By David Singh
It took a lunch meeting during last year’s Major League Baseball (MLB) playoffs to bring three friends to realize what was missing in their university.
Ajdin Agic,19, and his two friends, Nate Appleton, 22, and Justin Persaud, 20, then decided to try and bring a baseball team to Ryerson.
Despite being one of the major sports in Toronto over the last two decades, Ryerson hasn’t had a baseball team since the mid-1980s. The team, which played at Exhibition Stadium – the first home of the Toronto Blue Jays – failed largely because of a lack of interest and commitment, and folded after a year.
Agic, Appleton, and Persaud hoped this would not be the case. However, they encountered one major obstacle: funding.
Ryerson’s policy is to only provide funds to interuniversity or varsity teams. When a new team is formed, it has to be a sports club for two years before it can qualify as a varsity team.
A sports club would not play other universities in a league, but rather exhibition games with any willing team around the city.
Terry Haggerty, Ryerson’s manager of interuniversity sports, believes varsity teams play on a different level than intramural squads.
“It isn’t about getting nine guys together, whoever they are, and going out and playing other universities. This is about a level of excellence,” he said.
“One situation that affected the [baseball team] under club status, is that they have to finance the club on their own,” said Randy Pipher, Ryerson’s intramural and camps co-ordinator. “Just like the karate club, like the fencing club and like the cheerleading squad, they all pay. This was a stumbling block for the baseball team.”
The three students estimated the cost to fund the team at about $500 per person. This included expenses for uniforms, equipment, coaches, umps and field costs. They decided it was too much to pay.
“We’re all students ourselves,” said Agic. “On top of the $500, there’s the $6,000 you’re already paying with books and tuition. It would work out to be a hefty price.”
Reuben Lopez, a second-year architecture student at Ryerson, was looking forward to seeing a baseball team on campus. However, he agrees the price is too high.
“I wouldn’t pay that,” he said. “I see that as understandable because you don’t want to put money into a team you don’t know will be successful or get a response from.”
There are no plans from Agic, Appleton or Persaud to continue pushing for a baseball team. Despite this, Pipher doesn’t believe all hope is lost.
“If they want to come in and continue discussing it, we’d still discuss it with the,” he said.” There is always money in this city. It’s just a matter of finding it.”