Reading into the 'Rivalry'

Longtime provincial senior baseball competition between St. John's Capitals and Corner Brook Barons the subject of a book by Dan Reardon

Published on May 19, 2017

In this Aug. 5, 2012 file photo, Corner Brook Barons catcher Darren Colbourne looks on as Cory Ewart collects a hit during the opening game of the provincial senior baseball final at St. Pat's Ball Park in St. John’s. The longtime competition between the senior Barons and Capitals is the subject of a new book by former St. John’s pitcher Dan Reardon.

©Telegram file photo/Joe Gibbons

Dan Reardon believes there is no greater rivalry in Newfoundland and Labrador sports than the one that exists between senior baseball’s St. John’s Capitals and Corner Brook Barons, so much so that he felt it was worth writing about.

The Capitals have battled the Barons for baseball supremacy in the province for over 65 years and Reardon experienced it all himself as an ace pitcher for the Capitals, beginning with his first start against the Barons at Jubilee Field in 1971.

He’s excited about sharing stories of the intense coast-to coast showdowns in his new book.

“I think it’s the most continuous and most heated rivalry in provincial sports,” said the 65-year-old Reardon, who feels his best days during his 15-year-playing career on the diamond were the ones he spent trying to beat the Barons.

He knows there are many others who feel the same.

“I wanted those guys who played to be able to open up a book on years past and look back at those memories,” said Reardon, who talked to players and former players from both the Capitals and Barons when researching the book and found that “intensity” was the word that popped up most frequently.

Veteran player and coach Darren Colbourne, who read the book, has a history with the Barons going back to 1974 when he was the mascot for a Corner Brook team coached by his father Don.

Colbourne said he was impressed with how Reardon was able to provide a colourful, detailed look at the history involving the two teams and especially enjoyed reading about how former Barons and Caps look upon the rivalry in hindsight.

He believes Reardon painted a good picture of how the two teams thrived on beating each other all the while showing a great deal of mutual respect.

 “We hated each other,” said Darren. “You loved to beat them and you hated to lose them, but sometimes you’d have to tip your hat to them and say ‘They had the better team’ or ‘They got a break’ or ‘We got a break.’

“He recounts all that stuff and it’s pretty cool.”