Lake Stevens alum Mitch Canham turns his passion for baseball into a service for others
Growing up, there were some nights when Mitch Canham didn’t even know where he’d be sleeping but that didn’t keep Canham from reaching for the stars and obtaining his goal to be a professional baseball player. He has also reached his goal of helping others achieve their dreams.
Canham started his baseball career right here in Lake Stevens where his dad, Mark, his brother Dustin and Mitch settled after he turned 13 years old.
Canham attended Lake Stevens High School where he competed on the Wrestling, football and baseball teams. He also graduated from LSHS in the top five of his class. He spent several hours a week volunteering at local elementary schools, working and taking part in the leadership class.
There he learned that treating others with compassion and care is an important life lesson. He also met his future wife Marlis.
“Having motivated, inspiring, and kind-hearted coaches and teachers like Roger Anderson, Brent Barnes, Mike Hodgins, Andy Knutson, Ken Collins, and so many more, pushed me to be the man I am today,” Canham said. “High school brought many strong friendships which taught me how to treat others and care for individuals.”
Canham left Lake Stevens to a college baseball career with the Oregon State Beavers where he went from playing outfield to catching. The Beavers went to the College World Series three of the four years Canham played for them and they won two National Championships.
He was drafted to the San Diego Padres in 2007 and is currently playing for the Long Island Ducks in the Atlantic League.
While he was in college, his mom Kimi, died of a drug overdose. Throughout his life she was a huge support to him and the loss was devastating.
Soon after Canham started his professional baseball career, his brother Dustin, was killed in a military incident. He credits both of them, along with his dad, with helping maintain a positive attitude and moving past life’s obstacles.
“Every obstacle has given me strength and knowledge in every instance. It’s always easy to see the negative, and even though it can be difficult, I find it much more fulfilling to find a positive in every situation,” he said. “When you start to see the bad things in life, you have a choice to step back and reflect, and fix the situation for the future. Life involves making adjustments and always pushing to move forward. Sometimes we get held back or tread water, but my obstacles have taught me to keep working until I start moving forward again.”
Canham has always tried to follow God’s path for him and giving back is something he feels very strongly about.
Soon after Dustin died, he and his dad started the Dustin Lee Canham Memorial Fund which is an annual scholarship awarded to High School students who are kind, intelligent and giving, just like his brother.
He also started a company call BASE by Pros where baseball players of any age, can download videos to the BASE by Pros website and receive feedback from professional players, trainers and coaches. The fee is minimal with a huge return on your small $49 investment.
“We chose to keep cost so low because it’s not about the money. We do not want money to ever be an issue why a young athlete can’t play baseball,” Canham explains. “The game has taught me so many valuable lessons and I feel like every kid should be on a level playing field as far as being given a chance to learn and play. I am doing my very best to put everything the Pros and myself know about baseball online for athletes and baseball enthusiasts to see.”
BASE stands for Building an Athletes Sports Education and this is exactly what Canham and his fellow pros are trying to do with this new website.
“Baseball is a beautiful game that revolves around failure, and failure is one of the best learning tools we have.” Canham said.
Putting this website of opportunity together has been a labor of love for Canham, his wife Marlis and his fellow pros. There are currently over 200 instructional videos for everything from pitching, hitting, speed and more.
It didn’t take a whole lot of arm-twisting to get pros to help out with the business.
“Athletes want to learn from the Professionals, so I am working on finding the right Pros to help teach the game. There are hundreds of intelligent, giving, and thoughtful Pros playing the game that want to give back just like me,” Canham said. “My idea is to bridge the gap between athletes wanting to learn the game and the Pros that know how to play. Having more professionals involved in this will make it more exciting for athletes to log on and be something that no one else in the world does.”
BASE by Pros is also trying to collect baseball equipment to donate to communities or kids who may not be able to afford it.
“We are also gathering equipment from all over the country, setting up donation boxes in minor league clubhouses, contacting large companies for donations, all so we can put equipment in the hands of those who can’t afford baseball equipment. ,” he said. “This is a great opportunity to not only learn the game, but learn from the right people. The Professionals.”
Success is hard work and Canham has spent his life doing all he can to ensure that he succeeds. He now wants to help others succeed as well.
“Always hearing about how people are proud of what I have accomplished puts a huge smile on my face. I am very proud of where I came from and the people that raised me. I look to make my family and friends proud as well, and do so by living each day with the pride to make a difference,” Canham said. “Success is something that must be earned. There is not always a paved path or a set distance you must travel to reach success, but there are tools you need to bring along for the ride such as patience, drive, respect, ethics, faith, and heart.”
The great thing is that Canham and his friend shave provided a place where kids can get the training they need to be successful in baseball. He continues to push himself to make it to the Majors and hopes that his new company will do the same for others.
“I have had several injuries in my career and they have set me back a bit, but I plan on chasing my dream with all my heart to play in the big leagues for a long time. My family supports me, I have the tools to push on, and someday I will make it! “
TO find out more about BASE by Pros and to see videos and more information visit www.basebypros.com.