Mayor of Guelph pays for Royals baseball team by “hustling” local courts
Cam Guthrie has been playing basketball since he was a child, honing his skills during high school and college.
“I’ve always played ball,” Guthrie said in an interview with The Contrarion. “I love it. Growing up I would play any chance I had.”
It was after college that Guthrie discovered he could make money by challenging players at outdoor courts, the YMCA, and local gymnasiums. Guthrie’s favourite location is the YMCA beside Highway Six in Guelph.
“It was really strange. I would ask to play with competitive-looking guys and they would all laugh at me,” Guthrie told The Contrarion. “At one point I said to myself, ‘Hey, maybe I can cash in on this.’”
Guthrie, who is five foot six with rectangular glasses and spiked gel hair, says he plays in his City of Guelph t-shirt tucked into a colourful bathing suit, which he calls his “good luck charm.” He also sports a Nike headband upside down for good measure.
“[The other players] act like I don’t belong on the court. So I say ‘want to play for 50 bucks?’” Guthrie said. “They’ll usually double — sometimes triple — down after I beat them.”
It has been 17 years since Guthrie started what he calls “hustling the G-spot.” He says he has made approximately $200,000 off local challengers alone.
It wasn’t until the Guelph Royals, a baseball team in the Southern Ontario Intercounty Baseball League, folded in the middle of their season last year that Guthrie decided to take his skills to Toronto.
“When the Royals folded, I knew I had to do something,” Guthrie said. “So I took my game to Toronto, and lo and behold, I was cleaning guys out.”
The financial boost, which Guthrie did not want to publicly disclose, allowed him to purchase the Royals team from its former owner, Jim Rooney.
Guthrie’s business partner in the deal, Shawn Fuller, who is the current president of Canadawide Sports, was shocked by Guthrie’s initiative and heralded him as the saviour of the team.
Fuller said he only gave $1,000 of his own money towards the purchase of the team. His main contribution has been his business acumen, whereas Guthrie is the primary investor.
“I just want to see baseball back in Guelph,” Guthrie said. “And if that means I need to break some guy’s ankles, you know, so what?”
The Royals will play their 100th season this spring at Hastings Field.
Photo by Alora Griffiths/The Ontarion