Sports & Lifestyle

Fish bring title home

Goldeyes host championship party at Shaw Park

Photo: Jancy Ireland

Photo: Jancy Ireland

It was a party at Shaw Park in downtown Winnipeg on Sunday, as the Winnipeg Goldeyes showed off their championship trophy and banner to around 2,000 faithful Fish fans.

The Goldeyes won the American Association Championship Series with a three-game sweep over the Wichita Wingnuts ending on Sept. 17. The hometown hitters wanted to give their fans a chance to see the trophy, and also to let those same fans know how important they are to the team.

The celebration featured many of the 2012 Goldeyes running out onto the Shaw Park field holding the trophy and banner to deafening applause, with a number of speeches by some of the key people who make up the Winnipeg Goldeyes organization.

One of the biggest cheers of the night came when long time Winnipeg Goldeyes play-by-play announcer Paul Edmonds stepped up to the microphone. Edmonds was visibly emotional while speaking to the fans.

“As a Winnipegger I am so proud of this baseball team and this organization and this fan base,” Edmonds said.

Edmonds also spoke fondly of the work that Goldeyes field manager Rick Forney has done in his time with the Goldeyes.

“I’m really proud of the job that Rick did and thought that in his seven years, he has grown not only as a player recruiter, but as a game manager and as a people manager as well. He was the manager of the year last year. I think he should be again this year.”

Although Forney could not be at the celebration as he chose to return home to see his son play in a football game, he recorded a message to play for the fans.

“I want to thank you guys for all the support this season,” said Forney. “It was definitely a season I will never forget.”

Winnipeg Mayor and Goldeyes owner Sam Katz joked about the team’s first championship, which came in the Fish’s very first year of play.

“I remember when we formed the team, and I remember in the first season in ‘94 we won and I said-‘Yeah this is pretty easy. Let’s just keep on doing it.’ And now 18 years later, we finally did it again.”

Katz also acknowledged that the Goldeyes finally won another championship in a year where a lot of people thought they had no chance.

“We had some great, great teams and we were always favoured to win and somehow, something always happened along the way. Now for the first time that I can remember we went in as the underdog, playing the two best teams in the league and these guys did what they did against all the odds.”