Here we are, moving in to the last day of February and I can’t wait for spring to arrive.
My son, Michael is currently going through tryouts for his high school baseball team. He’s in day two, three more days before the first cut. For the past three months, he’s had pitching lessons, getting him ready for his tryouts as well as four weeks of hitting lessons. All those lessons aren’t exactly cheap but his love for baseball is great and they really do help him. Though Michael isn’t exactly a fireballer, his instructor, Matt Whitesides, who’s taught him over the past seven years, has helped him develop great form and last year, worked with him to develop a pretty wicked curve ball that made a number of hitters look downright foolish. It was fun to see.
So while those tryouts are on-going, my coaching career will soon come to an end. For nine years (starting in kindergarten), I coached Michael’s grade school team. Last year, when he went on to play high school ball, I got the opportunity to coach my daughter, Catherine’s team. I had no idea what to expect – but quickly discovered it was every bit as fun coaching her team as it was coaching Michael’s. This year, Catherine’s team is merging with another and I’m just going to be an assistant coach which is perfectly fine by me.
Then there’s the Cardinals. With Albert and Tony gone, there’s a different feel already to spring training. I haven’t been all that enthused to hear Yadi griping and moaning but hopefully, he’ll get his millions and will maybe run out all of his ground ball outs. (Well, one can dream, right?) My expectations for this year’s Cardinals team aren’t very high. It’s just too difficult to repeat. But for now, the talk is about 12 in ’12. I doubt it, but it sounds good and is an interesting spin to have – at least until after the All Star break.
I’m also extremely interested to see the new ad campaign that’s going to come out of Hughes – or rather, HLK, my former agency. I must admit, I’m jealous. I will always remember working on the Cardinals account back when I was at Kenrick Advertising. In 1982, we created the campaign, “You and the Cardinals. That’s a winner!” Obviously, we borrowed directly from Jack Buck but it all made sense. I can still remember directing Jack as we recorded some radio commercials. “Uh, Mr. Buck, could you maybe slow it down just a bit?”
“Listen kid, I say it the way I read it and if you don’t like it, you can get somebody else.”
“Actually, that sounded great. I think we’re good.”
And we were good. Two of the radio spots I created that year were Flair winners (the equivalent of today’s ADDY award). I got to meet Willie McGee, create some commercials with Ozzie Smith and sit in the dugout for a game which was like a dream come true for me. When the Cardinals went on to win the World Series, it was an instant classic – the year I got to work on the Cardinals account that they won it all.
So as we head in to this leap year day when the weather’s warm enough to throw the ball around it’s no wonder I’ve got baseball on the brain.
Bring on March with all its basketball madness, knowing that the first pitch of the season will be here before we know it.