Matlow Returns to Baycats Organization in Different Role
BARRIE - In 2005, the Barrie Baycats won their first Dominico Cup.
That championship -- for the next nine years -- remained the most glorious moment in the history of the franchise until they finally won again against the London Majors in 2014.
What has happened since then has been well chronicled.
They are the five-time defending Intercounty Baseball League [IBL] champions, who -- with a championship win this season -- can tie the 2008 to 2013 Brantford Red Sox for the most consecutive championships in IBL history.
But there are still members of the Baycats organization who believe that the upstart, babyfaced Baycats upsetting the powerhouse Toronto Maple Leafs in the 2005 Dominico Cup Final is still, to this day, the greatest moment in the nineteen-year history of the Baycats.
Josh Matlow is one of those people.
An outfielder for the championship squad in 2005, Matlow has returned to the Baycats organization this season in a sales and marketing role.
He remembers the 2005 championship victory over the Maple Leafs like it was yesterday.
"When I was playing in 2005, I remember like it was yesterday," said Matlow. "I remember [Maple Leafs starting pitcher and former Toronto Blue Jay] Paul Spoljaric and [Baycats starting pitcher] Angus Roy facing off with each other [in game six].
"I was in left field and there were so many people in the stadium that they had to line the outfield fence in order to see the game.
"I haven't been back [with the Baycats] since 2009 and have been told [the stadium] does not fill up like that anymore, so to see a packed stadium, a championship again [this season], from the sidelines, this side of the fence, I think it would almost be a similar, very rewarding feeling.
"I can't tell you [what it would be like] until it happens. Hopefully, it will."
And that is why Matlow has returned to the Baycats organization.
Director of Operations at Seat Giant -- a ticket company where you can buy tickets to concerts and sporting events in Canadian funds -- Matlow has returned to the Baycats with the hopes of packing the park that he once played in.
He said his partnership with the Baycats came about in an unexpected way.
"David Mills [Baycats president] reached out to me to put together a bus trip for volunteers for a Jays game, knowing that we have Jays tickets up to seventy percent of the face value because let's face it, the box office isn't selling out, let's be honest," laughed Matlow.
"They can't unload the tickets at the box office, so they dump them on our site, and it became known to members of the Baycats organization to come to our site.
"So we were supposed to hook them up, but what happened was, we went for breakfast and I said 'listen, the Baycats are very dear and near to my heart, having played here for four seasons and winning a championship, the first championship,' so I said 'listen, I have a platform now to be able to help you guys kind of get with it. Get online and do some online ticket sales.'
"I feel like we were missing -- and I say 'we' because I feel like I am not only a part of the alumnus but a family -- a way to grow this brand, to be online and to have an online presence. To cater to social media for example, where people may have heard of the Baycats, but never had a reason to come out, and wouldn't come out unless they knew there were online tickets or that they were invited out."
For Matlow, he was a baseball player, and in school, he did not study sales.
He said finding SeatGiant simply came down to his love of sports.
"I was actually a teacher," said Matlow. "A physical education teacher.
"What happened was, I decided that I wanted to start a business when I got back from school, so what happened was, this actually came from a bus tour company that were taking 300 [Toronto] Raptors fans to Detroit.
"What I ended up figuring out though is there is a lot of things that could go wrong. The bus can break down, it can get stopped at the border and there could be traffic. So many factors.
"So what happened was a lot of people were saying 'I want to sit courtside, Detroit is really cheap,' so what we figured out is, we could send all these people to the game at almost the exact same price and we don't have to worry about a bus. So we eliminated the bus and got going with the tickets.
"So there was no previous experience, it just stemmed from having a passion for sports, and as a baseball fan, I want people to have an experience at Yankee Stadium and Fenway Park. All these great parks.
"It really took off because there was such a market to buy tickets in Canadian funds and local branding.
"That is kind of where we landed."
For Matlow though, he is just happy to be back with the Baycats.
"You got to remember, when you're playing, you're in the zone. You're on the field. You don't remember what happens behind the scenes.
"To be on this side of the fence this year has been so rewarding. To see how hard all these volunteers work and to see how much time they put in, how much you write and how much coverage you have for this team, it was always appreciated as a player, we would always say 'hello', and we would always give hugs, but you just don't realize how much time is put in by so many people.
"So it is pretty cool to be on this side of the fence, and if they can win a championship this season, I feel like I would have it on both ends."
You can now buy playoff tickets at seatgiantevents.ca, or at barriebaycats.com.
For more information, visit www.barriebaycats.com and follow the Baycats on Facebook and Twitter at @iblbaycats and on Instagram at @barriebaycats.
Photo: Brian Backland/Brian Backland Photography