When Andrew Case signed with the Toronto Blue Jays last weekend, the first call he made was to his mother and step-father in Saint John. The second call was to his dad in Fredericton.
“I picked up the phone and he said, ‘Dad I’m a Blue Jay,’” says Paul Vautour. “I started crying.”
Vautour attended the T-12 tournament in Toronto in late September where he watched Case play his favorite game in the Roger’s Centre. At the urging of Hall-of-Famer Roberto Alomar, the Jays signed the 20 year old after he fired a no-hitter.
“It was incredible, he was on the biggest stage in the world. I was extremely proud.”
Vautour says his son had amazing coordination from the time he was young. He bought Andrew his first Easton aluminum bat at the age of three. He never left home without it.
“He was able to hold the bat in his right hand and a ball in his left hand, toss the ball in the air and as the ball was coming down, grab the bat with both hands and hit that ball,” says Vautour. “He was able to do it with ease at four years old.”
Case always stood out when it came to ball. He was the only six-year-old on his eight and nine-year-old little league team.
“He hit three home runs that year…we knew he had something special.”
The father of four says his son is the type that can carry a team on his shoulders.
“He likes the glory, even if the failure is all his fault.”
Case’s sisters and step-mom were all in disbelief when they heard the news from Vautour.
The Oakland Athletics and Milwaukie Brewers were also interested in the right-handed pitcher.
But in the end, Case chose blue.
“As far back as I can remember, that’s all he wanted to be,” says Vautour.
Pete Dawson, a STU student who played ball with Case last summer, says his low-90s fastball is at major league speed. But Case’s arm isn’t his only asset.
“He’s hilarious. He’s as good as a person off the field as he is on it.”
Dawson says Case can easily fit in with any team.
“He can become the most popular guy in like a week. He’s one of those players that you love to have on your team, but you hate to play against.”
That’s because Case likes to chirp and is known for getting under people’s skin.
“He likes to yell ‘C’mon meat,’” says Dawson, laughing hard.
Twenty-year-old Matt Morton lived with Case for a year while attending school in Alberta to play baseball.
“We would hang out everyday and go to Oilers games. He’s the funniest guy on the team and is usually always in a good mood.”
Case lives in Alberta where he plays with the Prairie Baseball Academy and only visits his family in Fredericton a few times a year. He goes on vacations with the Vautours when he’s not busy with baseball.
“I guess you could say our relationship is close but distant,” says Vautour.
“When we are together, we tell each other we love each other. Andrew is very close with his family and friends.”
Vautour says that Andrew’s entire family is thrilled that he is finally getting to fulfill his dream.
“Someone coming from Canada is a lot bigger than someone coming from the States,” says Dawson. “No one around here goes to the major leagues.”
Case will start his journey to the major leagues this February where he will begin spring training and play rookie baseball for the Jays.
“He needs to work on strength and conditioning,” says Vautour. “If he does that, he could be a force to be reckoned with. He’s 6”2 and 190 pounds.”
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