If you take a look at the Ryerson baseball team roster, you’ll notice many of the players are from Ontario – Toronto, Markham or Scarborough, for example – but this year, the team has a new player who’s neither from Ontario, nor from Canada.
Aidan Dolan made the trek over the southern border from the U.S. to start his first year at Ryerson this fall. Dolan hails from Buffalo Grove, Ill., a town just north of Chicago.
He joins Jeremias Sucre from Venezuela, and fellow American, Grant Weaver, from Maryland, as the only international players on Ryerson’s team.
Dolan entered his first year as a student in Ryerson’s English program. The young baseball player hasn’t found Toronto a major adjustment as a student, though it’s taking him some time to master his command of the Canadian English language.
The challenge is most felt in his written work where he’s thrown off by the spelling of words like colour, centre or clamour.
“I’d say the biggest adjustment is the difference in currency and some of the spelling,” Dolan said. “Certain words are different. When I’m writing, I have to do a couple drafts to make sure I’m spelling everything right according to how it is here.”
Other daily changes in his life include handling loonies and toonies.
“Our singles (dollars) are actually paper and yours are actually (coins) so it’s a little different.”
And while he’s obviously a baseball fan, specifically of the Chicago White Sox, being in Toronto has sparked some interest in the Blue Jays.
“I really like where they play,” he said. “The field in the Rogers Centre, it’s really cool. I actually really like (Josh) Donaldson, and a couple players they have.”
The Ryerson Rams baseball season started on Sept. 9 and runs through the provincial championships on Oct. 13 to 15. Overall, the team has five wins and seven losses so far this season.
Dolan has one home run, four runs batted in (RBI) and a batting average of 0.278 through seven games played.
“He has a very sound swing,” said the baseball team’s head coach, Ben Rich. “It is quiet, yet powerful, which is a rare combination. He also has a very good baseball IQ. It shows in his approach at the plate, and also the way in which he practices.”
Despite the rough start to the season, Dolan feels the team can be contenders.
“We are playing some better baseball and we can only go up from here,” he said. “I feel that we have lots of room to improve, not only in this season, but in upcoming seasons. I feel that we can definitely make a push in the playoffs and go far.”
Something else that’s new for Dolan this year is a position change. Although he was a pitcher in high school, he now plays first base for the Rams.
The change is significant for Dolan, who spent much of his high school practice time learning the different signs that catchers use to communicate with the pitcher. He’s now focusing squarely on first base and working on hitting each day.
“We always saw him as a position-player first,” Rich said. “But as he showed this past weekend (as a reliever against Wilfrid Laurier University), he is still capable of being effective on the mound.”
Dolan has a few Major League Baseball players he looks up to, especially those who hold themselves accountable for their actions.
“Derek Jeter’s a big one,” he said. “Just guys that really carry themselves well on and off the field. So Albert Pujols, Mike Trout’s one of them, guys like that.”
As for his own aspirations, he’s just focused on the present.
“If it takes me further, it takes me further. But, I’m content where I am right now. My goal was to play college baseball and I’m doing that now,” he said. “If it ends at Ryerson, that’s great too. I love playing here already so I hope it’s a great four years.”