May 29, 2010

Roy Halladay is Perfect!

I was sitting at the ballpark tonight (Road Ranger Stadium in sleepy Rockford, IL...mere minutes from the The Hall's home office), when news of Roy Halladay's perfect game came over the PA.

"So what's your angle going to be?" I was immediately asked.

I knew I needed one, but initially, I wasn't sure as there are quite a few to choose from.

Do you choose the "this is the first time since 1880 that there have been two perfect games in a season" angle?

Nah...probably going to be covered to death.

Maybe it's the old "this is the third perfect game in ten months" whopper. I mean, that's never happened and when you add in no-hitters...five in a span of a year is pretty amazing.

Perhaps I could go all introspective and recall how I was at a ballgame in 1995 when I got the news Mickey Mantle died or how, 14 years later...I was at the ballpark when I heard Michael Jackson had passed.

That combined with tonight's news and you've got the makings of a pretty good "where were you when" piece don't you think?

Then it hit me...why have an angle at all? You know, the old "the angle is 'no angle'" angle...not too shabby when you consider that Halladay's gem is bound to be the most publicized perfect game in the history of baseball and any medium.

I mean, here you have a guy who, last year at this time, was the lead story every night on SportsCenter because the Toronto Blue Jays might, I repeat, MIGHT consider trading him. Now, with the Philadelphia Phillies, "Doc" is pitching in the fifth largest media market, with a team that has reached the World Series in consecutive seasons.

So, I ask, why write about Halladay's accomplishments at all...won't it be covered to death in a multitude of facets and from different angles?

Yes, it will.


So without further ado, here are some of my favorites from the blogs I frequent often and the bloggers I respect the most.

The Tao of Stieb:
On Roy Halladay and Starting Pitching

Joe Posnanski:
Halladay! Celebrate!

The 700 Level: Roy Halladay is Perfect

Fishstripes: Fish Wrap

Hum and Chuck: To Me, You've Always Been Perfect

The Fightins: PERFECTION!


Of course...here's what Sports Illustrated, MLB.com and ESPN had to say.

And in case you were wondering (you weren't), my favorite tweet of the night came from my frenemy DashTreyhorn:

Roy Halladay, you named my firstborn son tonight.


Given the interwebs are full of Halladay posts tonight, I could go on and on and on, but I won't. Frankly, who really wants to read another "this was baseball's 20th perfect game in its history" or "this was baseball's sixth 1-0 perfect game" or, my personal favorite, the "there have been only been two perfect games pitched on a Saturday...Halladay's and the first one ever thrown back in 1880".

I know I don't.

I only wish that Navin Vanwani (shown above deep within the belly of the beast
) was at his desk in Toronto banging away his love/hate for Halladay the Phillie, but I understand...a brother has to travel the country, hitting all 30 Major League ballparks when he can.

And in case anyone was curious what I will remember most about my trip to the ballpark tonight...it WON'T be Halladay's no-no. No, it'll be the fact that minutes after I dropped six bucks on a souvenir ball for my son at the gift shop in the seventh...he got a foul ball.


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May 28, 2010

Friday 5: Kip Gross

This past March, third generation Major Leaguer and former All-Star Bret Boone took over as the manager of the Victoria Seals.

Last night, a mere five games into the new season...he resigned.

Taking the reigns as interim field general is former big league reliever Kip Gross. A member of that 1990 Cincinnati Reds World Championship ballclub, Gross comes out of the pen for this week’s “Friday 5”.

HOVG: Who was your biggest influence and why?

GROSS: George Brett, he was kind of my idol growing up. Played hard as anyone and could rake.

HOVG: What is your most memorable travel experience?

GROSS: Flying to Japan with the Dodgers in 93. Seemed like a lifetime getting there.

HOVG: What is your favorite baseball term or saying?

GROSS: High Chopper. I say it every time I see a helicopter.

HOVG: What is your best experience or greatest accomplishment?

GROSS: Baseball wise it would have to be receiving a World Series ring in 1990 even though I didn't play in the series.

HOVG: When did you know that you “made it”?

GROSS: I've never considered saying that term, too much to accomplish.

Between 1990 and 2000, Kip Gross suited up for four Major League teams. He is best known for his prolific career in the Japanese Pacific League. The native of Scottsbluff, Nebraska led both the Nippon Ham Fighters and the JPL in wins from 1995-1996, before hanging up his spikes in 2000.


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May 25, 2010

"Flat" Stan Musial Needs Your Help!

In what can only be described as a stroke of genius by the St. Louis Cardinals Media Relations Department, the team has launched a nationwide campaign to get Stan Musial the highest honor in the land...the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Enter
"Flat Stan the Man".

In order to gain some attention for the baseball legend, Hall of Famer and all around good guy, St. Louis Post-Dispatch cartoonist Dan Martin has designed a Flat Stanley-like image of the iconic slugger (
you can download that sucker HERE) and the Cardinals are looking for your help.

Here is their plan:

Show your support for the St. Louis Cardinals effort to convince President Obama to award Stan Musial the Presidential Medal of Freedom by taking part in our Flat Stan the Man Project, in cooperation with Dale Hubert's Flat Stanley Project.


Simply print and cut out your own Flat Stan the Man, take your photo with it, then post it on
cardinals.com/stan.


According to a recent story in the Post Dispatch, the ballclub has already taken "dozens and dozens" of pictures of celebrities and athletes (included the one with Albert Pujols above) with "Flat Stan the Man".

The team is also planning to incorporate Twitter and Facebook to fuel the grassroots movement for Musial.

Should this all work, Musial won't be the first baseball player to be bestowed with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Since 1977, seven others (Hank Aaron, Roberto Clemente, Joe DiMaggio, Buck O'Neil, Frank Robinson, Jackie Robinson and Ted Williams) have received the highest honor in the land. And since 1992, there have been 185 overall Medals handed out.

So far, President Obama has awarded 16 of them...so really, what's one more?

Let's get it going gang...spend a couple minutes and take a stand for Stan. If you can't get up and out there with your "Flat Stan the Man", you can sign the petition that the Cardinals already have in place or go one step further and write President Obama yourself.

I know I did.

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Twitter Tuesday: "RIP Lima Time"

This past weekend, the baseball world was rocked by the sudden passing of one of the most colorful characters to take the field over the last two decades...former pitcher Jose Lima.

For his career, the energetic Lima was a sub-par 89-102 and carried a 5.26 ERA, but it is apparent that to his former teammates across the Majors (he played 13 seasons with the Detroit Tigers, Houston Astros, Kansas City Royals, Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Mets), he meant much, much more.

Here are some of their tweeted comments.

@DougBrocail (Doug Brocail): Jose Lima was a great man and a great husband, he will be missed. RIP.

@CJNitkowski (C.J. Nitkowski): Such sad news on the passing of one of my all time favorite teammates Jose Lima. Will write about him soon, an incredible guy. (Read Nitkowski's tribute to Lima HERE)

@hanrahan4457 (Joel Hanrahan): RIP Lima Time! What a fun guy to be around, especially on the golf course, very talented person gone too soon! RIP

@BrentMayne (Brent Mayne): Adios Jose Lima...you were a good man and a great teammate. (Read Mayne's tribute to Lima HERE
)

@Maholm288 (Paul Maholm): Prayers go out to the entire Lima family. RIP Lima time.

Chris Baldwin wrote over at CultureMap.com that Lima was "arguably the most loved mediocre pitcher ever"...and perhaps he's right. I know I can't remember more flowery write ups and tributes for a guy with his stat line.

RIP Lima Time

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May 23, 2010

Buy. This. Book.

In my continuing efforts to shill for Batting Stance Guy, I present to you the latest promotional video for his book.

Find, if you can, Elvis, Spiderman, Derek Jeter, Batman, Kobe Elmo, Rickey Henderson, Freddy Krueger and Nomar Garciaparra.

Then...go buy Gar's book Batting Stance Guy: A Love Letter to Baseball wherever you buy books.


***This past February, I had the chance to catch up with "Batting Stance Guy" and put his thoughts to paper, er, the internet. Check out the interview HERE.***

May 21, 2010

Friday 5: Chris Widger

Last last night (early this morning?), former big league catcher Chris Widger posted the following on his Facebook page:

for the record...i hate the fact facebook lets everyone know when your birthday is!!! supposed to come and go quietly so i can act like it never happened! lol Thank you to everyone for the birthday wishes...i appreciate it!

I wasn’t going to go with Widger for this week’s “Friday 5” originally, but that sealed the deal.

Happy 39th, Chris!

HOVG: Who was your biggest influence and why?

WIDGER: My biggest influence was my first catching coach Marc “Booter” Hill. He taught me that no matter what my first priority was to take care of the pitcher and do whatever it took to get the most out of him on that particular day.

HOVG: What is your most memorable travel experience?

WIDGER: My most memorable travel experience was when a certain player in Seattle had a few too many drinks on the plane. He almost got knocked out by another player and then locked himself in the bathroom and wouldn’t come out. (Manager) Lou Pinella had to come back and get him out!

HOVG: What is your favorite baseball term or saying?

WIDGER: I don’t really have one. But if I have to answer..."there is no crying in baseball"

HOVG: What is your best experience or greatest accomplishment?

WIDGER: My greatest experience was being a part of the 2005 World Champion White Sox.

HOVG: When did you know that you “made it”?

WIDGER: I knew I made it right after my first at bat against Mark Langston. I lined out to Garrett Anderson in left center field and remember sitting on the bench amazed I just got a big league at bat!

Chris Widger played for seven teams in his Major League career. In 2005, he was part of the 2005 World Champion Chicago White Sox. In three plate appearances, he managed to eek out two walks and an RBI.


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May 17, 2010

Matt's Mailbag: May 17, 2010

Dan asks: Hey Matt, we fans don't hear much about what players do while on the DL. Can you give us some insight on what you do to rehab and why in Arizona?

Matt answers: Hi Dan, thanks for your questions. Over the past few weeks I have been putting up videos on my hand progress and what type of things I've been doing, but I've never really explained where or when I do it. To help you understand a bit more about the rehab schedule and why I do it here in Arizona and not in San Diego, or Portland, I will go a bit more in depth about the entire rehab process.

First off, we have a minor league and major league rehabilitation coordinator that is in charge of helping any injured player get back to good health as fast and efficiently as possible. Our major league rehab coordinator is stationed in San Diego, so any player that is with the big league team that gets hurt will stay in San Diego and work with him. Any player that is in the minor leagues is sent to Peoria, Arizona, to our spring training complex where our minor league rehab coordinator is located.

My surgery was almost three weeks ago and I had my cast removed about four days ago. Now that my cast is removed I meet every morning with our rehab coordinator at around 9:30 AM to begin the rehabilitation process. Recovery time for a broken hamate bone is typically 6-8 weeks, but can sometimes run up to 10 weeks. This is a rough estimate of how my rehab program will go, but things can quickly change depending on how good or bad the hand is healing.

The first two weeks were spent in a cast. The next two weeks (weeks 2-4) will be spent regaining mobility and strength in my hand. As you can probably guess, my hand was extremely stiff when they removed the cast, so we have to spend a lot of time stretching and going through different range of motion exercises to regain that motion. At the same time we start strengthening exercises. The exercises are really simple due to the lack of strength my hand has right now. As the days pass we add more and more weight to my exercises until the strength returns to its normal state.

The following two weeks (weeks 4-6) I am allowed to hold a bat in my hands again, if the doctor clears me to do so. I have a meeting with my doctor on May 24 to decide if the hand is healing properly. These two weeks will be spent getting used to hitting again. I will work on slowly building back strength in my hand. The first day or so will be spent taking dry swings, which is just swinging a bat without hitting a ball. If that feels good the next few days will be spent hitting of a tee, followed by hitting soft toss, and then on to batting practice. It is probably a few days of each until we finally get to batting practice. If the hand continues to feel good I will be allowed to face live hitting, which is our pitchers throwing game like speed pitches to me.

The final two weeks (weeks 6-8) if I have passed all of the tests and still feel good I should be allowed to start playing in rehab games here in the Arizona Rookie Ball League. After a few weeks of games if I am still feeling good I should be ready to ship out to Portland and begin my season.

This is the game plan for the next month and a half. Hopefully I did OK explaining the rehab process, and hopefully it will all go to plan and I will be back playing in games again soon.

Below is a picture of my hand I took today. If you think it looks gross, it feels even worse to the touch. I know it looks like I drew on myself, but the long line is where they cut my hand to open it up and the holes are from the stitches.

Matt Antonelli is a second baseman in the San Diego Padres farm system. Do you have a question for Matt? Drop him an email at mattantonelli9@gmail.com or here in the comments section!

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May 16, 2010

Baseball Road Trip of a Lifetime: Philadelphia, Chicago and Minnesota

In the last couple of years, I've been to six different ballparks. In the last week or so, good friend of The Hall Navin Vaswani has been to three of them. The fourth, Target Field, wasn't on my short list of places to go until I saw it.
Hrbek's!

According to a story I found online (thanks Google!), Hrbek's will offer a "Rex Burger," a half-pound burger with fried onions filled with pepper jack cheese honoring his nickname.

"My favorite are the walleye fingers," said former Twin Kent Hrbek, an avid outdoorsman. "There are a lot of walleyes swimming around the lakes in Minnesota without any fingers."

Take THAT Philly cheese steaks and Chicago-style hot dogs!

Something tells me the folks at Target Field didn't name a bathroom after Hall of Famer Kirby Puckett. What? Too soon?!?

Take a gander at the last four places hit on the Baseball Roadtrip of a Lifetime:
You can follow Navin's exploits on Twitter at @eyebleaf or visit his piece of the interwebs over at Sports and the City. As a sidenote, you can also check out all the pictures he's been taking along the way. Just click HERE, look at my favorite picture so far...then check out the rest.


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May 14, 2010

Batting Stance Guy: All-Fu Manchu Lineup

You know the drill by now. A few months back, I was tasked with something by my friend Gar (aka "Batting Stance Guy")...to help him come up with as many facial-hair-laden baseball players as we could.

This week took Batting Stance Guy on a whirlwind adventure. Tuesday, he was all over ESPN, Wednesday was the MLB Network and Thursday saw him back on the left coast signing books.
All the while, however, Ryness was grounded enough to still bang the internet and treat us with what made him famous...his stances.

Now, firmly entrenched in Mustache May, YouTube wunderkind (and now author...you can check out his book Batting Stance Guy: A Love Letter to Baseball over at Amazon.com) is bringing his love for the lip sweater to you! Monday, he debuted the First Team All-Mustache Lineup, Tuesday it was the All-Beard Lineup. Wednesday it was the the Second Team All-Mustache Lineup.


Naturally...the Fu Manchu was the last on the list.




***This past February, I had the chance to catch up with "Batting Stance Guy" and put his thoughts to paper, er, the internet. Check out the interview HERE.***


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Friday 5: Gary Carter

Last week, I had the honor of "Talkin' Baseball" with Hall of Fame catcher Gary Carter. This week, naturally, he knocks out the “Friday 5”.

HOVG: Who was your biggest influence and why?

CARTER: Probably my brother and my Dad. My brother is four years older and I always wanted to be like him but wanted to be better.

HOVG: What is your most memorable travel experience?

CARTER: Probably to the White House after we won the 1986 World Series or maybe my first All-Star game in Milwaukee. The excitement and anticipation was overwhelming.

HOVG: What is your favorite baseball term or saying?

CARTER: He couldn’t hit water if he fell out of a boat.

HOVG: What is your best experience or greatest accomplishment?

CARTER: Winning the World Series and being inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame

HOVG: When did you know that you “made it”?

CARTER: Playing winter baseball for Caguas in Puerto Rico, we won the Caribe World Series and we won in 1973-1974. I was the MVP of the Series and hit well against big league pitchers.

Gary Carter recently completed his first season as the head coach of the Palm Beach Atlantic University Men’s Baseball team. Under his leadership, the Sailfish finished the year 17-24…up from 10-36 in 2009.


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May 12, 2010

Batting Stance Guy: Second Team All-Mustache Lineup

A few months back, I was tasked with something by my friend Gar (aka "Batting Stance Guy")...to help him come up with as many facial-hair-laden baseball players as we could.

And in case you were wondering what era had the best upper lip adornment, this video ends that thought process. Clearly, based on this compilation, it is the early 80s...the Golden Age of baseball mustaches.

Now, firmly entrenched in Mustache May, YouTube wunderkind (and now author...you can check out his book Batting Stance Guy: A Love Letter to Baseball over at Amazon.com) is bringing his love for the lip sweater to you! Monday, he debuted the First Team All-Mustache Lineup, Tuesday it was the All-Beard Lineup. Today...it's the Second Team All-Mustache Lineup.





***This past February, I had the chance to catch up with "Batting Stance Guy" and put his thoughts to paper, er, the internet. Check out the interview HERE.***


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May 11, 2010

Batting Stance Guy: All-Beard Lineup

A few months back, I was tasked with something by my friend Gar (aka "Batting Stance Guy")...to help him come up with as many facial-hair-laden baseball players as we could.

And while beards do seem to be making a slight comeback (see
Jason Werth), the iconic stances of the bearded are not are prevalent.

Yet.

Now, firmly entrenched in
Mustache May, YouTube wunderkind (and now author...you can check out his book Batting Stance Guy: A Love Letter to Baseball over at Amazon.com) is bringing his love for the lip sweater to you! Yesterday, he debuted the First Team All-Mustache Lineup. Today...he's tackling the beard.



***This past February, I had the chance to catch up with "Batting Stance Guy" and put his thoughts to paper, er, the internet. Check out the interview HERE.***


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Twitter Tuesday: Batting Stance Guy

It's rare that a guy with a WiffleBall bat becomes a YouTube sensation. It's even more rare when that guy ends up chatting it up on national television with David Letterman, featured in ballparks everywhere and writing a book!

The good thing about following Gar "Batting Stance Guy" Ryness is that he'll let you know when he's updated his repertoire AND ask for your insight on who he should tackle next.

TWITTER HANDLE: @BattingStanceG

SAMPLE TWEETS:


DallasBraden perfect thru 8! This crowd here at LongBeach Airport for massively delayed JetBlue flight is not going crazy.

Starlin Castro debuted last night w/ 6 RBI's. Born=1990!?! My Gerardo "Rico Suave" cassette single is older.

When Twitter posts began w/ describing a right handed pitcher as RHP, for a split second I think that player is dead.

Kids, trust me: pick up a Wiffle bat, go in your backyard, the NYTimes will follow. http://bit.ly/9fD2dd


The YouTube wunderkind's book Batting Stance Guy: A Love Letter to Baseball is available over at Amazon.com or wherever you buy your books.


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May 10, 2010

Batting Stance Guy: First Team All-Mustache Lineup

A few months back, I was tasked with something by my friend Gar (aka "Batting Stance Guy")...to help him come up with as many facial-hair-laden baseball players as we could.

After a few minutes swapping emails and IMs, we had compiled quite a list. Tom Brookens, Rod Beck...the 1982 Milwaukee Brewers!

Now, firmly entrenched in Mustache May, YouTube wunderkind (and now author...you can check out his book Batting Stance Guy: A Love Letter to Baseball over
at Amazon.com) Gar Ryness is here to bring you his First Team All-Mustache Lineup.



***This past February, I had the chance to catch up with "Batting Stance Guy" and put his thoughts to paper, er, the internet. Check out the interview HERE.***


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May 9, 2010

Dallas Braden Had a Good Sunday

I'm going to tell you right off the bat...I was busy this weekend. Two birthdays, Mother's Day and a trip out of town had me stretched pretty thin.

So, when I got home tonight and saw that there was a perfect game thrown...my already tired emotions ran the gamut.

I was upset that I missed the constant score updates via my Twitter feed. No where in my hectic day was there an opportunity to see what was scrolling across the bottom line courtesy of the World Wide Leader.

But when I saw WHO threw the gem...I was elated.

Dallas Braden.

Are you kidding me? The same kid who, a couple of weeks ago, shouted down Yankees star Alex Rodriguez is now etched in the history books alongside 18 others as one of the few to throw a perfect game?


And then it hit me, every time the Michael Rappaport looklalike succeeds (and frankly, folks...how can he be better than he was Sunday), he'll be linked to A-Rod. That's right, a guy can go up and shut down literally everyone he faces and STILL be overshadowed.

I could go on and on about what Braden accomplished, but when guys like Joe Posnanski are out there banging away gems like
THIS...there is nothing, and I mean NOTHING anyone else can say.

Way to go Dallas! Somewhere Houston Jimenez, Steve Phoenix and Chicago Cheatham are smiling proudly.


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May 7, 2010

Talkin' Baseball with Gary Carter

At 15-13 on May 7, this is the latest in a season that the Washington Nationals have been above .500 since their inaugural season in 2005 when they were 17-13 on the same date.

By comparison, the Nationals didn't win their 15th game last season until June 2...and by that point, they were already 15-36 and 15.5 games back.

And since I’m calling them the “Washington Nationals”, I’m also reminded of the bitter pill that is Montreal, Canada without baseball.

Throughout my youth and early adulthood, there were always two teams in Canada…the one with a goofy logo on their cap and the Blue Jays. Of the two, I rooted more for the team with the goofy logo on their cap than the one that called Toronto home.

The Montreal Expos had limited success in their 36 years, reaching the playoffs only once back in 1981. But it was that very team that brought us some of the National League’s finest players of the ‘80s…Gary Carter, Tim Raines, Andre Dawson and Jeff Reardon.

So, instead of the normal Friday feature (spoiler alert…you’ll get Carter’s “Friday 5” next week), here’s me and “The Kid” talkin’ some baseball.

HOVG: Certain events in our lives shape the way we go about our business every day. What effect did your Mom’s passing when you were eight years old have on your childhood, playing career…and life in general?

CARTER: The loss of my Mom was a huge impact on my life as we were a very loving family that went to church regularly. I didn’t understand why a loving God would take someone away as dear as her. It helped me to understand how fragile life is. I asked Christ into my life in 1973 at age 19.

HOVG: You spent 12 of your 19 seasons as an Expo…what would it have meant to the city of Montreal for you, Tim Raines and Andre Dawson to have brought a World Series championship to Canada?

CARTER: It would have meant the world, maybe to the extent the team may not have ever moved. They are the city of Champions.

HOVG: Personally, what did going back to Montreal in 1992 and retiring an Expo mean to you?

CARTER: It meant a lot because that is where it all started. And now that “The Hawk” (Andre Dawson) is in the Hall of Fame, it’s nice to share the honor with him.

HOVG: You made it into the Hall of Fame on your sixth try…did Dawson ever call you for advice on how to handle the pressures of “will I make it in” or “won’t I”?

CARTER: No. I just kept encouraging him.

HOVG: This July, you’ll be on that stage in Cooperstown when “The Hawk” finally makes his way to Cooperstown. How long until Raines gets his call?

CARTER: It may be a long time or maybe never. He has good numbers but that is a tough call.

HOVG: You’ve had the privilege of playing under some of the game’s great managers…Dick Williams during your first couple of years in Montreal, Tommy Lasorda with the Dodgers and, of course, Davey Johnson while with the Mets. What are your thoughts on each?

CARTER: I enjoyed playing for each manager but of those three. Davey Johnson was the most fun. Dick Williams gave me the opportunity to play regularly and I was an extra player when I played for Tommy Lasorda.

HOVG: Williams and Lasorda are, obviously, Hall of Famers. This past winter, Davey Johnson fell well short of Cooperstown in what was his second appearance on the Veterans Committee ballot…does he belong in the Hall of Fame?

CARTER: I believe he does as he was successful at every place he managed

HOVG: In recent years, we’ve seen you go from the diamond to the broadcast booth to, now, coaching. What influence did some of your previous managers have on you?

CARTER: I have taken a little something from each manager I played for and have tried to develop my own style.

HOVG: You’ve managed in the minors and now coached collegiately…is a job in the Majors in your future?

CARTER: Probably at this point, no, unless some great opportunity came along.


Gary Carter recently completed his first season as the head coach of the Palm Beach Atlantic University Men’s Baseball team. Under his leadership, the Sailfish finished the year 17-24…up from 10-36 in 2009.

Carter is regarded as one of the greatest catchers of his generation and has a laundry of awards to show for it. With eleven All-Star Game appearances (ten straight at one point), three Gold Gloves, a World Series ring and a plaque in Cooperstown…he’s accomplished about as much as anyone could ever want while in the Majors.

Carter’s charitable foundation is trying to do its part to get the tools for learning into the hands of disadvantaged youth so they, too, can accomplish everything they want. You can visit The Gary Carter Foundation online
HERE.


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May 4, 2010

Ernie Harwell Signs Off

92 year-old Ernie Harwell succumbed to bile duct cancer Tuesday at his home in Novi, Michigan with his wife Lulu by his side. Now, I apologize for not being a little more creative with my lead, but a lot is going to be written about the passing of Harwell and, frankly, it should.

You're going to read headlines about "the voice of the Tigers" being "silenced" or as I put it in my headline..."signing off".

You see, Harwell was a lot of things to a lot of different people. He was a broadcaster, a Hall of Famer...a legend. He did, as one writer I stumbled upon tonight "painted pictures for the fans".

But also, he was, apparently, a "good guy".

No, seriously...my Grandfather told me that once and he didn't come to that conclusion via Facebook, Twitter or even by watching old Tigers broadcasts.

He went fishing with the man.

Probably 15 years ago, my Grandfather had a chance to go fishing with Harwell through a friend of his from church...former Major Leaguer Andy McGaffigan.


Shortly after I got a letter in the mail.

It simply said: "Went fishing with Ernie Harwell. Good guy. Grandpa"

I immediately called him and grilled him about his meeting with the legendary broadcaster.


I asked him up and down about what they talked about...hoping that the stories I would have wanted to hear were shared to my Grandfather that day in McGaffigan's boat.

I was told they talked fishing and church...that was it.

It does make sense though, considering that the last thing I want to talk about when I am out spending a relaxing weekend with friends is work. But still...you have to wonder about the stories that could have been told.

A lot is going to be said about Harwell now that he's gone, but regardless of how many tributes are aired on TV and radio or pop up in print or on the internet...I'll know him simply as a "good guy".

My Grandfather said so.



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