Editor's note: This is the fourth of a four-part series
It’s not hard to see how Rob Park fell in love with baseball so quickly.
He was a relative latecomer to the sport, only signing up for play in the Corner Brook Minor Baseball Association at the age of 12 in the peewee division.
“It was just something I wanted to try,” he said.
With Frank Humber as his coach, a rookie Park was on a team that won the provincial championship and went on to compete at the nationals in Summerside, P.E.I.
“That kind of gave me a little bug for it, I guess,” said Park, who was never involved any organized team sports up until that point, instead preferring to downhill ski.
“It was a really great year, that first year.”
His memories of that foray into the sport include the teachings of Humber, who saw Park — a self-described big kid with a strong arm at the time — and promptly put him on the mound. Ironically, it’s how he wound up playing mainly as an outfielder ever since.
“I threw half a dozen balls off the side of the arm and he said, ‘OK, no, let’s stick you on third base,’” Park recalled. “I never had any hands, so after a few balls went through my legs, he stuck in me the outfield.”
The 36-year-old Park isn’t the prototypical competitor on the field, his easy-going personality not usually allowing for much of anything other than positive vibes.
“I like to have fun, that’s No. 1 for me,” he said. “Be serious when you have to, but make sure it’s a good experience for everybody.”
It’s that camaraderie and teamwork he places at the top of the list of reasons why he enjoys the game.
“There are individual aspects to it, when you’re at the plate or if you’re fielding the ball, it’s just you at that point,” he said. “But it really is a team sport.”
A member of the West Side Monarchs for 15 years, Park also suited up with the Corner Brook Barons numerous times, though he hasn’t worn that jersey since 2010.
His competitive edge still exists, and he admits it can be hard to ignore at certain times, but as he’s grown and moved through the various levels of baseball, his overall goals have changed.
He now finds himself as involved off the field as he is on, and is currently a member of the Corner Brook Minor Baseball Committee.
“I certainly still have a passion for it,” he said. “But now it’s a bit more on the organizational side, ensuring fair play and fun.”