Remembering The Negro Leagues


-David S.-

Sorry to have not posted in a little while.  I’ve been sooooooooo busy with the start of my high school freshman baseball preseason, strength and agility training, school, music lessons, and more.

In honor of Black History Month I found a great video I must share with you.  A very motivated teenager, named Cam Perron has been researching the  history of the Negro Leagues. This video is very interesting and inspiring as he has tracked down old ballplayers from the Negro Leagues and helped them receive some credit, notoriety, and in some cases, financial restitution that they deserved, but were denied.  Many of these players were sadly forgotten.  Learning more about the plight of these players has been eye opening.  We should all be grateful for the contributions made by these  brave athletes to the game of baseball.   It’s amazing to see them finally get some long overdue accolades! Enjoy!

#BrewersOnDeck And My Good Hair Day


-David S.-

One of my favorite days of the year came last Sunday, the Brewers fan festival, Brewers On Deck!    It’s the same feeling of waking up on Christmas morning as a five year old. That’s how excited I get for this.  It’s become a yearly tradition that I share with my dad.  This year was my favorite of all!

To help publicize, I made my own business cards!  I handed them out to every person I met.  I just became official….ohhhh yeaaa. Here’s one:

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Like the business cards? Craig Coshun, in the picture below did.  He was super friendly and so was former player, now announcer, Jerry Augustine.  I did not get a photo with Jerry, but he’s a regular guy, just like what he seems on T.V.  The voice of the Badgers, Matt Lepay was a fine gentlemen to meet as well.  I also want to give a shout out to Caitlin Moyer and the Social Media stage. Caitlin is the author of Cait Covers The Bases.  As busy as she was working the stage, she was extremely nice to me when I introduced myself and what I do.  Also, mega shout out to the author of, The Brewer Nation!  I met up with him and he gave me some well appreciated blogging advice!

 

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Matt Lepay!

 

Meeting Brewers announcer, Brian Anderson (below) was a bonus!  He was very sincere and genuine.  He showed a lot of interest in what I had to say.  We talked awhile about my blog, advice, and about my dream to either play, broadcast or write.  As soon as I talked about wanting to be a broadcaster, he told me, “You’re off to a great start kid.  You have your blog, plus you’ve got the hair already!” It’s all about the hair. ;)
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How do I look? Pretty legit, right? – Yeah, that’s me broadcasting!

I also played some ping pong with Brewers.  I took a beating that was humbling:) I blame my partner……lol2015/01/img_4485.jpg

Scooter Gennett is certainly the epitome of the eager, hungry to succeed, grateful to play, genuine baseball player kind of guy!!  Holy tobacco in his mouth though!  For your own health Scooter, please don’t chew!  He was a very humble, fun guy.  No wonder why all of Milwaukee loves Scooter.  Thanks for the SELFIE! BTW-If you get rid of the chew, I may be able to set you up with my older sister (5 ft. tall and “hot” according to my friends – you didn’t hear that from me).

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Scooter selfie!

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There’s nothing better than seeing professionals truly listen when I told them about this blog.  That’s exactly what Michael Blazek and Shane Peterson did!

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Shane Peterson and I!

 

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Michael Blazek!

Luis Sardinas and Hector Gomez looked like they were having the best of times.  They were super funny and goofy.  As soon I as i walked up to meet them, Luis said, “Ayyeeeee let me see your hair. Ayyyeeee let me see the line shaved. Nice, fresh bro.” Like I said, it’s all in the hair.

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Luis Sardinas, Hector Gomez, and I! “Ayyyyyeee Let me see your hair. Ayyyeeee let me see line. Nice fresh bro” -Sardinas

Like last year, I said Mike Fiers was the nicest Brewer to meet.  This was absolutely true again this year.  Even better, he remembered who I was and what I do.  He said something like “Oh yea! I know you. You’re the Bleacher Boy.”  You totally made my day Mr. Fiers! Stay the way you are!

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Mike Fiers remembered me! Is that hair envy I see in his eyes?

 

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Gerardo Parra!!! I’m only 14 with a lot of growing to do- This shows you don’t have to be huge to play ball!!

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Parra checkin out my sweet card.

Clint Coulter and Matt Clark were stand up men!  I love watching the two play and meeting them was fantastic!

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Clint Coulter and his slick hair do.

 

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Matt Clark was a stand up man!

O.K. So, this next pic is EPIC!!! The Brewers coaching staff getting a pic with Bleacher Boy  was hilarious! They were rattling off one liners left and right.  Mr. Narron (man wearing the Pharrel hat) kept asking me if I was going to write an article ripping about him and his hat.  Watch our Mr. Narron! ;) Ed Sedar (bottom left) kept counting down the picture times and had something awesome to say to every camera taking a pic.  You couldn’t understand half the stuff he was saying, but man he was funny.

 

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The coaching staff!

 

I finally got to meet pitcher, Kyle Lohse!  He’s a super cool and chill guy to talk to!  I got an autograph for my good friend, Kyle, since Lohse is like his favorite Brewer player! Kyle was psyched!2015/01/img_4552.jpg

 

 

 
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The most amazing part of the day was meeting the legend himself, Bob Uecker!! To add to it, Mark Attanasio, the owner of the Brewers was there to meet with Bob.  The OWNER!!!! I was just as excited and pumped as when my sister got One Direction tickets. I was thinking to myself, “OMG he said my name and Bleacher Boy!!! I can’t believe I’m talking to Uecker himself, the man’s voice I hear every night in the summer is talking to me.”  He might actually beat me on the hair thing……
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I had a voucher to meet Khris Davis but I saw a tiny kid and his dad go up to get a voucher for him, and they were turned away. The little kid looked like a huge fan of Davis. I saw his lip quiver and the sadness in his eyes.  I had to give him mine because I knew exactly what it felt like at the age to meet your favorite player or worse yet, not to meet him.  There has been no better moment at any Brewers On Deck then to see this little kid’s eyes light up when he got the chance to meet Davis.  I can’t imagine what it is like to see little kids look at you with such adornment. Maybe, I’ll see you next year Khris.

Brewers On Deck was once again a huge hit! I couldn’t have asked for anything better.  Thank you to the Brewers for showing your fans a great time on and off the field!!  Start the countdown to next year’s Brewers On Deck! In the mean time, spring training is right around the corner……..

 

 

 

Bleacher Boy at #BrewersOnDeck


-David S.-

On Sunday I will be attending the annual Brewers fan festival, Brewers On Deck!  If you would like to meet me please come and find me! Contact me through Twitter, @BleacherBoy10.  I will be wearing my Bleacher Boy jersey.  Looking forward to seeing you!???????????????????????????????

Flashback Friday: Where It All Started


-David S.-
Flashback to my first year playing baseball! Shoutout to Mr. Eric Christensen for being my first coach and fueling my passion for baseball!2015/01/img_4280.jpg

True Warriors: My Brother and Stuart Scott


-David S.-

There are many types of warriors on the field, the courts, and the baseball diamonds.  The real warriors are those who face the battle of cancer. In response to the recent passing of Stuart Scott, I would like to express my sympathy by sharing my personal experience with cancer and how it has affected my family.

I was sitting at the kitchen table one afternoon, in early October, 2005 drawing a picture.  My sister Delilah was at her friend’s house, my brother Zach went to a car show with friends, and my twin, Sophie, was home with me. The sun was shining, trying to add warmth to the crisp cool fall day.  And, there I sat, carefree, enjoying the pretty fall colors, drawing leaves with assorted crayons of red, yellow, and orange.  Then, my mother received a troubling phone call from one of Zach’s friends.  His friend, Nate, with a sickening worry in his voice told my mother that Zach was having intense pain in his groin and lower back.  He couldn’t even walk.  I saw my mom put down the phone, knowing something was wrong from the look on her face.  Even though I was only five years old, I could sense something wasn’t right.  That was when the darkness came.

As soon as Zach got home, my mother rushed outside.  I never actually saw Zach and that’s when I knew that it could be more serious.  She told me she had to take Zach to the hospital.  That’s when I flipped my picture over to draw something else.  I started to draw a picture for Zach of him in an ambulance.  I was hoping everything would be okay.

Looking back, I remember my mother telling me that she thought Zach may have just torn or popped something in his groin or lower back because he was a skater and may have fallen.  She thought some movement may have made it “out of whack.”  Zach had a slight pain for a little while before the car show day.  He even went to a chiropractor for some physical therapy.  This was a very reasonable and a logical thought.  She was very wrong and the darkness stayed.

Mom transported Zach from his friend’s car to our car and rushed him to the hospital.  There, they found a mass on one of Zach’s testicles.  My mom heard a vague comment about Lance Armstrong, but was confused. They wouldn’t tell her anything other than to come back the next morning to see a specialist.  They decided to do immediate surgery even without a biopsy.  A biopsy was too risky because there was a risk that trying to extract this suspicious mass would cause some cells to fall into the bloodstream.  If some cells fell into the bloodstream, it could spread throughout his body.

After surgery, the doctors reported to my parents that Zach had cancer for sure.  It was called testicular cancer.  They told her it was the most aggressive type of cancer cell.  The doctors did say that they believed that they extracted all of the cancer.  Zach was sent home and everything was thought to be okay.  They also found nothing in his blood cells to detect cancer.  They didn’t know Zach was “marker negative,” which means the cancer cells would not come up in blood tests.  My mother thought it was strange that he was just fine.  Maybe it was just the darkness, but she had a gut feeling that something was wrong.
Just to be sure, my mother wanted a second opinion.  She took Zach down to Rush hospital in Chicago.  The doctor they saw was a trained specialist in this field.  He worked under the doctor that treated the famous biker, Lance Armstrong, who also had testicular cancer.  After Zach was checked out, the doctors brought back terrible news.  The cancer had already spread to parts of his abdomen and lymph nodes. It would be awhile before the light and laughter would return to our home.

It’s so weird how life can literally change in an instant.  Before this, Zach was on top of the world.  He had just turned sixteen, had a girlfriend, got a driver’s license, and he got a sharp little sports car.   He had just started his junior year at Walden H.S.  Then it came all crashing down on a sunny Sunday afternoon.  The clouds and the darkness came in the form of cancer, an uninvited stranger in our home.  If left unchecked, the cancer would have progressed to the lungs and to the brain.  Zach again needed a very complicated and immediate surgery.  If my mother didn’t trust her gut and didn’t bring him in for a second opinion, the doctors said Zach would have died within six months to 2 years.

My mom and dad, understandably, had trouble dealing with the news.  They felt overwhelmed, depressed and shocked.  They couldn’t process and learn all the necessary information fast enough.  My sister, Delilah, was in fifth grade and adored Zach.  She was scared, but young enough to be a little clueless.  Sophie and I could sense something was wrong, but we were confused.  Cancer was like having an unwelcome stranger move in, where everyone is acting differently, and I tried to be on my best behavior. Sadness clouded our family.  We were scared that we didn’t know what was wrong.  There many hushed phone calls and sleepless nights for us all.  Zach was down mentally and physically, scared, exhausted, yet hopeful, and strong.  It was frustrating for him to have to rely on everyone else to do things for him.  Zach was used to being thought of as a good-looking guy and vanity wise, it began to hurt his ego.  He just wanted life to get back to normal.

In the surgery they removed all of the cancerous areas that were shown on the MRI’s.  Then, they ordered several treatments of chemotherapy to flush out all remaining cells.  He was out on a six month plan which was considered short, but still treacherous.  Chemotherapy is a variety of medicine that they put through an IV in your body to attack your cancer cells.  But in fact, it really is poison that kills the fastest growing cells in your body which include the lining of your mouth, your intestines, white blood cells, hair, nails, skin, and finally cancer cells.  So while you’re attacking cancer cells, you are attacking all of those other things.  A lot of people think chemotherapy is one thing, but each phase is different.  It’s specifically designed for each patient.  There is also some trial and error because too much can harm you and too little wouldn’t help at all.

Just when you think having cancer is bad enough, going through the chemotherapy results in devastating side effects.  When mom brought Zach to the chemotherapy section of the hospital she said it sucked the air out of her lungs and she couldn’t breathe.  Everyone around her looked like they were dying.  She realized Zach would look like this soon.  Zach lost his hair everywhere on his body.  He once said that you don’t realize how much you need you nose hair because when you bend over everything drains out. He laughed, a little bit of light broke through.  His hair follicles even hurt.  A vivid memory my mother still sadly tells me is when Zach was lying in the hospital bed and complained that his head hurt.  When he shifted, a huge chunk of his beautiful, black, thick hair was now part of the pillow and no longer a part of Zach.  It took my mother’s breath away and she was speechless as she started to tear up.  When Zach lost his hair I remember being terrified of him. Until then, the scars and gory stuff was buried beneath bandages and clothes.  Now, I could see the metamorphosis left behind by cancer.  Sunken, lifeless eyes and pale grey, hairless skin moved into my brother’s body. Zach was so weak, so sad that his little siblings, including myself, were scared of him.  He was frightened, not recognizing his own reflection in the mirror.

The darkness grew and black spots began to appear on his fingertips and toes.  It was the chemo burning his body from the inside out.  Also as a result of the chemo, Zach had painful ulcers in his mouth and intestines.  He experienced nausea and brain fog.  My mother tells me that one day Zach woke up screaming and peeing blood because of kidney stones caused by the chemotherapy.  To try to counteract some of the side effects they gave Zach steroids.  These at least provided some relief and gave Zach an appetite, but also resulted in a bloated look, further distorting his normal good looks. But Zach, my brother, my inspiration, was not going to be beat.

Glimmers of light started to appear and brighten our home and Zach’s spirits.  We were all going to battle to fight this!  Zach’s support from Walden was monumental.  Students and staff sent him well wishes and bought him a PSP video game to occupy his time at home. Many of his friends were always there for him.   At my grade school and church, St. Rita’s, we would pray for him every day.  We were fortunate to have many friends and family that helped make and deliver meals to our house.  The support and prayers from others helped us greatly as well. The doctors and nurses were amazing.  They all began to provide hope, and a light at the end of the tunnel that drove out the darkness.


About a year later, Zach was finally done with treatment.  It’s a bitter sweet, and somewhat fearful feeling that treatment is over.  It didn’t feel like an endgame, it felt like a waiting game to see if “it” comes back.   Zach wasn’t going to sit around and wait for anything, there was too much living to do. Zach went on to enjoy prom, graduate from high school and get a degree from Marquette University. He is happy, healthy, handsome again, and the bravest man I know.  And here I sit, nine years later, at the kitchen table, not drawing but typing. The sun is shining brightly, adding warmth to a glorious cool day.

“You beat cancer by HOW you live, WHY you live, and in the manner in which you live.”

-Stuart Scott

 

Are You Coachable?


-David S.-

 
"Be humble enough to be coachable. But be confident enough to dominate your position."

“Be humble enough to be coachable, But be confident enough to dominate your position.”

Above is a philosophy that I strive to apply to myself and challenge others to be open to this concept.  “Be humble enough to be coachable,” means that you are not perfect.  You need to accept your flaws.  Once you understand that you aren’t perfect, you can be open to constructive criticism.  First, you must throw your ego out the door!  Next, let someone help and improve your game.  I don’t care who you are, this applies to players from little league to the pros. Coaches will be able to actually coach you and help you, and ultimately your team.  It will not only help you improve your game, but demonstrates character to your coaches and others.  We all know “that one kid/player!”  Before a practice even starts, you can often tell who the difficult diva, uncoachable kids are, especially when the coach is talking.  They aren’t making eye contact. Usually they roll their eyes, and make some wise crack comment, thinking that none of this coaching/guidance applies to them, because they are so awesome. They drag their feet if they don’t get to play “their” position . They usually never stick around to help clean up after practice and scream “unfair” when not selected for an All Star team – because after all, they are so awesome….. Well this behavior shows lack of good character.  When a coach coaches you, you have to understand that it is not an insult to you personally, as so many take it.  No matter how good you are, there is always some way to improve, whether its your swing, your fielding, your speed, or your IQ – there’s always room for improvement.   I have seen time and time again  teammates of mine with a boatload of natural talent, but they aren’t coachable.  The natural gift  is there, but they will never reach their potential.  They seem to peak by high school and then when they enter a “big pond” of competition, they become a “small fish” and don’t excel. Being coachable takes practice, start early and show your coach respect for their help and knowledge.   If you are not the most talented one on the team, but have good character, practice hard, and listen to coaching, it will show.  Coaches will view you more positively and take you more seriously than the “stud” with poor character.  So check your ego at the door, let your coach help you, and be a good team mate.

“But be confident enough to dominate your position.”  Once you are out in the field, have confidence in your abilities.  It means to be able to tell yourself, “I can and will do this!”  It’s the time when you need to put faith in your training and skills without thinking you are above others.  If you are not confident at your position, it shows, and success may elude you.  Baseball is a mental game.  Being confident, not cocky, can give you a little edge over the competition.  When you think that you are better then everyone and then that error is made, mentally, you come crashing down since you think you are so great and are not supposed to make mistakes.  Or….you blame others.   Coaches and scouts are very aware of, and appreciate the player that recovers after an error rather than crumbles.  That player is humble, confident, and makes corrections.  As I wrote in a previous article, baseball is a game of failure and the mental side is crucial, it applies here as well.  Click HERE to read that article.  Once you believe, you will achieve…Do I get points for that corny cliché? It truly applies.

Remember, lose the ego to have others help you improve, but have confidence in yourself when the opportunities on the field come!

Follow me on Twitter: @BleacherBoy10

Email me: thebleacherboy@yahoo.com

America’s Pastime: Past, Present, and Future


-David S.-

Baseball is the greatest sport in the world with the richest history and  is often called America’s pastime.  Why is baseball referred to as our national pastime.  Well…….

Baseball was HUGE in America from the late 1800’s to the early 1900’s.  It ruled in the sports world.  Everyone knew about baseball and what was going on.  You could have conversation with anyone about it.  It brought the people together. Players consisted of both “regular” guys as well as “larger than life” characters.   People could turn on their radio daily, listen to the game, and have a beer.  How American is that? Baseball is what children did in their free time. There was no technology that kids stared aimlessly at for hours, so they turned to the sport. It brought parents and kids together in playing/teaching moments.

Baseball, was something the country looked up to in a way.  There was nothing else like it.  It was a source of great entertainment.  The 1919 Black Sox scandal was devastating to its reputation.  This in a way put a black mark on something everyone loved. The country was upset.  Baseball was saved when Babe Ruth took the league by storm when he was sold to the Yankees in 1919, making the most intense rivalry in sports, the Red Sox vs. Yankees.  Lou Gehrig was adored by the country.  When he was diagnosed with ALS, the country surrounded him and loved him.  No sport brought us together like baseball.  Douglas Walop wrote, ”America was the land of opportunity where even a poor boy could grow up to be Babe Ruth.”  This shows that people could aspire to become a ball player no matter the circumstances.  It was a reachable goal. The game inspired and gave people hope.

When any player now days is caught using performance enhancing drugs, there is huge uproar of disgust and disappointment.  Everyone talks about baseball being ruined and what it means for the future of the sport.  This is just not the same about other sports.  There is a certain uniqueness and pride about this sport that holds itself to a higher standard.

Baseball stood as a pillar of strength through wars and the Great Depression.  It is something that is always there for you, past, present, and future.  It is a sport that cannot be won by one single person, it revolves immensely around teamwork.  Baseball brings our country together, whether it’s cheering for an underdog or a superstar. Back in the day, baseball was pretty much only an American sport.  I believe this gave us a source of patriotic American pride. Newsflash:  Patriotic American Pride is a Good thing!!!

Life is comparable to baseball: “the highs, the lows, the balls, the strikes.”  There is always tomorrow and a second chance.  Times may be going tough for someone,  like a player in baseball, a slump.  Then, things could start looking upward, like a hit or start of a hot streak.

There is no other sport that compares to baseball. I feel like it was the first and is the last great family form of sports entertainment.  Even though it may not have the highest TV ratings anymore, it’s rich history keeps it our national pastime.

The Twelve Days of a Baseball Christmas Day 12


-David S.-

It’s day twelve of The Twelve Days of a Baseball Christmas! This is the final one! Creds to Baseballism.  Enjoy!

On the twelfth day of Christmas baseball gave to me:

Twelve fastballs humming,

Eleven pitchers pitching,

Ten runners sliding,

Nine fielders creeping,

Eight coaches yelling,

Seven K’s a swinging,

Six bats a breaking,

Five World Series Rings,

Four knuckle curves,

Three bullpens,

2 catcher’s gloves,

and a white pearl on a hitting tee.

Merry Christmas to all!!!!!!!

The Greatest Gift


-David S.-

I’ve been reflecting on my favorite Christmas presents over the years and I have been blessed to have had many awesome gifts.  But, my favorite is still this baseball cross plaque that my crafty and thoughtful mom made for me.  I have shared this with many:

“This plaque that my mother made, helps me to remember to always get over errors and leave it all on the field.  It reminds me to “give thanks” to God and to my family. It encourages me to become a better teammate, to listen to my coaches, and be a good sport.  I like to live by the motto: “God, Family, Baseball.”   God always comes first.  What I see is that God has a massive hitting streak going (all the gifts he has so generously given us).  It’s game seven of the World Series against all evil.  God understands that we make mistakes and always will, which are our  errors.  He forgives us for the BIG errors, and we should forgive ourselves for mistakes, learn from them, and move on.  With a runner on third, a sacrifice bunt will win the World Series, but what if Jesus only needed a hit to break a record?  To save his team (the world), he sacrifices! He sacrifices to save us all!!!!  We all need to remember this each and every day.  So whatever your beliefs, have FAITH.  It will get you further than any home run.”

Under the cross it says: "EVERYONE COMMITS ERRORS, BUT HIS SACRIFICE WILL GET YOU HOME..."

Under the cross it says:
“EVERYONE COMMITS ERRORS, BUT HIS SACRIFICE WILL GET YOU HOME…”

Everyday I see it, it reminds me who I am and what I stand for as a Catholic.  It reminds me that God is with me and helps me to be a better person.  It helps strengthen my faith.  We all will make mistakes, but that is ok.  Forgive others, forgive yourself.   Since Jesus died for us as his sacrifice to save us from sin, he will bring us home to heaven.  During this joyful Christmas time, let’s keep Christ in Christmas.  Let’s remember what Christmas is really about, the birth of the Christ child. It is a time of Peace and Hope.  So during these troubled times, be a good teammate for the human race –  God Bless You!!

Follow me on Twitter: @BleacherBoy10

Email me: thebleacherboy@yahoo.com

 

The Twelve Days of a Baseball Christmas Day 11


-David S.-

It’s day eleven of The Twelve Days of a Baseball Christmas!  Creds to Baseballism.  Enjoy!

On the eleventh day of Christmas baseball gave to me:

Eleven pitchers pitching,

Ten runners sliding,

Nine fielders creeping,

Eight coaches yelling,

Seven K’s a swinging,

Six bats a breaking,

Five World Series Rings,

Four knuckle curves,

Three bullpens,

2 catcher’s gloves,

and a white pearl on a hitting tee.

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