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Major League power and a new look: Victoria HarbourCats set to open 2024 season

The HarbourCats play six games on the road before their home opener on June 7
Outfielder Michael Crossland is back for another season with the Victoria HarbourCats, who open the 2024 on Friday, May 31 in Kamloops. (Christian J. Stewart/Victoria HarbourCats)

The boys of summer are arriving back in town as the first pitch on the Victoria HarbourCats season is set to be thrown on Friday, May 31.

After finishing with the second best record (38-15) last season but falling in the West Coast League (WCL) championship, the HarbourCats have welcomed big names and familiar faces as they look for a championship in 2024.

The 2024 roster features many Canadians, including four players from Victoria and one from North Saanich. There is also a lot on international flare as their is many players from all around the United States, from Hawaii to Texas and everywhere in between.

One of the newest pitchers on the team Luke Hayhow, who attends the University of Hawaii, is from Sydney, Australia.

But the HarbourCats made one of the biggest moves during the offseason when they signed Manny Ramirez Jr. (21) and Lucas Ramirez (18), the sons of retired MLB star Manny Ramirez.

Manny Ramirez Jr., 21, (left), and Lucas Ramirez, 18, join the HarbourCats this summer. (Courtesy Victoria HarbourCats)

“These are notable signings not just for us, but for the entire West Coast League,” said HarbourCats managing partner Jim Swanson in a press release on April 4.

The two outfielders bring power to the HarbourCats lineup, and have some help coming with them.

Joining Victoria’s coaching staff for the upcoming season is Manny Ramirez’s personal hitting coach Trovin Valdez, who works exclusively with the Ramirez boys. He never made it to the big leagues but played for the Montreal Expos AAA team. Valdez joins a coaching staff led by head coach Todd Haney, who won the WCL’s coach of the year last season.

A sign of the times

The HarbourCats, along with the Nanaimo NightOwls (both teams are under the same ownership) are bringing a new tool to the league for the upcoming season that’s been in MLB the last couple years.

The teams will be using the PitchCom system, in the 2024 season - an one-way device which allows the catcher to communicate signals to the pitcher without any concern of having those signals picked up by the other team.

Since being implemented in MLB, the Toronto Blue Jays were the only team in Canada to use the system. Earlier this year, the Canadian College Baseball Conference’s (CCBC) Victoria Golden Tide used the system.

New look

With a new season, comes a new look for the HarbourCats.

The team unveiled new home jerseys that are inspired by Montreal Expos jerseys.

Victoria HarbourCats Jai Berezowski and Jalen Sami in the team’s new Expos-inspired home jerseys for the 2024 season. (Victoria HarbourCats)

Play ball

Victoria opens the season with a six-game road trip in Kamloops and Kelowna, starting on Friday, May 31. The home opener takes place on Friday, June 7 at Royal Athletic Park against the Wenatchee AppleSox. First pitch is at 6:30 p.m.

READ MORE: Ramirez brothers join Victoria HarbourCats roster

Jordy Cunningham

About the Author: Jordy Cunningham

Hailing from Ladner, B.C., I have been passionate about sports, especially baseball, since I was young. In 2018, I graduated from Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops with a Bachelor of Journalism degree
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