Friday, December 19, 2008

One more video clip

Here is one more clip that I was able to get together. This is probably not one of my finer moments on the sideline. I honestly have no idea why I did it. I guess I was just pissed we let them score right before the half.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Video by request

I was asked to put this clip up on the web so here it is. This is during the 2001 SFA game. Obviously at the time I thought this was a horrible call and reacted accordingly. Looking back on it I think the ref made the right call.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Greatest Pitcher You'll Ever See

It was kind of sad the other day seeing Greg Maddux hang up his spikes for good. For so long Maddux was a big part of the Braves and one of the best pitchers to ever lace them up.

I always think back to the Sports Illustrated cover from 1995 saying Maddux was "the greatest pitcher you'll ever see." Being a Braves fan I got to see a lot of him, just about every fifth day.

Unlike some of the top pitchers in the past, Maddux didn't have the overpowering fast ball he could resort to if the other stuff wasn't working. Maddux wouldn't blow the ball past any one. Instead he had to out think the opposing hitters. More often than not, that is exactly what he did.

For that reason, he never had the huge strikeout numbers that some people use to judge a pitcher's career. He didn't have a no-hitter in his career either like some of the top throwers in baseball did. But he was about as efficient as a pitcher who ever took the hill.

Maddux went one season nearly having fewer walks than wins in the season, finishing the 1997 campaign with 19 wins and 20 walks. Two years earlier he put together one of the best single seasons for a pitcher going 19-2 with an ERA of 1.63 and an astonishing WHIP of 0.81. In fact, even with some down years at the end of has career, he still finished with a career WHIP of 1.14. Only Johan Santana has a better career WHIP (1.10) among active players.

His years with Atlanta were clearly his best, although he did win a Cy Young with Chicago. In 10 years he went 194-88 and twice had an ERA under 2.

I don't know how many times I saw Maddux pitch in person, but there is one game I remember specifically. It was two days after I graduated high school. Maddux went seven innings against the Astros without giving up a hit. Jeff Bagwell was leading off the 8th and I looked at my friend and said if he can get past Bagwell he has a good chance to throw the no-no. Bagwell then took him deep. Maddux then retired the next six hitters for a one-hitter. It is the closest he ever got.

Maddux will be a first-ballot Hall of Famer and that will be a speech I don't plan on missing. I figure I have seen more than 200 major league baseball games and have watched guys like Randy Johnson, Nolan Ryan, Dwight Godden, Roger Clemens, Kevin Brown, Andy Pettitte, John Smoltz and Tom Glavine toe the rubber and I still can't argue with SI, Maddux is the greatest pitcher I will ever see.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Don't give up ... Don't ever give up

It has been more than 15 years since Jim Valvano delivered his "Don't give up" speech at the ESPY's and to a crowd at NC State and it still gets me to this day.

ESPN can be accused of over hyping a lot of things. Every week on the network has some sort of corny tag like "Rivalry Week" or "Showdown Week" or the build up to the "Collision in the Coliseum."

Most of the time it is just some petty attempt to hype something that either A) doesn't need hype to begin with, or B) isn't really that big of a deal, but ESPN is trying to convince everyone it it. Usually it is the latter.

But with "Jimmy V Week," they have flat out nailed it. The cause aside, Jimmy V Week is such a special week because we get to relive the speech Jim Valvano gave on the podium at the ESPY's in 1993. I don't think I got choked up the first time I saw the speech, because I was a sophomore in high school and you just didn't do that.

But at the time, I had not had anyone in my life fight cancer. As a 31-year-old with a family, it is much different. I can relate more to what Jimmy V was saying on that night as his gestures and nods to his family really hits home.

Every year during the Jimmy V Classic I try to catch the speech between games. If I am not home I try to record it. By the time it is done, I always have a massive knot in my throat and usually a little moisture in the eyes.

I was talking to a group of students a few weeks ago, and I was amazed they have never seen the speech before. I have to remember they weren't born yet when Jimmy V was running around the court in 1983 after winning the national championship. When he was giving his speech in 1993 they were about eight years old and more concerned about a lot of other things on TV than some old coach wearing a tux and speaking to a group of people they had never heard of.

I told them all to google his speech and watch it. I don't know if any of them ever did. So if you are reading this, I have found a link to the speech and you now have no excuse for not watching it.

My brother knows how much I liked Jimmy V even before he passed away, and especially how much I have grown to like him in the years since. For my birthday he ordered a DVD of the ESPY speech from the V Foundation and with the DVD came a blue wrist band with "Don't give up ... Don't ever give up" written on it.

No matter what the situation, where I am or what the dress code is, I don't take that band off. In fact since I have had it, I have worn it more than my wedding band. Without really even thinking about it, not a week goes by I don't stop and look at it and think about the words written on it.

In Jimmy V's speech he has another part I think of quite a bit and repeat to other people at times:

"When people say to me how do you get through life or each day, it's the
same thing. To me, there are three things we all should do every day. We should
do this every day of our lives. Number one is laugh. You should laugh every day.
Number two is think. You should spend some time in thought. Number three is, you should have your emotions moved to tears, could be happiness or joy. But think
about it. If you laugh, you think, and you cry, that's a full day. That's a heck
of a day. You do that seven days a week, you're going to have something

Not a day goes by that I don't laugh and at least spend some time in thought. I probably don't cry enough for Jimmy V's liking, but I guess that is what his video is for. It is amazing how often at the end of the night that I have had a really bad day that I think back and realize I just blew through the day and didn't spend time doing any of the things Jimmy V talked about doing every day.

This turned into being much longer than I was anticipating it being. I really just wanted to get a link of the speech up. Now I am not really sure how I want to close it, so I guess I do it the same way Jimmy V did.

"I thank you and God bless you all."