Former fastball stars come out of retirement to play under the lights in Manitowaning this week

Expositor file photo

MANITOWANING—When you think about it, fastball players in Manitowaning have had to wait for lights on their ball diamond even longer than the Chicago Cubs, in Chicago’s venerable Wrigley Field. However, the lights will shine bright come August 19.

“As Larry Harasym said to me last week, ‘I never thought I would see the day when I played a game under lights in Manitowaning’,” said Jackie White, events coordinator for the municipality of Assiginack. “Mark your calendars for August 19 at 8 pm. Back from the past are the ballplayers coming to play once again. This time it is under the new lights. This will be the first time the Manitowaning ball diamond will have lights on for a game,” explained Ms. White in a social media post.

And to commemorate this momentous occasion, “the players who used to play fastball in Manitowaning are being called out of retirement to play the first game under the lights, as respect to all of them,” said Ms. White. She pointed out players like Ron Cooper, Larry Harasym, Reuben Allen and others will be playing an exhibition game.

“Thanks to the amazing Blue Jays Field of Dreams Foundation and ICIP (Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program) grants, these players will come together for an exhibition game at 8 pm,” said Ms. White.

“Ron Cooper is seeking players, enough to make up two teams of former Assiginack players to play,” continued Ms. White. She explained through the Blue Jays Field of Dreams Foundation the ballpark field is brand new as is the fencing, fencing, dugouts and new bleachers being installed. The lights were installed with ICIP funding.

“We are so thankful to the provincial and federal governments who provided one-third funding each for the project and for municipal council for supporting the project,” stated Ms. White.

A youth softball baseball tournament is being held in Manitowaning this weekend. “And on Saturday night the kids will be able to play under the new lights as well,” said Ms. White. “This weekend will be lots of fun,” she said, explaining the youth softball tournament will continue through Sunday.

There is no cost to attend the Friday night exhibition game, “but we do kindly ask those attending to consider making a monetary donation that will go towards the Manitoulin Food Bank,” said Ms. White.