Results tagged ‘ Fisher ’

2010 Toby Hall & Friends Golf Classic

 

                                      
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Have to say I had a more than a fantastic time yesterday during the 2010 Toby Hall Golf Classic. Saw a lot of old baseball friends, and met a few new ones during the event and the social times later at the awards presntation and silent auction at the Courtside Grille. It is funny how I was just standing there helping both the participants and the celebrities get their correct size Addias shoes for the event, and so many people just seemed so glad to see me at the event. And that what makes that day an instant classic memory.
People were fast to extend their hand for a handshake or do a little chatting with me about a multitude of subjects before heading out for a round of golf. I felt like I belonged yesterday in that environment, and I thank everyone for that. But then again, I never been known to be a isolated hermit and I do tend to be a bit too outgoing at times.

But there were also some people missing that I had hoped to check up on and see how things were going with them, but they had to take a “rain check” on the event because of some great news and unexpected events. Within the first few minutes I learned that ex-Rays slugger Jonny Gomes was going to miss the classic because he had just joined the exclusive “Dad’s Club” after having a baby girl. And that former Ray Rocco Baldelli was going to to miss the event after some travel fatigue following his recent trip to Europe.

And  that Rays centerfielder B J Upton, who also has his own golf event this week was actually  currently up in New York filming a segment on the MLB Network that is  making the video rounds on the Internet today. But also former WWE wrestler and Rays fanatic Brian Knobs was also AWOL for the event because of scheduling conflicts. But the classic also had some very familiar faces to local Tampa Bay fans such as World Champion boxer Winky Wright and former players of the Tampa Bay Bucs like Mike Alstott, Anthony Becht,Matt Bryant, and Matt O’Dwyer. 

           
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Current Bucs players Clinton Smith, Kevin Carter and Sheldon Quarles also came out to support the classic which was working closely with the Miracle League of Florida to raise $ 250,000 to help construct a state of the art facility in Hillsborough County(Tampa area) for physically challenged kids to get the opportunity to enjoy the game of baseball. But mostly it was the Major League Baseball contingency, that included a lot of local home grown MLB talent coming out to support the cause and to have a great round of golf with their fellow MLB players. 

And the Rays had several players come out and show support like Dan Wheeler,Andy Sonnanstine(who was late, but got into speed mode and completed the course),and James Shields. The Rays Coaching staff also had golfing fanatic (Third Base Coach) Tom Foley out representing the Rays staff. Former Rays players showed up and support their former Rays catcher in his foundation’s drive to help the Miracle League of Florida reach their goal.

Former Rays players like Trever Miller (Cards),Miguel Cairo, Jorge Cantu (Marlins) Chuck Hernandez (Coach), and retired Rays players like Doug Creek, Roberto Henandez and Jason Romano were all on hand to play in the Scramble format classic. Local baseball talents like pitcher Jesse Litsche (Toronto),Casey Kotchman (Seattle),Boof Bonser ( Boston), Gavin Floyd (Chicago White Sox), Denard Span (Minnesota). Also in attendance was a excited and totally gung ho Yankee prospect pitcher Christian Garcia that was loving the day on the Bayou Club Golf Course even with it wild conditions. 

       
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The media was also not forgotten as local radio host Fisher and the Rays own Todd Kalas were on-hand to show that the Rays voices in the poressbox and on the air waves were also represented in the classic. Former MLB players Darnell Coles and Casey Cox  were also playing for the great cause. And during the event I found out that Romano had actually retired and was now working closely with Speed Gel, which is a cream that can help reduce inflamation, help heal injuries and relieve  common musle pain.

But Span, who doesn’t play golf, actually stayed in the clubhouse and we spoke on a always expanding round of subjects, some not baseball related. Span actually chuckled when I mentioned where I sat and remembered me and how persistent I was to get his autograph. Always a compliment if a fan can leave an impression on a player. Well, I think so. 

I asked Span about the new Twins digs set to open up this Spring, and we both were in agreement that the turf might be rough until May before it has some give and take while playing on it. He also acknowledged that the Twins might lose some homefield advantage for a few homestands until they also got to know all the nooks and crannies of playing this new stadium. But I also found out he also played football as a wide reciever before he was drafted into the MLB. Span actually laughed when I told him I took the football route and should have picked baseball.  

And it was a great day on the links and in the clubhouse getting to know Span and other golfers’ in between holes chatting about the game and  things outside the game. And even if the day did stay a bit blustery with huge wind gusts, it was  a great event I will never forget. From the  game of cart tag near the end of the event, to the congestion of golf carts at the check-in point where everyone seemed more than happy to stay around  and talk or make post-classic plans at Courtside Grille, the day just seems to fly by in no time and the classic was over
on the links for 2010.

And I have to say I have not volunteered for  a golfing event since I used to help out with the Emerald Coast Golf Classic (Senior PGA) up in Milton, Florida. But I would be more than willing to give time and my energies to events like this anytime and anywhere. Sure I might have started out just being the guy who help get everyone in their Addias golf shoes, but by the end of the day, I was part of the great day and wild times that will live on inpictures and conversations. 

                  
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And that is what these events are really all about. Letting go and just enjoying the day and the wide variety of athletes chasing a small white ball and bringing a possible life changing moment to children of the Miracle Leagues of Florida to experience teamwork and being teammates while enjoying playing baseball themselves.

Several times that day Hall made sure to come by and thank me for my time, but in reality I did not need thanks, I was more than happy to give what I could to this former Rays that I  will always consider a “baseball buddy”. Hall is the type of player I would give up almost anything to help him achieve his goal, or get that dollar amount for his cause.

 
So hopefully in 2011, I can again get a call or email from his foundation, and I will be more than eager to help out a “buddy” reach the ultimate goal for his foundation. Oh, and Toby, I am the one who needs to thank you for such a great off the field memory that I will cherish forever.

Shiver me Timbers Captain Morgan!

Well, Shiver me timbers and wash it down with a grog of rum and ale. My
adventure at this years Gasparilla Invasion sendoff will remain a huge memory
for me even after the old age and creaking bones take their toll on me. I was a
lucky contestant winner from my favorite rock station, 97X, to board and watch
the Invasion on the Captain Morgans’ flotilla.




It was a fine party boat filled with the likes of pirates and cute ladies,
and a few scalawags for good measures. Everything started out simple and quite
tranquil in the A.M. The boaters’ en mass had not gotten up yet, or gotten into
position near the Platt Street bridge when we took off from the dock at 9 A.M.




The Captain had furnished us with a “what ya want” omelette breakfast and a
nice addition fo beverages before our open seas adventures began. The Captain
greeted us on the dock and gave all the lucky souls a bag of booty to have fun
with during and after our faithful cruise. I have to admit, only the bandanna
made it home with me that day. My pirate hat and few hundred medallions were
heaved at the masses that day. the boat station right in front of us housed the
wild Krewe known as the Krewe of the Sainti Yago They had a killer DJ and the beverage of
choice, even at 8 A.M. was a slightly chilled Bud and a rum-soaked cigar. These
guys were getting primed and ready for a long day of throwing beads, coins and
anything else they could find at the parade watchers from Bayshore to the
hallows of downtown.

 


About an hour later, we were stationed by the mouth of the point and the
bevy of boats had begun to converge on us for our precious medallions and
T-shirts. Little did they know, that we were armed with water guns, balloons and
a few well placed slingshots to deliver a barrage of water, medallions and fabric
to the lucky ones to venture close to our vessel.




I had one encounter that I am truly sorry for here. I had a huge water
balloon set in my slingshot and shot it towards a boatload of woman who were,
well showing some assets, and I caught the video camera operator right in the
face as she lower the camera. I asked the captain of that vessel to come closer
and I gave her a few T-shirts and medallions for the galliant effort. Now, that
was not the first set of “assets” to be shown, imagined or filmed that day. I
can attest to being a bit befuttled for a few second when a boatload of 20 woman
did a shirt salute to our vessel that made the Captain glad to be an American.



We were using the water cannons ans slingshots to get our fellow Krewes wet
and ready for the upcoming day. It was a blast that I will never forget. It will
be a true memory that I will cherish in my old age and beyond. I got to use my
good arm to sling a few hundred medallons, and I still have really good aim.
I had the pleasure of meeting my local Morning show host, Fisher that day,
and he was a great guy to talk to about the Rays, and to show how to use the
slingshot to his advantage. He was a gracious host with the Captain. He had a
event the night before at a local bowling hall, Splitsville, that probably did
not end early, or too late for him and his crew.


 


I know the Captain provided us with lunch, but I was having too good of a
time drinking my new favorite rum, “Captain Morgan’s Tattoo”, and watching the
festivities from my high perch. The sights and sound of the Invasion are
incredible, ans worth all the early effort and planning to get out there and ride
in with the Mystic Krewe


 

     

 

We were lucky enough to be only a few boats back of the main boat and had a
thrilling time just waving and throwing beads to the boats slowly cruising up
the shipping channel with  the vessels.
As we neared the Harbor Island area again, the scene was a bit different this
time. Where at 9 A.M. I could swing an anchor around and only hit air, now was a
zoo of beer and babes wanting our beads and medallions.

                       



I know now how the Krewes feel on those boats and parade floats seeing the
masses and masses of people all day long until you finally see the end and just
faint from the excitement and.maybe a few well timed beverages during the trip.
We were slowly getting to the dock again that was vacant when we shoved off, but
now held hundreds of souls waiting anything we could throw to them.


                                    

 


I got carried away and threw my bandanna to a cute multi-colored haired wench who put it
right on her head and paraded around the dock with it. We threw cups, hats,
bandannas’, and the occasional Captain Morgan’s medallions to the masses wanting
everything we had that day. We got off the boat to a hero’s welcome and I rambled out into the day
looking for a great place to catch a few hundred beads. I picked a spot near the
end of the parade route and made sure to have my Captain Morgan’s shirt on, and
a Captain Morgans banner that I ” borrowed” from the boat.


I had a ball getting beads for the kids around me, and the
“Rays” floats pelted me with bags of beads that I threw to the kids and older
kids( like me) around my parade area. I was feeling like a true spirit that day.
Having the time of my life and wishing someone else was there with me the entire
time. She had to stay home that day and watch the kids, but she was with me in
spirit the entire time.

 

Well, maybe not while I was watching the many “assets” being shown that
day………just kidding. I was feeling great and started to walk back to the
98Rock stage to see the AC/DC cover band when the brunette I threw the hat at
gave me a 6-pack of really good beer( my favorite), and told me I had made her
day by throwing the hat to her. I enjoyed the thought of making a great memory for someone else, and I am
planning on again being a member of the Captains’ crew, if fate deems it for me.
It was a great day.


I got a few hundred beads and met a lot of great new friends and hopefully
future revelers in the Captains good times.


If you ever get the chance to sit by the waterside, or get on a friends’ boat
and hit the Bay for the Gasparilla Invasion, you should run with it. It is an adventure you will not regret, and it will
give you stories for years and years about all the great times on the water that
day. So, mark you calendar for the event in 2009.

 The Superbowl will be in Tampa next year, and I guess the Invasion will take
place the day before the big event to make it a weekend to remember for all of
us, and the NFL visitors. I have to go now to the local rum shop and look for my
favorite “tattoo.” It left a true mark on my taste buds. Arggggggggggggggggggg!

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