July Fourth north

Austin M.
Austin M. Davis
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Four American baseball players celebrate away from home

Four American players on the Moose Jaw Miller Express are spending their first July Fourth outside of the States. (L to R) Garrett Brown, Hank Stewart, Hunter Johnson and Jason Renner celebrate with sparklers much, much smaller than the fireworks north of the border.

This is the first Fourth of July spent outside of America for four baseball players on the Moose Jaw Miller Express. They all understand that there will be a lot less fireworks in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada – a lot less.

For Jason Renner, a pitcher from Spokane, Washington, that fact inspires mixed feelings.

“I saw somebody run naked into a lake with fireworks in their hands. That was probably the wildest thing I’ve seen (on July Fourth),” Renner said. “It was two years ago at my lake. It was a guy. Fortunately he didn’t hurt himself but it was something that I don’t really want to see again.”

July Fourth is also Renner’s mom’s birthday, though he’d like to join her at the lake, being in Canada on Independence Day is an absolute way to avoid seeing a man running naked shooting fireworks.

This is infielder Hank Stewart’s first time outside of his home state of Georgia on July Fourth. He said there are enough Americans on the Miller Express to keep him from missing his hometown of Cartersville too much.

“It’ll be fun. Same as always. We’ll have a little celebration up here since there’s a bunch of us on the team,” Stewart said.

Though they don’t get to be in the States for July Fourth, they were in Canada for Canada Day.

“It was fun, for sure. But from what I hear, it’s a lot of camping, so that’s a little different. But it sure was enjoyable,” said pitcher Garrett Brown.

Brown, from Fresno, California, was even impressed by Moose Jaw’s fireworks display on Monday night.

“I was in town. From where my house is in Wakamow, I actually saw the fireworks here. It was a pretty good show,” Brown said.

As close as Hunter Johnson’s hometown of Bismarck, North Dakota is to the border, he said being in Canada definitely feels different.

“Probably won’t really hit me that it’s actually the Fourth of July,” Johnson said. “Probably won’t have that Fourth of July feeling.”

His family is at the lake fishing and jet skiing and he said that too much time on the bus on Monday kept him from experiencing Canada Day properly.

Johnson said that the festivities on Independence Day south of the border are more extravagant than Monday’s celebration.

“I don’t think it’s quite as big. Most of the towns like to do it pretty big and send the anniversary off with a bang,” Johnson said.

Austin M. Davis can be reached at 306-691-1258 or follow him on Twitter @theAustinX

Organizations: Moose Jaw Miller Express

Geographic location: Fresno, California, Canada, Moose Jaw America Saskatchewan Spokane, Washington Georgia Cartersville Wakamow Bismarck, North Dakota

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