Gavin Logan is no stranger to the open road. Raised on a farm outside Oyen, he commuted to town as well as Consort to play his minor ball, before heading west to Okotoks to join Dawgs Academy. Since then, he’s played with the college Dawgs, the West Coast League’s Bend Elks, Southeaster Community College, Linn-Benton Community College and he’s now at the #2-ranked NCAA Division program in the country: Oregon State. After what he admits was a tough first year with the Beavers where he had to battle for his playing time, the 5-11, 212-pound backstop is now “the guy” behind the plate, hitting .339 with two homers and 12 RBI in his first 13 games. We recently caught up with Logan to talk about the highs, lows and what’s still to come in his baseball journey.
We would be shocked if Brett Platts wasn’t nicknamed “Coffee.” Not only does enjoy the hot beverage a “lot” by his estimation, he would also need it with how fast his career is taking off. The native of Albany, Prince Edward Island moved to Dawgs Academy in Okotoks for high school, and wound up at Southeastern Community College in 2017-2018. But a major ACL injury derailed his on-field dreams, leading him to get into strength and conditioning. He started his own business, then was planning to move back to Dawgs Academy, then was going to join the University of Iowa, before he got a call from the Chicago Cubs to work as a strength and conditioning coach for their young players in the Dominican Republic. Before he caught a flight out of town, we caught up with Platts to talk about his entire journey, including his time in our province, the mental challenges of coming back from injury, and how persistence paid off in making his newfound dreams come true.
Jason Chatwood has seemingly become Mr. Baseball in Central Alberta. He’s the lead instructor and coach at St. Joseph High School Academy in Red Deer, he does some scouting with the Arizona Diamondbacks and he’s the head coach of the WCBL’s Sylvan Lake Gulls. Chatwood isn’t that far removed from playing the game either. Growing up in Innisfail, he played all over the province and even representing Alberta before a very successful college career at Colby Community College and then NCAA Division I Gonzaga University, which is where he got his first taste of coaching and mentoring. We recently sat down to talk about his baseball journey, the challenges of wearing so many different hats, and the importance of family, which starts with his wife, Heather, who was a softball standout and a member of Canada’s national team.
Taylor Burns might be the most-active social media presence in Alberta baseball circles. Not only known for his takes on his beloved Edmonton Oilers, Burns has been busy building the brands of Absolute Human Performance and AHP Academy, with videos of his athletes, as well as his own advice and takes on strength and conditioning. It’s become his passion as a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, after spending years as an athlete himself. Burns had shoulder surgery to repair a torn labrum after his junior season at university in 2011, but wasn’t able to pitch again until he went to the University of Central Missouri in 2016-2017. That time off allowed him to find some new passions, including coaching and mentoring in the Edmonton and St. Albert regions. We’ve long wanted to have Taylor on the podcast to talk about his journey, and felt like we were only scratching the surface in this candid conversation.
February marks Black History Month, and over the last few weeks, we’ve had social media posts about past stories on legendary baseball players who broke the colour barrier in their own way, including Satchel Paige, John Donaldson, Leon Day, Jackie Robinson and Andre Dawson. We also introduced you to two new stories: one on Hall of Famer “Cool Papa” Bell, and another on Dick Brookins, whose final days in professional baseball came here in our province. For a little more insight into those stories and the research that went into them, we welcome ADS co-founder and writer Ian Wilson back to the podcast.
He was the first Canadian to be selected in the first round of the Major League Baseball Draft, taken 34th overall by the Boston Red Sox in the 1996 Draft. Chris Reitsma went onto a seven-year MLB and 12-year pro career. Best-known for his time in Atlanta, where in 2004 he had 84 appearances as the set-up man to John Smoltz, Reitsma later groomed another young prospect, Mike Soroka, to be taken in the first round by the Braves in 2015. Giving back to the baseball community in his home province has become a point of pride for the now-44-year-old, as he is now serving as the Senior Director of Baseball Operations and Pitching Director with the Webber Academy Wildcats in Springbank, just west of Calgary. Reitsma recently took some time out of his busy schedule to talk about his entire baseball journey and what he’s hoping to build at Webber.
Luxon Glor has been named an All-American multiple times, he’s broken school and conference records at the University of Mary and has been named a conference athlete of the year. He did it all in track, despite originally wanting to do it all in baseball. The Haiti-born and Winnipeg-raised speedster was an accomplished multi-sport athlete when Les McTavish brought him into the Vauxhall Academy of Baseball, where he continued to shine during the 2014-2015 seasons. But an eye injury made the game he loved a little more difficult as headed to UMary, so he changed his focus, and ended up finding a new passion. Now, the 24-year-old is chasing an Olympic dream while also attending law school in New York. Glor has quite the story to tell, and he joined us recently to talk all about it.
It has been a meteoric rise up the coaching ranks for Calgary’s Jim Henderson. A 26th round draft pick of the Montreal Expos back in 2003, the hard-throwing right-hander spent 15 years in professional baseball. In 2012, he became the first Dawgs Academy product to make it into the major leagues and would go on to pitch in 155 games for the Milwaukee Brewers and New York Mets. The 6-5, 220-pound hurler finished out his playing career in 2018 with the Biloxi Shuckers in Double-A, where an injury allowed him to cut his teeth as a scout, then as a coach in the Pioneer League. He rose through the Brewers system, just as he did as a player, and just a few weeks ago, was named the bullpen coach for the MLB squad. We had the opportunity to catch up with him recently to talk about his entire journey, his roots back home and what his family has meant to him.
Alejo Lopez made history last summer as being the first position player from Dawgs Academy in Okotoks to make it to the big leagues. The Mexico City native tore apart minor league pitching after being drafted by the Reds in 2015, earning a spot with the big club for 14 games in 2021, where he hit .261. But the 5'10", 170-pound infielder isn’t content with that. He wants more and is working towards that goal every day. Lopez took some time out of his busy schedule to sit down for a candid conversation with us, to talk about his baseball journey, coming to Alberta and his hopes and dreams.