CHEK Upside: Toronto Blue Jays announcer has powerful conversation with Victoria couple

CHEK Upside: Toronto Blue Jays announcer has powerful conversation with Victoria couple

It was just over a month ago when long-time Blue Jays announcer Jamie Campbell started reaching out to Canadian baseball fans who wanted to chat during the COVID-19 lockdown.

“I’m pretty sure I’m up to about one thousand calls to this point,” Campbell told CHEK News.

With no baseball to report on, Campbell’s daily calls became one of his favourite pandemic pastimes.

And on Friday, from his home in Toronto, Campbell dialled Victoria couple Wendy and Ralph Burghardt. The conversation began with baseball, specifically Ralph and Wendy’s trip in 2019 to San Francisco where they witnessed Vladimir Guerrero Jr.’s breakout performance.

“In San Francisco the day Vlade hit two home runs, we were there!” Ralph told Campbell.

After a few minutes of small talk, the conversation goes a little deeper.

“So how long you been a Blue Jays fans?,” asks Campbell.

“Well, my son Jordan got me watching ball,” said Wendy.

Jordan Marklund loved baseball since he was a little boy. He moved to Toronto in his early 20s for work and school and became a devotes Jays fan. He quickly recruited his mother Wendy and stepdad Ralph to join the Jays bandwagon.

“He always loved ball and when he moved to Toronto, we started going to games and then when I’d go visit him that’d become our thing,” said Wendy.

Tragically, Jordan died four years ago at 31 -years-old after an accident in his home. To this day, every game Wendy and Ralph attend takes on a special meaning.

“It’s funny actually, two of the games we went to we actually had empty seats beside us, so we actually thought he was beside us,” said Ralph.

The phone conversation between the Burghardts and Campbell went on for nearly twenty minutes, most of it spent talking about Jordan.

“He and I would’ve gotten along very well,” Campbell told Wendy and Ralph.

They touched on several details about Jordan’s, mentioning, in particular, the story of Jordan’s backpack.

“Yeah it’s been all over the world,” said Ralph.

In honour of Jordan, friends and family travel with and pass along Jordan’s old backpack – it even has its own Facebook page. Upon hearing that story, Campbell had an idea.

“Well, maybe next time you come to Toronto to see the Blue Jays, pack some stuff in the backpack and we’ll show it off on Blue Jays Central,” said Campbell, referring to his nation-wide Blue Jays television show.

Wendy and Ralph accepted the invitation in unison.

As both parties hung up the phone, emotions were raw on both ends of the line.

“I feel honoured that Wendy and Ralph would invite me into their world for fifteen minutes and share their memories of Jordan with me,” said Campbell.

“You can feel his passion and his caring, yeah, you get emotional for sure,” said Ralph and Wendy.

With Mother’s Day this Sunday, it’s a phone call that gives Wendy reason to smile, as Jordan’s legacy lives on.

Kevin CharachKevin Charach

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