Like most dads in the world, Stéphane Dionne says he doesn’t need anything, whether it’s Christmas, his birthday or… Father’s Day. No gifts, no special attention.
However, when the idea came to do a report on the relationship between this former independent baseball player and his son Jimmy on the occasion of Father’s Day, the father expressed the wish that the accent be first put on the young. Missed target, like a curve a little too low, outside.
“My father’s story inspires me a lot, it tells me that you should never give up,” says Jimmy, a 17-year-old young man from the Quebec region who is one of the brightest hopes currently in the Beautiful province.
Very early in the interview, the youngster was put in the picture to pay tribute to his old man: “Thank you dad! And Happy Father’s Day!”
follow his passion
Growing up, Jimmy will have heard many anecdotes from the past, such as that time Stéphane Dionne, then in his early twenties, took “his ham sandwiches and $300” to drive to Florida to attend camps. major league tryouts. Of course, Jimmy was not yet born, but he still learned a tremendous lesson in perseverance, a desire to do everything to follow his passion and pursue his dreams.
To summarize the career of the father, worthy of a film, the former receiver had found himself in Kissimmee, at the Houston Astros camp. He had also taken shots from pitcher Doug Drabek as he passed on the sidelines.
Not without hitting a few home runs during batting practice, the valiant Quebecer might not make the leap into the Astros organization, but it was enough for him to end up, one thing leading to another, with the club. Oklahama City University baseball. It was finally in 1997, at the age of 27, that the native of Rimouski achieved a dream, against all odds, by playing for the Blue Ox of Bangor, Maine, and the Saints of St. Paul, Minnesota, in independent leagues. With the contacts established, everything was going to contribute greatly to the arrival of the Capitals, in Quebec, in 1999.
“My father is the one who taught me to play baseball, but still today, he is always there to motivate me, sums up Jimmy Dionne, recalling in passing good memories where, after the matches of the Capitals, he had the chance to embark on the field while his father was now assistant coach with the formation of Quebec.
“In recent years, with the pandemic, he has ensured a good part of my development. He was there to throw me batting practices or to train me as a pitcher.
A promising future
Today, the young Dionne is a member of the Baseball Academy of Canada (ABC), which brings together part of the Quebec elite. He also had the opportunity to take part in the activities of the Canadian Junior Squad in the spring.
It’s hard to know what the future holds for Jimmy Dionne right now, but one thing is certain, he has someone close to him to inspire him.
“Me, my role is to offer him support, encouragement, I will always be behind him,” said Stéphane.
Already, it is a beautiful story between a father and his son. And for Jimmy, he has probably not finished talking about him. The next chapter is still to be written with, as a narrative frame, a great passion for baseball. Like her father’s.
Write your own story
At 17, Jimmy Dionne is already eligible for the next major baseball draft scheduled for July 17-19.
At 6’4″ and just under 215 lbs, Dionne has an interesting profile for recruiters who dare to project themselves into the future. A left-handed pitcher, the young man nevertheless continues to perfect his batting development.
“I don’t expect anything, I live in the present moment, indicates the young boy from the region of Quebec, in view of the repechage. Often, that’s when I perform.”
If he intends to take advantage of a series of tournaments in the United States with the Baseball Academy of Canada (ABC) to attract attention this summer, Dionne knows very well that his career could also pass through American colleges.
“My goal is to become the best player possible, obviously hoping to make it to major league baseball one day. It would be my biggest dream,” notes Dionne, who prefers to keep a down-to-earth spirit.
A great experience
Last April, the young Quebecer also had a great experience with the Canadian junior team. On the mound, he notably faced hopes of the Houston Astros organization as part of a tour of Florida.
“It was my best experience in life, he says about this stay with the national team. It will follow me all my life what I lived there.
Elliot Cadieux-Lanoue, Charles-Olivier Cyr, Joshua Jones, Deiten Lachance, Félix Morin and Jérémy Pilon are the other Quebecers to have defended the colors of the Canadian junior team so far in 2022. So many names to watch in years to come and, potentially, on the eve of the next draft.