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Former major leaguers visit Kentville for Acadia baseball fundraiser

KENTVILLE - Two retired major league players recently joined the lineup for a celebrity dinner in support of the Acadia Baseball Goodwill Tour to Cuba.

David Pilat, coach Chris Burns, chef Don Mailman, celebrity guests Matt Stairs and Jason Dickson, coach Mike Reid, coach Trevor Croteau and Acadia’s athletics director, Kevin Dickie gather for a photo during the celebrity dinner and auction fundraiser held in support of the Acadia Baseball Goodwill Tour to Cuba Nov. 21.

New Brunswick natives Matt Stairs, a former Montreal Expos and Toronto Blue Jays player, and Jason Dickson, who pitched for the Los Angeles Angels, signed on as guest speakers for the four-course fundraising dinner and auction event Acadia’s baseball club hosted at NSCC Kingstec the evening of Nov. 21.

Coach Mike Reid hopes the Acadia players found the speeches motivational.

“For these two from a small province like New Brunswick to be successful on an international stage in professional baseball, I think that shows the guys that…. it doesn’t matter where you’re from, it can be done,” he said.

The goodwill tour will give Acadia’s crew an opportunity to inspire young ball players in Cuba. The estimated cost of the group excursion slated for early 2016 is in the ballpark of $40,000.

“I think it’s going to humble them to be honest,” said Reid.

“You go down there and you see kids playing with sticks and rocks in bare feet.”

A longtime baseball fanatic, Reid is looking forward to seeing how the game is played elsewhere.

“Baseball has been such a huge part of my life. I’ve volunteered as a couch for the last 26 years.”

Canada-Cuba Goodwill Baseball Tour participants travel with equipment that will be donated to players in Cuba.

“If there’s a bunch of kids playing on the side of the road and they’re playing with nothing, we’re going to stop and give them something,” said Reid.

Dennis Woodworth, who organizes the annual goodwill tour, was also a guest speaker at the celebrity dinner along with Kevin Dickie, Acadia’s athletic director.

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