THE GREATEST GAME OF ALL

Brent Saik is best known to readers of this website for staging multiple editions of the World’s Longest Hockey Game out on his Sherwood Park acreage to raise funds in the battle against cancer. The five games he’s organized and participated in have made the Guinness Book of World Records and generated almost $4 million so far.

What you might not know about Saik is that his first love isn’t hockey. It’s baseball. Saik, who is the team optometrist for the Edmonton Oilers and the Eskimos, was a good enough prospect as a youth that he earned a baseball scholarship to a U.S. school. Saik is also in the process of building his own Field of Dreams – with the same dimensions of Yankee Stadium, no less – to go with the rink he already has out on his property, Saiker’s Acres.

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What Saik is doing now, starting with opening ceremonies Friday at 11 a.m. at Edmonton Ballpark (formerly Telus Field), is taking his love of baseball to take yet another swing at the disease that has touched his life so personally – just as it has virtually everyone, be it a family member or friend, who will read this item.

In the spirit of his frozen-toed efforts on the rink that have already done so much good in the ongoing battle against cancer, Saik and 55 other players will stage the World’s Longest Baseball Game, starting at 11 a.m. Friday and running through closing ceremonies at about 1 p.m. Monday. It’s an attempt to break the existing world record of 70 hours and nine minutes with a fund-raising goal of $250,000 for the Alberta Cancer Foundation.

If you want to get a feel for what the game is all about, you can watch an interview Saik did with Global TV here or listen to an interview he did with Jason Gregor on TSN 1260 here

PLAYING FOR KEEPS

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When Saik came down to On The Rocks to talk to Gregor about the event a couple months back, I was so stoked about the idea I volunteered to play. Who wouldn’t want to help with a cause like this? Cancer took my mom at age 48 and my dad last September, so I had all the motivation I needed. I was all-in – perhaps a little too much so before reality kicked in.

After some sober second thought, and some words of wisdom from Gregor, who mentioned that my five knee surgeries and advancing age might not be the best combination for successfully completing the event and raising the needed funds, I decided to help another way. I’ll be cracking open a scorebook for the first time since my days covering the Edmonton Trappers ended in 1996 for a four-hour shift on Sunday. I can’t wait.

Unfortunately, I’m sure all you have the same motivation I do. We’ve lost too many loved ones – husbands and wives, moms and dads, sisters and brothers, aunts, uncles and friends — to this awful disease. Maybe you’ve walked or cycled or golfed or pitched in behind the scenes to help raise funds in the past. Maybe you’ve made the trip out to Saiker’s Acres to take in the World’s Longest Hockey Game and cheer on the participants and maybe donate a little money.

You can do the same thing starting Friday at Edmonton Ballpark. If you want to find out who and what’s needed to make this around-the-clock baseball game the same success the hockey version has become, you can check out the website for the game here. There are no ticket prices to get into the ballpark — organizers are asking for a donation as admission. Parking is available.

I promise you, if you take the time to attend, be it during the day, late at night or leading up to closing ceremonies on Monday, you’ll never forget it. Cheer the players on. Donate generously if you are able, but come down to witness what’s happening here. This is the Greatest Game of All, and it’s a game we damn sure have to win. For our loved ones and our lost ones, we’re all in it together.

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— Organizers still need to fill some umpiring shifts and still have score keeping and grounds keeping spots open. If you can help, please call 780-417-3003 or visit the website.

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.

RECENTLY BY ROBIN BROWNLEE  

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