I am sitting in a Starbucks in Dalton, Georgia. I will be heading to a high school game tonight and one of the school’s is the #2 rated school in the country currently, Lambert High School. They are playing Johns Creek. I have gotten to see some very talented high school teams. I saw the #1 team Barbe HS win against Sam Houston HS in Lake Charles, Louisiana on Saturday. Barbe has ten kids committed to play college ball at the Division 1 level and Sam Houston has two. The coach at Barbe, Glenn Cecchini, has two sons playing pro-ball. Garin Cecchini is the #2 prospect in the Boston Red Sox organization and the other, Gavin, is playing Single-A ball for the Mets. The coach at Sam Houston has published a book about coaching baseball. This leads me to believe, baseball is important in SW Louisiana.
Barbe had quite a few of their kids play in the 2008 Little League World Series a few years ago. You can tell by their baseball “presence” on the field. In observation, one can see a quiet confidence, the “between the ears” thing that the scouts talk about. I was impressed with this when Sam Houston came back to score four runs in the bottom of the seventh. I never felt that Barbe was entirely “rattled”, nor did I feel the team felt they were going to let the game get away from them. I was equally impressed that Sam Houston never gave up. The players continued to come to bat with confidence and determination. I can’t say the same for the fans in the stands, they were nervous. The Barbe fans really started to get on the umpire when the game got tight. I watched the ump closely throughout the game and he was very consistent with his calls. I laughed at this and I understood that it was the anxiety that was overtaking the fans and “who else to did they have to come down on”. Their verbal displeasure was made obvious. After the game, which Barbe won 5-4, both teams came to the pitching mound and said a prayer together.
I was interviewed by Troy LaFluer prior to the game and we sat together during the game. He covers high school sports for the local newspaper and he told me all about the programs in SW Louisiana. I told him that this is one of those pockets in the country were baseball seems so important to the local culture. Troy said he doesn’t think people realize how good the baseball is in the area or the state, since the state is obsessed with football. I loved being in the crowd for this game, the people were very friendly and the turn out was phenomenal. I hope tonight’s game is equally exciting.
I have to say that I would love to see my Ashland Oredockers – my nephew Eric and Johnny Sechon – come down South and play against some of these top teams. I believe that the well coached team from Ashland would be able to compete with any of these teams. I know I am biased. These teams and kids are some of the best I have seen. As a fan it would be so much fun to see, like the scouts have said, “It really does come down to what is between the ears”, and pitching of course! That is what I love about the game, cheering on your teams, at all the different levels.
My buddy Rob gets on me all the time because I have two favorite MLB teams, #1 Milwaukee Brewers and #2 LA Dodgers – it is what it is. I used to say my American League team is the Brewers and my National League team is the Dodgers. I cheered for both for so long it is hard to just stop cheering for the Dodgers now that the Brewers are in the National League (since 1998). As a fan of the game it is the excitement leading up to the games and discussing the experience after that keeps me coming back each time. It is more intensified the more personal, it is the memories and the feeling that we take away. And, so much more!
NOTE: Today, I updated by biography since I hadn’t really touched it in three months. Click here if you would like to check it out: “biography“. That will get you where you want to “look”. If you have read it before, just scroll down and look for the update from today.
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