Arnold coach heads to World Baseball qualifier

A high school baseball coach is about to take the trip of a lifetime.
Published: Sep. 29, 2022 at 7:08 PM CDT
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Arnold baseball coach Chris Jones was asked to be an assistant for Team Pakistan in the World Baseball Classic, by one of his former players, Patrick Anderson, who’s now a coach in the Cardinals organization. Anderson is also the head coach for the Pakistani squad as they head to Panama City, Panama to play in a six-team qualifier starting Friday.

Coach Jones telling me once he got the invitation from Anderson, and then got his wife on board with the idea, he was all-in!

“I enjoy baseball, I like going to different places and it just seemed like a great opportunity.” said Jones, “I mean the World Baseball Classic! I set my sights pretty high sometimes but that’s not some thing that was even on my bucket list. My bucket list isn’t ambitious enough to think that one day I could coach in some part of the world in the World Baseball Classic. So the opportunity itself was something that was very hard to turn down. And once I convinced my wife to let me go, here I go.”

Coach Jones admits he knows very little about Pakistani culture, but he does know this is an opportunity to help foster a budding love for the game halfway across the world! Jones

“In terms of baseball they are still, you know a little bit in the beginners stage. But they are trying to make a name for themselves in this tournament, for example if they can win a game or two they are going to try and get more funding for baseball. And they’re trying to kind of put baseball on the map in that country. And {PAK} it’s a country that doesn’t have a baseball field anywhere in the entire country! So they are looking to make as much of a splash as they can.”

Jones says there’s not a single baseball field in the entire country. So he knows it’s a start up operation he’s heading to. His expenses are being taken care of, but he’s not otherwise being paid for this, he’s doing it for the love of the game!

“Sometimes things we take for granted because we live here in sort of a, I don’t know about a Mecca of baseball, but certainly there is baseball everywhere and fields everywhere. So the things we take for granted, it’s nice to see you know the bright eyes and the big eyes when they get to see really nice fields. And they make nice plays. So sometimes it brings you back a little bit and it humbles you a little bit. And it’s a lot of fun to try and make an impact there. If we can make some sort of positive impact, no matter what the results are, I think that’s why we’re going. And that’s going to be the fun of it.”

The coach set to join the team in time for their first game against Argentina Friday night at 7 central time. He’s expecting to be in Panama for up to a week.