Sports

Conliffe signs with the Padres

He is the fourth Bahamian to sign a professional baseball contract in the last three days

Almost a year to the day after inking their first-ever baseball player from The Bahamas, the San Diego Padres organization is back, and duplicated the feat last evening.

Kashon Conliffe, 16, became the second Bahamian to sign a contract with the Padres, and the fourth Bahamian to sign on the dotted line with any MLB organization in the last three days, joining the professional baseball ranks. In total, about three dozen Bahamian baseball players have signed professional contracts in the last six years – since the first group from this latest wave of baseball talent inked their deals in 2015.

Conliffe, a 5’8” 135-pound outfielder/right-handed pitcher, came up through the Freedom Farm Baseball League and MaxD Sports Academy. He signed his contract with the Padres, reportedly with a little less than a million dollars signing bonus, at the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium last evening. The National Sports Authority (NSA), in conjunction with MaxD Sports Academy and Padres International Scouting, hosted the event.

“I was always excited that this day would eventually come,” said young Conliffe last night. “I started playing from four and fell in love with the game from then. I always believed in myself. I feel great – this is a huge part of my dream and I’m glad that I was able to realize it. I’m just looking forward to the day when I make it to the big leagues and bring a championship to the organization.

“I’m really excited about the future and my baseball career. I want to encourage the younger players with a desire to play professional baseball to work hard toward achieving your goals and to never give up on your dreams. I am grateful to receive this opportunity to play professional baseball with the Padres. Through hard work, dedication and perseverance, that allowed me to overcome some obstacles and be here today. It was a rough journey.

“First, I would like to thank God for all of His blessings. I thank my grandparents for all of the love, support and guidance and to all of my family and friends for their support. It is because of that support system that I was able to pursue my dreams of becoming a professional baseball player. I would also like to thank Greg 

Burrows Sr., Coach Jeff Francis, Greg Burrows Jr. and MaxD Sports, Coach CJ McKenzie, Freedom Farm Baseball, and all of the coaches for the work that they do, and to all of my teammates over the years for all of your support and encouragement.”

MaxD Sports Academy President Greg Burrows Jr. said Conliffe is one of the better players he has had the opportunity to work with and he has no doubt he will advance to Major League Baseball (MLB) in the coming years. Both Burrows Jr. and Conliffe came up through the Freedom Farm Baseball League organization – Burrows Jr. as a coach and Conliffe as a player.

“Freedom Farm has been in my blood for a very long time and I want to take this time to recognize the various coaches for without their support, this wouldn’t be possible today,” said Burrows Jr. “If I had a son, I would imagine that our relationship would be like me and Kashon’s relationship – just calling him on a regular basis and seeing what he is up to at all times. On the professional side, he is one of the best athletes I have had the privilege of coaching. I can’t wait to see him blossom at the next level. He is going to be one of the country’s best kept secrets. He is going to make it to the majors one day and represent The Bahamas very well.”

Padres’ International Crosschecker and Scout Bill McLaughlin said they are very excited to have Conliffe on board. Conliffe is the second Bahamian they have signed in the last two years as he joins right-handed pitcher Evan Sweeting.

“You guys have done a great job with Kashon and have contributed to what he has become,” said McLaughlin. “We’re ecstatic to have added him to our organization. He’s a great athlete and we believe in him. It’s going to be a lot of hard work but we believe that he will do very well. We have a vision of great things for him, and hopefully he has the same vision so they could come true.”

Representing Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Mario Bowleg who is out of the country at Expo 2020 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Minister of Labour and Immigration Keith Bell admonished Conliffe to continue to work hard and to always put God first.

“In this day and time when we are losing so much of our young men, it is important to thank our parents for what they have done to keep our young men headed in the right direction,” said Bell. “My brother, my friend, you are now putting the Conliffe name on the map for professional baseball. I want to emphasize how important this moment is, not just for you, but to all of us as Bahamians. At the tender age of 16, you are doing something at an age when you are not able to attain a driver’s license, you are doing something at an age when you can’t go to the parliamentary department and vote, you are doing something at age when if you want to get married, you have to attain the consent of your parents. You are here today signing a very significant contract. We admire you, we appreciate you and we hope that you continue to be a stellar example for other young men in our country. I am honored to be here to say that we support you and may God continue to bless you.”

Conliffe is expected to be sent to the Arizona Complex League Padres – a Rookie-level affiliate of the Padres, competing in the Arizona Complex League of Minor League Baseball. They play their home games at Peoria Sports Complex in Peoria, Arizona, which is also the spring training home of the major-league Padres. Conliffe said he wants to go there and produce immediately, and advance to the big leagues in a few years.

“I want to thank the Padres for believing in me and accepting me into their family, for seeing the potential in me and for helping me become a professional baseball player. This is just the beginning of things to come,” said Conliffe. “I’m looking to go there to produce good stats and to be called up to the majors in a few years.”

Conliffe said he will continue to work hard to progress as a baseball player and will certainly make his family, friends, supporters, MaxD Sports Academy and the entire Bahamas proud.

The 2022 MLB International Signing Period continues until December 15, 2022.

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Sheldon Longley

Sheldon Longley joined The Nassau Guardian in January 2001 as a sports reporter. He was promoted to sports editor in 2008. Sheldon has an extensive background in sports reporting. He covered three Olympic Games and three world championships, along with multiple smaller regional and local games.

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