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My one glorious day as a pro baseball player

 

As I stood nearby clad in my swamp camouflage uniform, Otey logo hat and cleats, members of the Arkansas Travelers went through a series of warmup exercises. It was a scene I have become familiar with being a sportswriter for 16 years. I was taking it in until I heard Travs strength and conditioning coach Joe Griffin yell, “You want a day in the life, get out here.” It was my “welcome-to-the-minor-leagues moment” while I spent a day with the team for an article I wrote for Sync magazine. And while Griffin was half kidding, I got my 39-year-old butt out there and stretched, jogged, threw and swung with the rest of the Travs players. Thanks to Griffin, manager Phillip Wellman, clubhouse manager Geoff Freedman and all of the other players and staff, I was a member of the team for one glorious day. As we were changing into street clothes after the game, the reality sank in that my pro baseball days were over. As I took my time getting dressed, the energetic catcher, Jett Bandy, who was two lockers down, asked, “Hey Olson, what was your favorite part of today?” I said, “Batting practice,” but really Read more >

Deadspin releases recording of angry tirade from former UALR Baseball Coach Scott Norwood

Sunbelt Conference Baseball Arkansas State vs UALR

ADG File Photo Former UALR baseball coach Scott Norwood.

Friday afternoon website Deadspin published an article that included a recording of former UALR baseball coach Scott Norwood screaming at his players with a barrage of profanity following a win (Yes, a win) against Southeast Missouri State Feb. 18. The victory pushed the Trojans to 4-0, but it didn’t keep the former coach from blasting his players with a series of F-bombs.
Twice he confronted players who answered questions he asks, and he asked pitcher Travis McDonald if he wanted to leave the team.

“Hey, Travis,” Norwood says at one point in the recording, apparently talking to pitcher Travis McDonald. “I’m right f*cking here.”
“I’m looking right at you,” someone, apparently McDonald, responds.
“You know you aren’t—don’t you f*cking talk back to me today. Get—hey, you wanna look down, then get the f*ck out of here. I’ll find someone else to pitch tomorrow. You wanna f*cking go now? There’s the f*cking door, son. Get the f*ck out if you don’t like it.”

Deadspin claims there are other recordings that capture similar rants. A player who emailed the website also allegedly accused Norwood of starting an April 2 brawl with the University … Read more >

Travs announce Bill Buckner as speaker for Texas League All-Star gala

The Arkansas Travelers announced Thursday that former Major Leaguer Bill Buckner will be the guest speaker at the Texas League All-Star gala Monday, June 23 at the Little Rock Double Tree Hotel.
Buckner played for 22 seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago Cubs, Boston Red Sox, Anaheim Angels and Kansas City Royals. Buckner totaled 2,715 hits and hit .289 for his career ad was the 1981 National League batting champion. However, Buckner is most known (unfairly) for the error he committed at first base in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series that allowed the New York Mets to tie the game and eventually win it and the series.
A limited number of tickets can be bought for $150 per seat by calling the Travs box office at 501-664-7559. No tickets will be sold at the door.
“I played my first Double-A game in Little Rock (with the Albuquerque Dodgers) so I’m looking forward to going back,” Buckner said in a release. “I liked playing in Little Rock. It has a real baseball town feel to it. I’m also excited to see Dickey-Stephens Park for the first time since I played at Ray Winder Field back in 1969.”
Buckner … Read more >

Battered Hogs could be College World Series Darkhorse

Arkansas is bruised and battered, but may be one of the more dangerous teams in the NCAA Baseball Tournament.
It looks like Arkansas will be without catcher/DH Blake Baxendale which makes it imperative that catcher Jake Wise (probable) recovers from his hand injury. It would bolster the Hogs’ chances if pitcher Jalen Beeks (questionable) is available, too.
The good news is center fielder Anddrew Benintendi and third baseman Bobby Wernes should see action.
Even with the injuries, Arkansas landed a spot in the SEC Tournament semifinals after winning 6 of 7 games to close the regular season in order to qualify for the tournament.
In the SEC Tournament, Arkansas upset Texas A&M and Top-10 ranked Ole Miss  before falling to LSU and beating Ole Miss. LSU eliminating the Hogs in the semifinals.
So, now Arkansas

Photo by Michael Woods/NWA Media

is a No. 2 seed playing No. 3 seed Liberty Friday in the Charlottesville Region. Virginia, who is 29-3 at home this season, is one of the better teams in the country, but the committee didn’t do the Cavaliers any favors placing the Hogs in that region.
UA, who is one of seven teams in the field competing in its … Read more >

Mayflower baseball team searched for teammate’s jeresey in rubble

As a tornado barreled toward Mayflower, Davis Gaffney faced a dilemma. His parents told he and his five siblings they could take two belongings with them to the tornado shelter. Gaffney, a ninth-grade baseball player, chose his baseball glove and iguana.
Unfortunately, the glove and pet were about all Gaffney had left after the tornado ripped through his house. As the family sifted though the rubble, Gaffney was unable to find his game jersey.
Mayflower coach Joe Albritton sent a text to his players asking them to help Gaffney and Garrett Taylor, whose family also lost their house, salvage personal items, including game uniforms.
Players and parents, coaches and wives spent hours searching. Albritton found the Nike jersey, which had just a small hole in it.
“I didn’t realize the the house had a second story,” Albritton says. “It was across the road in a pond. That’s where I found [the jersey].”
Gaffney, who plays on the JV squad but suits up for varsity games, was touched by how his teammates chipped in.
“It was just awesome to know they cared that much,” Gaffney says.
Gaffney proudly wore the jersey Tuesday night at Dickey-Stephens Park when the Eagles played Vilonia … Read more >