July 17th, 2024

Sportsnet’s Jamie Campbell enjoys trip to Athletic Park, WCBL experience

By JAMES TUBB on July 11, 2024.

PHOTO COURTESY COLTON MCKEE/MEDICINE HAT MAVERICKS Jamie Campbell of Sportsnet's Blue Jays Central throws out the ceremonial first pitch ahead of the Medicine Hat Mavericks' 8-5 win Tuesday at Athletic Park over the Swift Current 57's.


Jamie Campbell had an easier time getting his second look at Athletic Park than he did his first.

The Blue Jays’ Central host on Sportsnet was in Medicine Hat in the spring of 2023 and swung by the Medicine Hat Mavericks stadium. The gates were locked and he wanted to get a peek inside. Campbell says he parked his car by the right field fence and jumped up on the fence to get a look.

A little over a year later, sitting in the bleachers Tuesday watching the Medicine Hat Mavericks beat the Swift Current 57’s 8-5, Campbell liked his new view better.

“There’s something unmistakably majestic about local baseball, whatever level it might be, could be Little League, could be the WCBL,” Campbell said. “But the backdrop alone (at Athletic Park) is spectacular. This is PNC Pittsburgh without the buildings and the Clemente bridge.

“I remember when I was here last year, I saw people walking along that (berm) path and I thought about how they get to look down on the ballpark. I’d be here most nights if I actually lived here.”

Campbell is on vacation from his job as the host of Sportsnet’s pre and post Blue Jays’ game television show and made the trip to Medicine Hat with his son Jack. He worked a deal with his bosses to work through April without break to backload some holiday time for the trip.

Athletic Park was the first of a few stops he has planned on a course of seeing WCBL action. Campbell was at Sylvan Lake on Wednesday and will be visiting Okotoks’ Seaman stadium this week as well.

He’s long followed the WCBL from Ontario, giving the league a shoutout on the Sportsnet airwaves during opening week. Campbell says he’s always had a passion for amateur baseball

“I’ve always known about the diamond here, the history here, the Mavericks and the evolution of them, I’ve always known about that,” Campbell said. “I take great enjoyment in my spare time out of going to local baseball games, I spent a lot of time in Ontario going to what’s called the Inter County league and there’s a there’s a genuine sort of homespun pleasure that’s indescribable.

“The only way to understand it is to show up every now and then.”

Mavs assistant coach Tory Nelson was happy to meet Campbell having watched him on Sportsnet for years.

“It’s cool to see guys like that, he’s not just a TV face, there’s more behind it,” Nelson said. “He cares more about the communities that are a part of it, rather than just a TV personality type. So it’s nice to see him here and us get a win.”

On top of seeing WCBL action and learning about the league he’s followed from afar, Campbell says he wanted to enjoy the trip with his son and make the most of life. A lesson learned since he began treatment in early 2022 for chronic lymphocytic leukaemia, a cancer of the bone marrow and blood that has no known cure.

Campbell says his medication is working well and he avoided having to undergo radiation treatment this summer. He says his leukaemia into reduction for five-to-six years where he’ll likely have to find a new method of treatment.

“I’ll find another treatment and then just learn to live with whatever side effects that treatment is going to embark on me, as long as it means I get to stay above ground,” Campbell said. “Truthfully the prognosis is for a long life, I’m just going to have to carry a treatment around for the rest of my time on this earth unless they find a cure, which I hope they do.”

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[…] about local baseball, whatever level it might be, could be Little League, could be the WCBL,” Campbell told reporters from the bleachers of Athletic Park, home of the Medicine Hat […]