Rose will be home away from home

League MVP staying with Guards despite addition of teams from his native Mount Pearl

Published on May 13, 2007
Jon Rose of the Guards won the 2006 Molson St. Johns Baseball League most valuable player award in large part because of his batting, but hes also a more than reliable pitcher, having registered 43 strikeouts from the mound last season, second-most in the league. Photo by Bradley Bouzane/The Telegram

Jon Rose calls Mount Pearl home, but the ace pitcher and slugger will return home only for away games this season in the St. Johns Senior Baseball League.

Rose, 25, who registered an offensive triple crown last season with the Guards, has no intention of leaving the team in favour of one of the two Mount Pearl entries joining the league this summer.

Ill be getting a few comments, Im sure, about loyalty because Im from Mount Pearl, but I made my decision a few years ago and Ive got nothing against those guys (in Mount Pearl), said Rose, who registered a .478 batting average (32-for-67), four home runs and 27 RBIs last season. Ive still got a lot of friends over there (on the teams) and I had good times with Mount Pearl, but (Guards) is where I am now, and thats where Ill stay.

Weve got some great junior players coming up. We had success last year and we want to do better this year and Ive got a lot of friends with the Guards now.

In addition to his offensive prowess last year with the Guards, who reached the finals despite finishing in the basement of the league, Rose also recorded three of Guards six regular-season wins as a pitcher, finishing the year with a 3.61 ERA and 43 strikeouts - good for second place in the league.

More than anyone else, Rose knows itll be tough to repeat that kind of productivity, but he said hes ready for the challenge.

It should be a better league this year with six teams and Ive been working hard and trying to prepare myself to repeat last years performance, he said, adding hes spent a lot of time running and working out at the gym. Its not going to be easy, but Ill see what I can do.

Theres no pressure for me. Im going to take the same approach as last year look to hit strikes and have a good eye for the plate and take my hacks with no pressure. Im just looking forward to getting back out there.

Rose is planning on getting on the field to start shaping up his throwing arm within the next week to get ready for the new campaign, which he knows will be even tougher than last year with playoff restrictions coming into play with an expanded league.

The regular season means a lot more now because only four teams make it to the playoffs, he said. Every game will mean something, whereas last year, every team made it, but we finished last. We happened to make it to the finals, but this year well have to work harder because those Mount Pearl teams will be ready to play.

Rose said there was talk in baseball circles last season about him playing for a Mount Pearl team, but he said he hadnt been contacted personally by either of the teams about joining, but regardless, hes made up his mind.

Promise and potential

Having been with the Guards since 2004 and watching the program develop, Rose is excited about the potential the team has this time around with a deep junior roster and impressive senior talent, such as 2006 rookie of the year Nick Leswick, Jason English and player/coach Rob Rose (Jons brother) returning for another year.

Rose, who hopes the first few months of St. Johns senior action will have him in prime shape for the senior nationals in Quebec City Aug. 7-13, isnt expecting anything different when he plays on the road in Mount Pearl.

Nerves arent a factor for him, but if theres any ribbing, he feels it will be good natured.

Ill be relaxed (when I play in Mount Pearl) like I am every game, said the 62, 245 pound. Rose, who hopes to get into law enforcement. Therell be no butterflies because I play these guys in interleague, so Im not worried. If anything, Im sure itd be a bit of fun anyway. Bloomin good Jon Rose Birthdate: Sept. 29, 1981 Height: 62 Weight: 245 lbs. Born: St. Johns Hometown: Mount Pearl Team: Guards Position: Pitcher 2006 SJSBL awards Regular season MVP Top batter Most home runs (tied) Most RBIs