Thunder Bay

Eric Vasquez named Border Cats field manager

The Thunder Bay Border Cats have named their new field manager.

Recruiting underway for 2019 season

Eric Vasquez has been named the new field manager of the Thunder Bay Border Cats. (Thunder Bay Border Cats/Supplied)

The Thunder Bay Border Cats have named their new field manager.

Eric Vasquez has officially taken over the team's reigns, and recruiting is well underway for the 2019 season.

"I'm super excited about it," Vasquez told CBC News. "It's just going to be a fun time."

Vasquez brings a wealth of baseball experience to the role. He's coached at a number of colleges, including San Francisco State University, California State University, Jacksonville University, Utah Valley University and the University of Arkansas. 

He's also a Northwoods League veteran, having managed the Willmar Stingers during the 2017 season. That squad finished with a 41-31 record that year, and earned a spot in the playoffs.

"I took a summer off because I was recruiting for the school I was coaching at," Vasquez said. "I wanted to get back to the Northwoods, because it was such a fun atmosphere."

"I enjoy the competitiveness. Everybody talks about the 72 games in 75 days — to me, it's a competition, you know? Let's run the race and see who's standing at the end."

That's not the only draw for Vasquez, however.

"It's building relationships with all the other teams, all the other coaches," he said. "And then obviously the city you're in, the community that you're involved in."

"And just getting involved with the youth groups there, all the fans."

Recruiting underway

Vasquez said recruiting is well underway, with several players already signing on for the 2019 season.

"I want good character kids," he said. "I'm going to get good, talented players, but at the same time they're going to be good character kids, so it's going to be a fun atmosphere."

"We're going to make a run at it."

Recruiting is a bit more difficult than usual this year, however. The Border Cats were recently taken over by a Thunder Bay-based ownership group, after the team's previous owners were issued a termination notice by the league due to unpaid bills.

It took some time for the new owners to raise the necessary funds, and while everything is set for the Cats return to Thunder Bay in the summer of 2019, the uncertainty meant the process of putting together a team started a bit later than other years.

"You call some of these coaches, and they go 'oh, we've already placed our kids,'" Vasquez said. "But, you know, there's 301 Division One schools, and that's a lot. And let alone all the division twos, division three, and then junior college."

"There's good kids out there, talent-wise, that are still going to come to us."