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Bay’s Tale of the Whale

Here’s a little baseball/hockey cross-promotional nugget given the fact that I cover both Boston baseball and hockey in my little sports journalism world. Any time there’s a Canadian on the Red Sox [1] roster, any idle conversation I have with them usually turns to pucks at some point — and Sox left fielder Jason Bay [2] is no different. Bay is a native of Trail, British Columbia and I naturally assumed, before talking to him about the game on the frozen sheet, that he was likely a big Canucks fan and that maybe he was a charter member of the Cam Neely [3] Fan Club. Natural for a guy from B.C., ne-c’est, pas?

While Bay admitted his dad, David, was a Big Boston Bruins [4] fan going back to the days of Bobby Orr [5] and that fascination continued through the days of Neely and Ray Bourque [6], Jason proudly trumpeted the Hartford Whalers as his favorite team. That’s right: the Whale. Former Whalers forward Ray Ferraro is also a native of Trail, a fishing town of about 8,000 people, and all the kids in the town grew up idolizing Ferraro and therefore followed the travails of the Whale. Bay was 12 years-old when Ferraro finally shed the Green, Blue and White Whalers sweater in a trade for New York Islanders [7] D-man Doug Crossman midway through the 1990-91 season after six plus seasons proudly donning the Whale-Tail.

“Trail is a pretty small place and Ray was having some of his big years with Hartford when I was growing up, so just about everybody in my hometown was a Whalers fan,” said Bay, who is also lifelong friends with Edmonton Oilers [8] center Shawn Horcoff. “What is that song they play at the games…Brass Bonanza? Yeah, I got a kick out of that the first time I heard them playing it at Fenway Park [9].”

Bay never made it cross-country to the Hartford Civic Center for a game before the Whale morphed into a Hurricane, but he is hoping to get to a Bruins game at some point this season before returning home to Canada for the off-season. So if you happen to see a random Ray Ferraro Whalers sweater at a B’s game this winter, look a little more closely to see if it’s British Columbia’s best baseball player.