Baseball speaker series comes to Kingston

Four writers to appear at Mansion on Thursday for PITCH Talks

Brendan Kennedy, a Blue Jays beat writer, is one of the speakers at Kingston's initial Pitch Talks conference.
Brendan Kennedy, a Blue Jays beat writer, is one of the speakers at Kingston's initial Pitch Talks conference.
Supplied by Kevin Kennedy

If the Blue Jays 2015 playoff run taught us anything, it’s probably that Canada’s obsession with baseball is stronger than we think.

For any students who find themselves obsessing over box scores, PITCH Talks, a series of baseball talks led by prominent sports journalists, is holding a show in Kingston on Thursday evening. 

The event, taking place at The Mansion at 8 p.m., will feature Richard Griffin and Brendan Kennedy of the Toronto Star, Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun and Scott MacArthur from TSN.

For Kennedy, a Blue Jays beat writer, the event taps into a type of fandom that remains unique to the sport.  Kennedy is a Queen’s alumni and was the Journal Editor in Chief from 2006-07.

“Baseball has inspired the nerd-dom that other sports don’t,” Kennedy said. In the modern era of advanced statistics, an endless amount of information is available for both professional scouts and casual fans to debate. 

PITCH Talks was created by Kennedy’s brother Kevin, and was thought up as a type of TED talks where knowledge, insight and stories could be shared, but with a baseball touch. 

Vaulting the discipline of advanced baseball statistics into popular culture — as was seen with the film Moneyball and its original book — baseball geeks have more material to mull over than ever.

It also helps that there exists non-stop baseball information throughout all forms of media. Information is available the second a story a breaks, and fans can share their opinions on a variety of open-sourced websites.


“People chase the immediate scoop,” Kennedy said referring to readers' intercations online. “They don't always get the context, the explanation.” 

Kennedy noted how these new modes, like Twitter, can deliver news— it’s tough to give a full picture of stories from the baseball world in such a small number of words. This is where the events like PITCH Talks and reading his stories can come into play.

“Traditional beat writers are [still a big] part of the conversation,” he said.

PITCH Talks events take place many times throughout each year, with recent stops in London, Hamilton and New York. The tour makes a stop in Ottawa the night after its Kingston debut, before making a stop in Toronto next Tuesday. Tickets can be bought here

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