Lisa, thanks for taking the time to talk to 9 Inning Know it All. Please tell us more about yourself.
I am currently wrapping up my sophomore year at Linfield College and originally from Bellevue, WA. I am a family kid through and through and give my parents and siblings a lot of credit for the good I’ve accomplished thus far. I’m just a kid who loves to play softball and spend time in the church because I believe wholeheartedly in Jesus Christ.
My pops has always been the greatest guy. I remember going to his slow pitch games and he would just hit home-runs effortlessly and get in the car with blood and dirt all over his shins from going hard. I wanted to be like that. We always butt heads when I was younger but since going to college and even in my senior year of high school, we really got close and I call him up for anything. He’s always been my biggest fan by far. BP with my dad is always a go to.
My high school softball coach, Heather Tracy, was also a big influence in my development. She was never scared to tell me I need to do more. This woman forced me to grow up and be a leader. I owe her a lot for the personal growth I accomplished with her by my side.
You had quite the high school career, is there a season that stands out the most?
My senior season was definitely a highlight; it was the perfect way to leave. I was playing with the kids that I grew up playing little league with. 90% of the kids on the field that year I knew from when I was eight years old. My senior year came with so much confidence in myself and the people around me. I didn’t want it to end. Actually, our team ended up making it to the 3rd/4th place state game and it was one of the two final games being played. I ended up being late to my prom by a few hours because I wanted to play ball.
What brought you to Linfield to play “catball”?
My freshman year I played both softball and soccer and I loved that Linfield provided that experience for me. So that was definitely a main reason. It was a pleasure playing for Dominic Doty and the Women’s soccer program but there was no doubt that catball was for me. I loved that Linfield was pretty close to home and I could go home if I needed to.
You played at Bellevue (Wa) HS. You helped them to a third place finish at the state tournament. What was that experience like?
Being the first team at BHS to ever make it to state was pretty special to be a part of. It’s one of those things no one can ever take from you. It was a great experience and I felt so blessed to be a part of it and it was so much fun to do it again the next year. But I have to say it was nothing compared to playing in the National Championship game for D3 in 2012.
Now that’s a tough question- I really can’t give you one specific experience. But playing for Jackson and being a member of catball has been an unforgettable experience. I am so grateful to call myself a catballer. I love these guys and I love my coaches, they have been nothing but the best. I have never seen a group of people that get along so well and love each other to death and also have a strong enough bond to say work harder, do more because every person wants the same thing. It gives me chills just thinking about it.
What’s it like playing at Linfield and playing for Jackson Vaughn?
I don’t think any highlight films or stories do catball justice – it’s something that you’ve got to be a part of to fully understand how special it is. I play with a group of kids that are obsessed with fro yo, love talking in all kinds of accents, put in hours in the weight room and pull all-nighters to get all the homework done. They are unbelievable in every sense. Then we look at what this team has been able to accomplish on the field- it’s amazing, absolutely amazing. I consider myself very blessed in be a part of it. I couldn’t imagine doing it any other way.
What advice would you give to the younger players?
My high school coach used to always tell me “Have fun, play well” and I think it’s perfect. Especially, if you’re still young, enjoy it! Don’t stress too much- you get to run around the bases with your friends, just have fun doing something that’s supposed to be fun. Find joy in hitting off the tee because one day it could be gone. Trust me, I know softball practice doesn’t sound as good as hanging out with friends sometimes but enjoy it while you have it. Secondly, don’t make softball or any sport everything. Take time to do other things or you will weigh yourself down in it. Get involved in activities other than softball.
How has your faith impacted your softball career?
Sports are not easy, failure is an often occurrence and failing is not an easy thing to handle for some people. I was one of those people for a lot of years. I couldn’t control my emotions if my life depended on it. I wore my emotions on my sleeve for everyone to see. You would know what kind of mood I was in from 100 yards away. I constantly fell short of the glory of God and was not walking around with a Christ- like attitude. I have learned over time and have gotten better. Am I perfect? Absolutely not. I still fail, all the time. But I know I do and do my best to accept it, move on and try again.
Who were your favorite players growing up?
I loved John Olerud! He was my favorite player to watch for sure! Go Mariners!
Final question Lisa! Please give us your top five songs of all-time.
1. My oh My- Macklemore
2. I won’t give up- Jason Mraz
3. Amazing Grace- Chris Tomlin
4. Build me up buttercup- The Foundations
5. Rivers and Roads- The Head & the Heart
Lisa, thanks for taking the time to chat with us.
The 9 Inning Empire is getting the band back together for a ‘normal’ week.
The Complete Game with the 9 Inning Know It All Tuesday night at 9:00pm
9 Inning Baseball Talk Wednesday night at 8:30pm
Stormin with Norman Friday morning at 10:00am
Hittin It with Kelly Sunday night at 9:00pm
This past weekend Josh discovered almost 2 dozen boxes of baseball cards for sale at a local Goodwill and like any good baseball card collector (addict) he bought almost all of them. Not only will he talk about what he got in the boxes, he is also going to talk about other locations that you can find baseball cards for sale to increase your own collection.
This week’s edition of Beyond Left Field with Norm features Lisa Bennett, a college softball player at Linfield, who talks baseball, softball, music and faith.
Kelly is back from being on ‘assignment’ in the San Francisco area. Watch for his recap of hanging out with ballhawks from across the west coast and what it was like sitting outside of the hated Giants stadium wearing Dodger gear.
Also coming up this weekend Josh starts his information autograph series letting you know which players and coaches in the West Coast League and Northwest League have cards that you can get autographed.
The Linfield Wildcats have won there 3rd regional championship in the past decade and will be playing in the NCAA D-III World Series. The Wildcats face off against Ithaca Friday at 1:15 CDT at Time Warner Cable Field and Fox Cities Stadium in Appleton, Wis.
Corban University softball was eliminated from their first ever appearance in the NAIA championship tournament last week but not before Stephanie Nippert blasted a few more homeruns to give her a total of 83 career homeruns. Her 83 homeruns gives her the record for most homeruns in a career for an NAIA player, beating the previous mark by 5 homeruns.
Sarah Williams agreed to answer some questions today. Sarah is the wife of Angels pitcher Jerome Williams.
Sarah, thanks for taking the time. Tell us more about yourself.
Well I’m a mother of three children with Jerome, Alana 8, Keilani 6, and Tai 3. I met my husband back in 2002 when he was playing for my hometown AAA team the Fresno Grizzlies. I’m a homeschooling mom and supporting baseball wife.
What has been the best part of being a wife of a Major League ballplayer?
I honestly think the best part is getting to see my husband live his dream. He gets to do what he loves for a living. I’d still be just as proud of him if he were in Indy ball as I am of him in the big leagues. My other favorite part has been living in different parts of the country and different parts of the world. I feel like our children are so lucky to experience different places and that when they get older they will really appreciate it all.
What’s been the toughest part?
The toughest part is surprisingly also one of the best parts and that’s the moving, it all gets very chaotic at times with the not knowing where you will be the next year or heck in the baseball world sometimes you don’t know where you’ll be the next day. I love the fact though that we are now going on our third season in Anaheim because sometimes you just want to settle in one place and where better than Southern California.
Do you have any memorable ”Jerome” moments you can share with us?
One of my most memorable moments in ten plus years will always be his first complete game shutout against the Oakland A’s his rookie year way back in 2003. I just remember it being such a quick game and if I remember correctly he only threw 96 pitches and it ended on a strikeout, it was the perfect end to an amazing game.
I also will never forget the night we got the call in 2011 that he was going back to the big leagues. There was just so much emotion and lots of happy tears, after all we had gone through as a family it was that moment that we knew that hard work and perseverance do indeed pay off.
Do you travel when Jerome goes on the road? And do you have a favorite stadium and city?
I travel sometimes when Jerome goes on the road, we tend to go on the close trips like Oakland or Seattle, with three kids though I keep the traveling on the road to a minimum I do however do 1 to 2 road trips a year kid-free.
My favorite stadium by far will Always be AT&T park, it’s just such a great stadium in so many ways, I’ve definitely missed it a lot after all these years. The first thing I plan to eat whenever I go back there is some Garlic fries and a cha-cha bowl.
Favorite city though hands down is Chicago, they have great shopping, great food, and I love their Museums and the Shedd Aquarium.
Are you involved with any charities, programs?
I try to stay as involved with the Angels wives charity events as I can, we do mystery ball sales twice a season, and silent auctions. I also did a CHOC visit with some wives last year to brighten up the days of some of the children in the hospital. I’m hoping this year to start a charity in Memory of Jerome’s Mother Deborah benefitting Breast Cancer Research.
Thanks for taking time Sarah. Is there anything you would like to add?
I just want to say thanks to anyone who supported the Williams family throughout Jerome’s career. We’re hoping 2013 is a big year for Jerome and for the Angels!
Jerome Williams is one of the nicest guys in the game. Jerome was the number one draft pick by the Giants in 1999. He has played for the Giants, Cubs, A’s, Nationals, Dodgers, Twins, Uni-President Lions (Taiwan) and the Angels.
Jerome thanks for taking some time.
You pitched a season in Taiwan, What was that experience like?
Very different. Being overseas and playing the game I love was different. Typical Asian players. Contact hitters. Learn real quick.
You wear a puka shell necklace when you pitch. Would you like to share that story?
My mother passed away of breast cancer in 2001. Before I left to spring training, she gave me that necklace. I never take it off.
What has the best experience you have had playing baseball?
Being apart of the Giants in those days when Barry Bonds was on the team. He was amazing. Things he did, was unbelievable.
If a player tests positive for PEDS during their career should they be eligible for induction to the Hall of Fame?
It matters when he did it. Maybe his numbers was HOF type numbers. Sad that players are doing PEDS.
If I was looking at buying some music, what and who would you suggest?
Hip hop, R&B, reggae, and Hawaiian. Very versatile.
I wish you luck in the upcoming season.
The guys will look at this summer promotional schedules for the Northwest League teams in the area as well as breaking down which games they are wanting to hit.
Other topics include baseball, baseball, probably some more baseball and maybe something else but I would be on baseball. Next show is Wednesday at 8:30 pm.
Are you curious what Norm is really thinking? Want to hear him as he goes wild on anything and everything? Well here is your chance. Nothing is out of the realm of possibility for Norm to talk about.
Next show is Friday at 10 am.
Want to hear what is really on the mind of the 9 Inning Know It All, well here is your chance. Josh, the 9 Inning Know It All, will rant on 9 innings worth of topics each week.
They could be good, they could be bad, they could just be about anything on his mind. Regardless your going to get 9 complete innings out of him each and every time.
Next show is Monday at 9pm.
This weeks episode of Hittin It with Kelly has been cancelled because Kelly is on assignment in the Bay Area. Tune in next week when Kelly gives a run down of a Ball Hawk Convention and his game at the Oakland Coliseum.
The Northwest League opens in one month from today. I have no doubt where I will be on that evening. I will be at Volcanoes Stadium watching the Hillsboro Hops play their first official game.
I know that for most baseball fans this game will fly completely under the radar and probably won’t even be something they care about but it is an important game in my opinion. The Portland area gets a team back in the region and hopefully can begin to show the world that Portland can be a baseball city.
As I mentioned a few months ago in my article Is Portland a Baseball City I don’t think Portland is a baseball city right now, and doesn’t really have to be in order to successfully have a baseball organization.
I wish the Hops the best of luck this season and I truly hope that the city of Portland embraces the team and begins the move towards bringing back a Triple-A team and maybe even someday a Major League team.
You can follow the Voice of the Hillsboro Hops Rich Burk’s blog to stay up on all things Hillsboro Hops here:
My guest today is McMinnville sophomore Craig Cooper. Craig, thanks for taking the time to chat with us at 9 Inning Know it All. Please tell us more about yourself.
I’m a huge Dodger fan, and I love baseball. I love being outside and being with my friends. I also like to be with my family.
Is there a team or player or players you follow and why?
I follow the Dodgers because they are my favorite team and they are really fun to watch. They have great pitching and are really great at hitting the ball.
I play middle infield and I also play left field. Every once and a while coach will let me pitch a inning or two but for the most part it is second base.
Do you have a pregame ritual?
I don’t have a pregame ritual except for playing flip with the team outside of the dugout right before the game.
What advice would you give the younger players?
The advice I would give to the younger players is to have fun with it and to work hard and just enjoy it with your friends.
I’m going to name a few players, tell us what you think of them.
1. Mike Trout- He had an amazing season last year and I believe he will have an even better one this year. I honestly think he will become a big face of baseball in the next couple of years
2. Ichiro-He is a great fielder and an even better hitter. an especially a dangerous man on the bases. However I do believe he will be retiring in the next couple of years.
3. Josh Hamilton-I don’t like what he does off the field but he is definitely a power hitter and I like what he does on the field.
4. Derek Jeter- I think he is an amazing player overall and has had a great career but I don’t see him having a good season at this point.
5. Bryce Harper-I think he had a really great rookie season and think he will have a great season but the stats might not be as good as last year.
What would you like to do after high school?
After high school I want to go to university of Oregon. I am a huge duck fan and I have dreamed of going there since I was a little kid.
What’s your experience been like playing at McMinnville?
My experiences have been really great, it’s all memorable with a team this full of great guys. They are all funny. I would say we are pretty good team, so i would say winning is fun. Summer ball was also pretty fun too.
Do you have a favorite place you have played?
I would say my favorite place I have played is Medford, Oregon. The reason why is it was great weather like 95 degree weather on the forth of July weekend.
Last question, give us your top five songs of all time.
My favorite songs, first, would be alright by Darius Rucker , second, would be Springsteen by Eric church, and third, is knee deep by Zach Brown band, my fourth, is Do I by Luke Bryan and fifth, would be the world by brad paisley.
Craig, thanks for taking the time. Good luck this season.
People often ask me, ‘Josh why do you collect so many baseball cards?’ Okay, so no one other than my wife has actually asked me that question but in case anyone other than my wife were to ask me this question here is the answer.
I like baseball. Do I need to say more? Yeah, that answer usually doesn’t fly with my wife so I had better go into details.
I have been collecting baseball cards since I was a kid. It was the first thing I ever collected and it was something I got almost every birthday as a kid. It was such a joy to open a new pack and look at each card hoping to pull my favorite players.
Let me make one thing clear though, I never liked the gum in the packs and usually gave it to my friends. I still don’t know why people actually ate those things.
I know that it was my dad that started me on the path to card collecting. My dad collected cards growing up and I’m pretty sure he enjoyed opening packs with me just as much as I enjoyed opening the packs.
The time spent with my dad running to card shops, buying packs, and looking through my cards is the initial reason why I enjoy collecting but it didn’t take long for the love of collecting cards to become my own passion.
Every card that I held was an opportunity for me to dream about one day reaching the Major Leagues. I always dreamed of having my own baseball card and I enjoyed each summer when I got my baseball photos back for Little League because my parents always bought the trading cards. I felt like I was a professional baseball player holding my card.
Baseball cards represented all that I wanted to do and be.
Another reason why I love baseball cards is because of the memories it brings up for me.
I can tell you that my first complete set of cards was the 1987 Topps set that my parents bought me for a Christmas present. I was so excited when I opened that present and see a complete set. Today I’m going back through that set and trying to get as many of those cards autographed as possible. I don’t have a ton signed but the ones I do have are pretty good.
In the summer of 2012 my parents gave me a pack of 2012 Score cards for every base hit and great play that I made. That was one of my favorite summers of baseball and it doesn’t hurt that I got quite a few packs of cards (I have the 1992 Score collection to prove it).
I remember the first time I made a trade with a player for a card he had never seen of himself. I still have the card that he traded me and of course signed.
Even this past summer I remember asking a player to sign a card only to have him respond with ‘I don’t think my Mom has this card yet.’ I had two so of course I had to give him one for him to give to his mom.
Baseball cards are just such a unique connection to the game for me. Each card has a moment in baseball history captured for everyone to see. Many photos may just be of players doing nothing but there are a few that have a captured moment that goes down in history.
I get autographs on cards today as an adult because of that unique connection to the game. Not only do I have the card of a player who has achieved something I dreamed of growing up but also because I can talk about the memory of meeting that player and prove it.
Collecting baseball cards isn’t just for kids with dreams of making the big leagues. They are for the adult who loves the game and still smiles when he pulls the card of one of his favorite players.
Rico Brogna (born April 18, 1970 in Turners Falls, Massachusetts) is a former Major League Baseball first baseman who played for the Detroit Tigers, New York Mets, Philadelphia Phillies, Boston Red Sox, and Atlanta Braves in his career starting in 1992, and from 1994 to 2001. He was drafted in the first round (26th overall) by the Tigers in 1988.
I was definitely born to be involved in sports and I can easily envision myself be an athletics “lifer” so to speak. I love a few sports, not just baseball. I actually enjoy football probably the most of any sport and basketball not too far behind. Baseball is a unique game in that there is both individual aspects and team aspects to the game. But I am all-in when it comes to “true” team sports, like football. Coaching and scouting in football is so much fun due to the many different types of styles (schemes) that the game can be played. During my free time I enjoy spending time with my family and reading. I am a fairly simple person and also kind of a private person. I guess that is why I like to read, learn and study because I can do it on my own time.
You hit the first homerun out of Coors Field in Denver, can you recall the series of pitches and the homerun itself?
Billy Swift, a sinker down but over the plate. I hit it very hard, barreled it, but it was not hit that high, and off the bat I was sure it was nothing more than a line drive out to the CF or possibly a double over his head? Honestly, I was stunned when I saw that it was a home run! It is a special memory as there is only one first time; and Denver is a sweet city and a beautiful ballpark. I do remember it being a little cold … or a lot cold!!
You were the #1 draft pick by the Tigers in 1988. What was that process like?
I was all set and prepared to go to Clemson to play QB and football for them. I signed a National Letter of Intent with Clemson after a long recruiting process (football). I was a football player first and took official visits nation-wide. When I was chosen #1 by Detroit I was very surprised, and it changed my thinking. I was so humbled and honored to be their first pick in the MLB draft that they had my loyalty from that moment forward. I missed going to Clemson very much however because of my love for football and I really liked the coach there, Danny Ford. It was a very difficult decision for me. I could have tried to do both perhaps looking back, but I wanted my focus to be on one thing and then go for it!! I wish I would have played college, and maybe NFL, football however. But I don’t regret my decision to play baseball because it taught me so much and I really loved playing in the big leagues … not so much so in the minor leagues.
The biggest bummer for me was not being on a championship, World Series team. Team awards and team accomplishments are what excite me, not so much individual things. There were certainly some very memorable individual moments however: first big league game (1992 in Detroit vs. Toronto, August 8th), a game-winning grand slam with the Red Sox, and then hitting my 100th career HR vs. the NYM … something I would not have thought as possible with all my health issues, injuries, etc. So that was very gratifying personally, but I wish that I would have been on a World Series championship team.
Who was the toughest pitcher you faced?
Pedro Martinez (in his prime) was absolutely filthy!! He could do so many things well and he had a nasty side too. Pedro was very good. Randy Johnson made life as a hitter, a LHH, a nightmare as well; and Kevin Brown (in his prime) was a difficult night although you knew as a hitter that he would challenge you with hard stuff consistently. It’s just that his FB had wicked late life along with power and velocity.
I’m going to name a few players. Please describe them for us.
1. Jamie Moyer-
Played with Jamie in Toledo when he was trying to make his comeback into pro ball … boy, did he ever!! Intelligent, crafty, clever and determined to succeed. Jamie defines what pitching is: command, deception, changing speed on every pitch type, unpredictable and he really competes!!
2. Arnie Beyeler-
Loves baseball. Passionate teacher, smart, dedicated to making players better and always thinking the game. Arnie is a great friend to this day and when we played together in the Tigers system he was kind of a mentor to me … Arnie was like a coach as a teammate. I love Arnie!!
3. Chipper Jones-
Athletic, very intelligent (always had a smart game-plan going into games) and confident. Chipper had that “it” factor that all the great one’s seem to have. I respected him as an opponent always and then even more so when I was fortunate to be on his team in 2001.
4. Ken Caminiti-
Extremely talented and gifted player. Ken was a supreme competitor and always strived to be the best. Before his arm injury he had as strong an arm as any 3B I saw in the game. He was a play-maker both on offense and defense. Ken would play hurt too, he was so tough and determined to succeed. All he wanted to do was win!!
5. Sparky Anderson-
Difficult on younger players and not always trustworthy. It was a bumpy ride experience for me personally with him. But Sparky was brilliant in his own unique way, and he always had a plan for everything and every player. If you were a veteran player you loved playing for Sparky. So when I got the chance to play for him as a Rookie, it was not that smooth … although, there were some moments in time when he went out of his way to teach me some things that were helpful, but he was not in the game at the MLB level to develop players, he wanted to manage “finished products” (players and teams) so to speak. Sparky was a winner.
6. Brett Butler-
Terrific person and the perfect leadoff type of hitter. Bugsy is a good friend of mine to this day and we keep in touch. We are very close, like brothers. Brett lives to help others!! I admire his selflessness and enthusiasm for making other players better; and also making other people better people off the field. We are both Christians and he has been a mentor for me, a true friend. Brett will make a very good MLB manager someday and someday soon. Brett is a champion all-around person.
What advice would you give to the younger players?
Be humble, listen & learn. Develop a very strong work ethic and don’t let the difficult days in baseball get you down, keep pushing!! It is a difficult sport, a sport that really can never be mastered so understand that there is continuous learning; and always be a willing student of the game no matter the level you reach.
Are you still scouting for the Rays? and if so what is a scouts life like?
I’m not scouting this season as I recently had a second knee replacement. I am taking the year off, or at least that’s the current plan. I may investigate getting back into college football coaching also.
Scouting is a terrific profession, I love it!! Player evaluation, team-building, and all the things that go along with scouting are very cool. I could easily scout for the rest of my baseball life and be very happy. You have to be willing to travel and spend time alone, which I like doing personally. Breaking down players and evaluating talent is at the very core of what baseball is all about. Love it!!
Please give us your top 5 favorite songs (artists) of all-time.
2. Lord of the Rings soundtrack
3. Gladiator soundtrack
4. (Song) Return of the Mack
5. Stephen Curtis Chapman
Rico, thanks for taking the time.
For some baseball fans the DH is the worst thing to ever happen to baseball and for others they wish the DH was used everywhere. Listen in tonight as the 9 Inning Crew gives their thoughts on the DH and whether or not Major League Baseball should consider contraction of some teams.
Check out the 9 Inning Facebook Page for photos, discussions and updates on the blog and radio show.
9 Inning Baseball Talk is brought to you by 9inningknowitall.com Baseball Talk For Baseball Fans. Bringing you more baseball from the Little Leagues to the Big Leagues. If it’s baseball it’s good enough for us.