The chance to play in the major leagues or “The Show” is a dream few can mold into reality.
For one former Fort McMurray Giant, that dream is one step closer to fulfillment.
2017 Giant pitcher Alex Nolan signed his first professional contract with the Toronto Blue Jays earlier this week.
Making the announcement on Twitter, one of his first tweets was to the Giants organization thanking them for taking him on board.
For team owner and president, Dutche Iannetti, Nolan’s signing means so much to the Giants and Fort McMurray.
“When he was with us, he was a great teammate, worked exceptionally hard; he wanted it and he wanted to get to the next level.”
Born in Burlington, Ont., Nolan was a student-athlete at Brock University pitching for the Badgers in the Ontario University Athletics conference for four years.
During their offseason, Nolan asked to join the Giants in 2017.
Iannetti called him the second-best starting pitcher on the team that year behind local product, Tyler Hodder.
Nolan started eight games, pitched more than 44 innings, and also struck out 33 batters that summer.
Furthermore, Iannetti says he blossomed thanks to his off the field development and hard work.
“It’s what you do on your own to get better. He was throwing 86-88 [mph], goes down to Ontario, gets an opportunity there, and all of sudden he’s throwing 90 plus. From what I hear, he topped out at 93 mph.”
The 6’4″ Nolan used his newfound velocity back in northern Ontario attracting the attention of the Toronto Blue Jays.
He pitched in Thunder Bay, Ont., and then Kalamazoo, Michigan, in the Northwoods League before the Jays finally signed him after three solid outings this season.
“He has told us many times, even posted about it on the day of his signing that it was his opportunity with the Giants that really got the ball rolling for him,” said Iannetti, “and who knows what would have happened without it.”
Nolan is expected to report to the Class A Vancouver Canadians.
Your next chance to catch the Giants at Shell Place will be June 18th and 19th when they host the Edmonton Prospects.
You earned every bit of it!! We just gave you a stage to show your stuff!!
Congratulations From everyone at the Fort McMurray Giants and best of luck as you start your pro baseball career!!! #Alwaysagiant #YMM https://t.co/VoVj50beOw
— Fort McMurray Giants (@FMMGIANTS) June 12, 2019
With files from Taylor Pope