July 9, 2014
The Blue Jays’ outfield and baserunning duties are in good hands with roving instructor Tim Raines. The retired outfielder and four-time National League Stolen Base Champion brings his knowledge to the Blue Jays organization and helps players sharpen their skills – specifically in the areas of base running and defensive outfielding.
“I really enjoy being around the players,” explained Raines. “It’s great working with them and to be a small part of their lives. I enjoy all the players in the organization. It’s great helping them; it’s my small way of giving back to baseball all that it has given me in my life. Hopefully all the teaching and encouragement will help them become major league players one day as well.”
Bringing more than just coaching to all the Blue Jays affiliate clubs, Raines prides himself on his experience in the game and willingness to be a role model for the younger players trying to reach the major leagues.
“I’m always there to answer player’s questions,” said Raines.“It’s not like I’m a guy who never played the game. I have over 30 years’ experience between playing and coaching. There isn’t a lot they can ask me that I don’t have an answer to.”
Enjoying every opportunity to mentor the Lugnuts, Raines feels Lansing has a great atmosphere and amazing facilities for a low-A baseball team. “This is a low-A club and the players here never complain about anything. The fans in Lansing are great – especially on Thirsty Thursdays,” Raines said, smiling. “The players compete hard every outing. It’s a great atmosphere for baseball.”
Playing a game with my son was the number one moment of my career
Another aspect Raines enjoys is Lansing’s coaching staff which features two familiar faces from his playing days. “I love hanging out with these guys. John Tamargo is awesome. I played the game against Vince Horsman and Ken Huckaby. It’s a great situation because you know them as players and coaches. I look forward to coming here every time.”
Having spent a lot of time in Canada during his 13 seasons with the Montreal Expos starting in 1979, Raines discusses how baseball has progressed in Canada in the last 35 years.
“Baseball has come a long ways since I began my career with the Expos,” explained Raines. “You’re seeing MVP’s coming out of Canada. When I first started there was Fergie Jenkins, a hall of famer, and a couple other guys from Canada. There’s a lot of talent in their junior baseball program. A lot of Canadians get drafted every year and you’re seeing major league all-stars from Canada all the time. It’s great to see.”
With a long list of accolades in the game of baseball, which includes being a seven time all-star and a three time World Series Champion, the moment that sticks out the most to Raines was playing a game with his son, Tim Jr., with the Baltimore Orioles in 2001.
“Playing a game with my son was the number one moment of my career,” Raines recalls. “It was the most exciting and unexpected moment of my career. It was the biggest joy I could have as both a player and a father. It’s something I never imagined would happen. The Griffeys are the only other father-and-son combo to play in a MLB game together. That moment was very special.”
Spreading his love of the game to all the players in the organization, Raines hopes mentoring will produce a lot of future talent for the Blue Jays.
“Baseball is my life,” said Raines. “I have been involved in the game as a player and a coach every year since I was drafted at 17. I hope all the players that I’ve coached can take the information I gave them and use it towards their career in some way.
“I love baseball.”