Saturday, March 8, 2014

Yesterday's Cubs vs. Rockies game and today was Cubs 1st Day of FULL Minor League Spring Training

The last two days In Cubs Spring Training have really been fun and great learning experience. Yesterday, I took the 100 yard walk from minor league camp to the beautiful new “Wrigleyville West” Spring Training MLB ballpark that seats 15,000 people to see the Cubs vs. Rockies game. My former player at UNC-Chapel Hill, Walt Weiss, is in his second year as the manager of the Rockies. Walt was Rookie of the Year in the American League in 1989 and played for Oakland, the Marlins, Atlanta, and Colorado in his career. I was trying to wait near the dugout to visit with Walt before the game. But, there were three giddy elderly ladies who were perched in the corner trying to yell at every player, coach, and eventually Walt, to get an autograph, that I was going to have to maneuver around. Finally, I kind of yelled over them to a coach in the dugout and the coach looked up and it was Blake Doyle who I have known for 30 years. Blake ask the ladies to let me thru, and as they did one lady ask well who are you, and I just said an old friend of Coach Doyle and Mr. Weiss. Blake and I talked for a few minutes then Walt came into the dugout and we had a great visit. While we were visiting one of the ladies stuck a baseball card in Walt’s face. He was so polite to say “if you will give me a minute I will be happy to sign for you.” His patience and courtesy was incredible. As I was leaving the dugout I bumped into Dan O’Dowd, his wife & youngest son. Dan is the long time GM of the Rockies and a man I have great respect and admiration. Chris, his oldest  is in the Rockies organization as a catcher and attended Dartmouth College.  I stayed at the game until I saw Chris catch the last couple of innings and hit one time. I was so thrilled to see Chris, who was on my roster in Cotuit in the Cape league but had a shoulder injury and did not play, play in an MLB game. Chris is such a hard worker and has really progressed as a player. Later that day I found out Mike Yastrezmski (Vanderbilt) and Deven Marrero (Arizona State), both played for me on the 2010 Cotuit Kettleers Championship Team, had played against each other in a Spring Training game in Florida. Deven for the Red Sox and Mike for the Orioles. I just really enjoy seeing these wonderful young men begin to reach some of their childhood dreams and goals in their baseball career.      Spring Training is one of the most wonderful baseball experiences I have had in my 40+ years teaching/coaching. The coaches have been great to learn from and collaborate with; the athletes are hungry to improve their base running and base stealing skills; and the Cubs leadership team has been so receptive to teaching new techniques. To close today’s blog, my peers found out I have to leave practice twice a week in the late morning to teach my class for Asbury University in “Communication in Sports” via Adobe Connect. Now, my new nickname is “Professor!” Kind of funny for an ole’ baseball coach to be called “Professor!”

No comments:

Post a Comment