The ads are showing up in sports sections, although maybe they should be in the “Help Wanted” columns.
“Could you make it in the Major Leagues?” say the bold-type notices appearing in several Southern newspapers this week.
They’re being placed by the Toronto Blue Jays, who, like every other team in the majors, are scrambling to find players to replace striking major leaguers.
The Blue Jays are holding a tryout camp for potential replacements Saturday at their spring training home in Dunedin, Fla. Toronto is trying to attract as many players as possible to the workout, and trying different ways to do it.
The team is putting the ads in newspapers in eight cities, including Atlanta and Knoxville, Tenn. On Monday, the advertisement appeared on page three of the sports sections of The News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C., and The Birmingham News in Alabama.
The Blue Jays are looking “to discover new baseball talent,” said the ads, both two columns wide and 5 inches deep. According to the News & Observer’s rates, that space costs $765.
Potential players must be between 19 and 25 years old and bring proof of age, along with their spikes, gloves and uniforms, it said. Players cannot be under contract to another professional team and cannot be in high school or junior college, or be from a four-year college and have eligibility remaining.
The advertisement lists the phone number of the team’s scouting department in Dunedin and is signed “The Toronto Blue Jays.”
“We’ve gotten quite a few phone calls already,” Blue Jays spokesman Howard Starkman said Monday.
On Tuesday, a woman answering the phone at the Blue Jays’ offices in Dunedin said the calls had continued late into the afternoon.
“We’ve gotten quite a few today,” she said. “The scouting department has gotten most of them. They’ve gone home already. Must’ve been all those phone calls.”
Starkman said although most of the one-time ads were being placed in newspapers around Florida and Georgia, some would run for a day in North Carolina.
“There are a lot of former players in that area, and we want to let as many of them know about this as possible,” he said.
The Blue Jays had scheduled a pair of tryouts for California last weekend, but they were postponed because of heavy rains. The Blue Jays advertised those camps in 10 newspapers in California.
Blue Jays scouting director Bob Engle will run Saturday’s camp in Dunedin at 9 a.m. EST.
Toronto plans to start spring training Feb. 18. But under provincial law, the Blue Jays cannot play games in Ontario using replacement players, and the team has not said what it plans to do about that problem.
The California Angels also have announced tryouts camps for this weekend in California.
MEMO: This is a siedbar that appeared with this story: Blue Jays’ ad Text of the Toronto Blue Jays’ newspaper ads seeking players for this season: “Could you make it in the Major Leagues? “The Toronto Blue Jays have scheduled a Try-Out Camp next weekend to discover new baseball talent. The try-outs will take place at 9 a.m. on Saturday, January 21, at Engelbert Complex, 1700 Solon Avenue in Dunedin, Florida. Players should furnish their own gloves, spikes, and uniform, and must meet the following criteria: 1. Proof of age between 19 and 25. 2. Not under contract or reserve to another professional baseball organization. 3. No high school or junior college players, or 4-year college players with eligibility remaining. For further information, call 813-734-5784. The Toronto Blue Jays”