KAMLOOPS — Gary and Jason Boulin share the love of baseball.
The father and son are in Kamloops to take part in the Best of the West tournament. Jason as a player for a second straight year, and Gary as one of his coaches, a former 13th round draft pick of the Kansas City Royals.
"It was cool in the fact that you got to learn from some of the best pitchers in baseball," said Gary Blouin. "Learn from guys who had experience going all the way. It was only disappointing because it was such a tough rotation to crack."
Gary was drafted in 1986, a year after the Royals won the World Series with the likes of George Brett and some great pitchers.
"They had guys like Kevin Aapier and Tom Gordon, Todd Stottlemyre, Mel Stottlemyre, and Melido Perez and Jose De Jesus. They had some horses," remembered Gary.
Gary made it to the AA level within their system. Fast forward three decades later and Jason is trying to following in his footsteps.
"He's taught me since day one and I've fallen in love with the game since then," noted Jason.
Gary and Jason are here with their White Rock midget team for the Best of the West tournament, giving the best bantam and midget players a stage to start the season off right.
"A lot of these teams that we have here, I've got some relationships with them and the coaches are really keen about the guys being able to develop and potentially have a chance at playing at the next level and allowing themselves to enjoy baseball as long as they can enjoy playing," said Marty Lehn with the Big League Experience, which organizes the tournament.
Kyle Dhanani is also coach for the White Rock team. He's also a former TRU Wolfpack from 2006-09 and was drafted by Milwaukee in 2009, playing in their minor-league system for a short time.
"The phone call was awesome and showing up at the spring training facility with all the guys was pretty surreal," he said. "You're just walking around spring training and you see all the big leaguers."
It's where Jason and these players would like to be one day and the Big League Experience has been the start of the journey for many high-level ballplayers.
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