplated going back to baseball, but instead transferred to Boise State to play pigskin with the Broncos.

By then, Martin had switched to catcher, was drafted by the Dodgers and was about to embark on a career that has earned him two all-star selections in just three seasons.

Eight years ago, Ralph never thought he would end up seeing his former teammate go on to play at baseball's highest level and on its biggest stage.

"Whenever you play at any level, whether it's high school or college, or in that case Team Canada, until you look back, you don't appreciate the competition you are facing," Ralph said.

"We had a pretty good junior team that year."

Baltimore Orioles pitcher Adam Loewen was also on that Canadian team, and the Canucks faced a U.S. squad that featured Detroit Tigers pitcher Jeremy Bonderman and Minnesota Twins catcher Joe Mauer.

So even now that Ralph is in his fourth year as a CFLer, he can't help but wonder if he could be making millions as a major-leaguer had he pursued that path.

"As a young kid and through high school and even to this day, I always thought I had more of a future in baseball than football," said the 5-foot-10, 184-pounder.

"I felt like baseball was more of a natural sport for me.

"But it's easy to look back and say I wish I would have done this or that.

"Football is a better lifestyle. I look at the baseball lifestyle and it would be easy if your were single. But if you wanted to start a family, it would be pretty tough."

EXTRA POINTS

The Stamps had a short session yesterday in which several players skipped practice. LB Shannon James missed with the flu, while C Rob Lazeo (thumb), LB Dwaine Carpenter (personal), OL Ben Archibald (arm infection) and SB Nik Lewis (rib, knee) sat out but are expected to return for Thanksgiving's matchup with the Saskatchewan Roughriders. RT Jeff Pilon (shoulder) is doubtful, while DL Mike Labinjo (ankle) and S Wes Lysack (ankle) went through rehab with trainer Pat Clayton yesterday and could return to face the Riders.


Videos

Photos