Happy Precedents Day, everyone! I'm hoping to set 3-4 great precedents today, only one of which will be that front page writers begin their stories with really lame opening paragraphs.
First and foremost, I want to steer readers to this San Francisco Chronicle piece on Lon Simmons. Lon was one of my true idols growing up, first as a young baseball fan and then as a young broadcaster. Now 89, Simmons is battling some health problems but is also still sharp as a tack.
Lon knew how much I revered him, and when I meekly asked him if he would join me for a 1/2 inning of color commentary during one of my 1988 Cactus League broadcasts, he took time out of his day off to honor my request. In my 5 years of broadcasting spring training games, my single best memory also involves Lon. It was my first year, 1987, and I was 19 years old. The experience itself, from broadcasting to a sizable audience and gaining ample media attention, to securing players to join me for commentary/interviews, was a whirlwind. When I returned home I remember sitting in my backyard, relaxing in the sun and turning on the "real broadcast" with Lon and Bill.
Out of the blue, Lon casually mentioned that "He wanted to congratulate (me) on the broadcasts -- that he had been back in the Bay Area listening in his car..." Wait, did I hear that right? Lon Simmons had turned on his radio in order to listen to me? I had spent most of my childhood turning on my radio to listen to him. He was the best in the business, and the image of him turning the dial on his radio, intentionally and on his own accord, to find and hear my play-by-play, was...Did he really just say that?
That one moment, which took place not in the Phoenix broadcast booth but rather alone in my backyard, is actually my single favorite memory from 5 years of Cactus League broadcasting. Calling an inning along side Lon, and hearing his signature baritone voice coming into my headset, is probably second. So I'd like to offer this "appreciation" to Lon while he is still alive: Thank you not only for being a tremendous play-by-play announcer, but also for being a kind and gracious man.
In other news, check out this Susan Slusser piece on Addison Russell which suggests that a September, 2014 callup, and a starting gig in 2015, may not be far-fetched.
Or if you're feeling more "SABR-y" you can look at Beyond The Boxscore's piece on Jarrod Parker's Pitch F/X data. I'm pretty sure that the graphs are taken from images of my colon and small intestine, and you'll probably conclude two things: Parker has a really good changeup, and I have about 6-8 weeks to live.