Warren Morris delivers the greatest walk off in college history

12/02/2016 7:22 AM - Devo

There's never really anything better than watching that one play that turns a game around, turns the momentum, and is absolutely epic in the moment.

College athletics has a different feel to it. I admit, watching the Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians was what we all wanted. They turned in a Game 7 for the ages, but something gets lost in all the excitement. When all is said and done, the end of the playoffs means contract negotiating and labour strife. The players saying that it's all about the game and hometown discounts are making decisions based purely on the dollar bill.

Look at the Michigan/Ohio State game last Saturday. Playoff hopes were on the line, bragging rights were at stake, and amateurs were making countless blunders on the biggest stage in the world and it couldn't have been any better. There's an innocence behind the machine that is collegiate sports. Watching Tom Brady flawlessly pick apart defences is a thing of beauty, but watching college players make multiple mistakes and get back back up after feeling the wrath of their peers is somehow more important.

Most of us never get that shining moment but we all have that dream of being the champ even if it's for a short time. I always go back to my college days and remember just how much that had an impact on my life. Of course I wanted to play pro, but the thought of money or stardom was never the motivating factor when I was on the field. I wanted to compete against my peers. I wanted to win. I wanted to be the best person to step on that mound at that exact time. We all love our sports, and there's so many flashes of brilliance that it's almost impossible to choose the greatest, but i'm gonna pick my favourite, the one I believe epitomises everything about what makes those days so appealing.

In the summer 1996 I was entering my last year of high school and beginning the process of applying to US schools and trying to land a scholarship. I was sitting on my parents living room floor watching the Miami Hurricanes battle the LSU Tigers in the College World Series. Obviously it was a great game, but little did I know I'd be witnessing history.

Robbie Morrison, probably the greatest closer in Hurricane history, picked the wrong time for his first blown save of the year. Warren Morris, the number nine hitter who missed 39 games due to a wrist injury, hits a game winning two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth to give the Tigers their 3rd championship of the 90's. It was also his first home run of the year. I challenge you not to get goosebumps when you watch it...it's impossible. The home run is so epic, it's immortalized outside of TD Ameritrade Park Omaha. Morris' blast was also featured in ESPN's SEC Storied series affectionately known as The Walk Off

When you sit back and think about it, something as simple as a long fly ball can change your life. In a split second, the player least likely to pull a rabbit out of his hat, delivers one of the most magical home runs in the history of college baseball. Automatically you visualize Bill Mazeroski's 1960 walk off, Kirk Gibson's Game 1 blast of Dennis Eckersley, and Joe Carter's World Series winner.

There's these flashes of brilliance that we only see so often but when we do they are ingrained in us for a lifetime. I can still see it to this day, sitting there thinking Morrison had this in the bag. With no ill will toward the Hurricanes closer, I'm glad I was wrong.

Devon is the Founder and Executive Director of The GM's Perspective. He is a former professional baseball player with the River City Rascals & Gateway Grizzlies. Currently, Devon is a Manager at a financial institution in Northern Ontario Canada, and can be reached at devon@thegmsperspective.com. You can follow The GM's Perspective on twitter and Facebook. His full bio can be seen here

 

Mariners and Marlins make headlines inking Indy all-stars

11/22/2016 9:30 PM - Devo

Despite playing in only 85 games, Somerset Patriots' David Vidal was one of the best players in the Atlantic League. He was so good that the Miami Marlins signed him to a minor league contract.

Vidal is no stranger to the pro game. He was originally drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in the 8th round of the 2010 MLB June Amateur Draft and played within their organization for four years making it to Double A. His best year came in 2011 when he hit 20 home runs and drove in 85. The .280 batting average and .847 OPS were career highs until his breakout 2016 campaign.

In his second season in Somerset, Vidal seemingly put it all together after some tough years where he struggled to hit for average and power. His 26 homers in 2016 not only led the Patriots, but was good enough for second in the league behind Jeremy Barfield who topped out at 27 and who also played in 50 more games. 

Many people may overlook these independent league statistics, but once again this is the proving ground for players resurrecting their careers. Even those players not drafted can make a name for themselves to scouts everywhere. 

Just this past week, the Seattle Mariners signed American Association Pitcher of the Year, Lindsey Caughel. Caughel was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in the 35th round of the 2011 MLB June Amateur Draft from Stetson University but did not sign. He was drafted again in 2012, this time by the Los Angeles Dodgers, where he spent the last four years. In 293 innings, he went 17-19 with a 3.72 ERA. Labrum surgery cost him almost all of 2015, all but three innings to be exact. Since, he hooked up with Lincoln Saltdogs (traded to the Sioux City Explorers November 16) and things couldn't have gone any better. 

He was named POY and lead the league with a 2.09 ERA and tied for fourth in K's with 120. In addition, he walked a paltry 24 batters and sported a 5.00 SO/W ratio. It's not that hard to figure out why he got noticed. Fully recovered from surgery and ranked 7th on Baseball America's top Independent League prospect list, there's no telling what he's got planned for 2017.

Devon is the Founder and Executive Director of The GM's Perspective. He is a former professional baseball player with the River City Rascals & Gateway Grizzlies. Currently, Devon is a Manager at a financial institution in Northern Ontario Canada, and can be reached at devon@thegmsperspective.com. You can follow The GM's Perspective on twitter and Facebook. His full bio can be seen here

 

 

 

From the brink and back: Indiana Hoosier Todd Jadlow finds his way

11/13/2016 9:46 PM - Devo

You'd think that being a champion at anything would be all that you could ask for. Unfortunately, that's not always the case. 

Todd Jadlow played over 10 years of professional basketball and is widely known for being a part of the 1986-1987 Indiana Hoosiers basketball team that won the NCAA Championship under legendary coach Bobby Knight. He's experienced many highs and lows in his life. From the glory years at Indiana to battling drug and alcohol addiction, he's literally seen the worst that can happen if you let things get out of control.

He recently released a book called Jadlow: On The Rebound, It's a cautionary tale of what lies ahead if you make the wrong decisions. Not only can you hurt yourself, but you can hurt the ones you love the most.

Jadlow opened up to The GM's Perspective about his road from stardom to a point in his life where he only had one final choice to make.

The GM’s Perspective: In your book, you brought to light some pretty frightening experiences of your time playing for Coach Knight specifically punched in the back of your head with a closed fist before a tournament game, hit over your head with a clipboard during a 1989 game and grabbed you so hard that he bruised your side.

Now, Knight is revered as a coaching legend, but after all that happened, do you regret your time at Indiana?

Todd Jadlow: No, not at all. What happened at Indiana occurred in a different era at a different time. I think it was a time of tough love, a time of discipline and a time of listening and understanding. It was certainly a different era than it is today, especially the way things were handled and the way things went on. But I certainly have no regrets whatsoever of winning a National Championship and two Big Ten titles. I don't think anyone would regret that by any means as well as playing for somebody as brilliant as coach Knight.

GMs: It has been said Knight thought of you as one of his favorite players and after Knight's firing you were quoted as saying "I don't know what I'm going to do with all my Indiana stuff. I'm sure not going to be wearing anything Indiana. For the first time in my life I'm ashamed to say that I'm a graduate of Indiana. I, personally, don't believe the two-faced (IU) administration… It's just sad the way things transpired. This is a guy (Knight) who should have a monument of him erected."

Has those thoughts changed after the release of your book and all the attention it has gathered recently?

TJ: Absolutely not. I still feel the exact same way. However, one thing has changed. Throughout my process of recovery, I've always had the issue with resentment. Part of me trying to move forward in life in a positive direction is being capable of understanding that all those people that had anything to do with the way coach Knights situation was handled, those people are all gone. Those people have been removed from Indiana and have no association with Indiana. It'd be in bad taste for me to hold these resentments personally and to hold this against a university that's given me the opportunity to get a first class education and the ability play on a stage with an elite basketball program that I've come to understand and respect.GMs: Most people don’t know about your life after Indiana (the good and the bad). You played, if I’m not mistaken, over 10 years of professional basketball. What was that experience like?

TD: It's a completely other world. I think even more so today than it was when I played. You are treated differently in society and making insane amounts of money in comparison to what the average person makes. Basically you're an entertainer. My whole dream growing up was to be a professional athlete. I worked hard to achieve that dream and it's something I'm very proud of. It's a profession where they say less than half of one percent actually go on to become a professional. I think it shows a lot of hardwork. determination, and dedication to one skill or craft to get to that level along with God given ability to have the talent to play.

GMs: High profile collegiate and professional basketball, but you’ve also battled drugs and alcohol addiction. Was there any one point where you thought you had a handle on this or did “sometimes” become always?

TJ: For me it was more about a lifestyle. It was all about seeking pleasure; an adrenaline rush and having fun. I never thought I had a problem and that's the reality of it. My world came crashing down after getting those four DUI's in six months. Unfortunatley I never looked at it as a problem. I looked at it simply as a way of life of having fun. In retrospect, that's obviously wrong.

GMs: When was the moment you knew you had to change your life?

TJ: The obvious answer is when I got arrested on my fourth DUI which was the second one that day. I had my two-year old daughter with me in the car going down the highway at 121 mph. They pulled me over put me in jail and set no bond. Therefore, I couldn't get out at that point in time. I knew that i'd crossed some very severe lines and there was going to be some retribution. At that point I knew I had to change my life. 

GMs: If you could do it all over again would you? Or is this how it was all meant to play out?

TJ: I firmly believe that everything happens for a reason and God has a plan for everybody. The way my story ended and the way my story began, and looking where I am now, is a blessing and a curse at the same time. Had I not went through what I went through, Lord knows where I'd be. I could've easily killed somebody, myself or one of my kids. Even though I went through some very trying times and spent almost two years incarcerated, I truly look back on it now as a blessing. 

GMs: What are you doing now to help educate others who are struggling with their own demons?

TD: My main goal is working through my foundation (The Todd Jadlow Give It Back Foundation). I travel the country speaking at high schools, universities and various function where I share my story and open up about my past and being honest about my life. It's an opportunity to let people know they're not alone. No matter how bad it gets or how dark the times are, there truly is a way to rebound or a way to recover and change that path you're going on. 

GMs: What you just said is a real eye opener. Of all the athletes I've spoken to that are dealing with things many may not understand, the underlying comment is "regardless of how bad things might be, there's always a light at the end of the tunnel".

TJ: It seems so simplistic, yet it takes almost tragedy happening for a person to get to that point where they think and they feel that way. Like I said before, when looking back, that was my situation. If those events didn't transpire the way they did, I don't know if I'd be here speaking with you today.

GMs: How can people reach out to you or follow you on social media?

TJ: You can follow me on facebook at the Todd Jadlow Give It Back Foundation, that's probably the best way. My twitter handle is @TJAY66 . We are also in the process of getting a website up and running. I also have a tonne of people, whether it be a adults or students, reaching out to me through my facebook page. I respond to each and every one. By me getting out it there and telling my story, the response I have gotten from individuals is amazing. Certainly, it becomes an open dialogue in a private setting because everything is between us and I can give them perspective. Anyone struggling, I urge them to reach out to me. I will respond within 24 hours. It's important for me to get my story out there to let people know that they're not alone. If I can help one person make a difference in their lives or possibly prevent them from going down the same path I went down, it's all worth it.

Devon is the Founder and Executive Director of The GM's Perspective. He is a former professional baseball player with the River City Rascals & Gateway Grizzlies. Currently, Devon is a Manager at a financial institution in Northern Ontario Canada, and can be reached at devon@thegmsperspective.com. You can follow The GM's Perspective on twitter and Facebook. His full bio can be seen here

 

 

Face to Face going strong after 25 years

11/06/2016 2:22 PM - Devo

After 25 years and 10 albums, Face to Face is going as strong as ever. They are currently on tour promoting their latest album "Protection" and I'm thrilled to say I will be seeing them live for the first time in Toronto this week.

I first heard about Face to Face during my freshman year at York College in 1997. Some of my teammates from California introduced me to a song called Disconnected and I have been hooked ever since. Unless you were really involved in the punk scene/community, you only had the radio. Before the Internet, our options were limited and we were curbed to the many different styles of music out there at the time. Back in the olden days, the Internet and social media really weren't even words used to describe anything. To enjoy any music on the West Coast, especially in a genre that most wouldn't consider mainstream, it was almost impossible. Bands like Face to Face, Pulley, Strung Out, and NOFX were owing the So-Cal punk rock scene and I was nowhere nearby to enjoy it.

After all these years, these punk legends continue to put out great music for the fans who truly love it. I was fortunate enough to speak with frontman and founder, Trevor Keith about his time with the band and the ever changing landscape. It allowed me a brief but fascinating glimpse into their world.

The GMs Perspective: 25 years in the music business. Did you think you’d be doing this for so long?

Trevor Keith: Honestly, I really had no expectations for how long I'd be doing this. Short answer is no. But, of course I'm really happy that we are.

GMs: You’ve don’t this a long time and toured and played with some of the best punk bands ever. What does it feel like when you playing and a sea of people know every word to every song?

TK: There's nothing else like it and pretty amazing when you think about it. It's the reason most bands do it and really the reason that keeps us going. It's the ability to communicate, in all intensive purposes, with strangers. but being able to do that on whole other level.

GMs: With the way the music business has changed, how do you and other bands stay relevant (iTunes, Spotify, SoundCloud). CD's have gone the way of the dinosaur and you can stream music almost anywhere for free?

TK: The core of it is just perseverance and never quitting.When you've been around for over 20 years as a band, you see various technologies come and go. And there's been some very tricky waters to navigate ie. with the explosion of the Internet and numerous other platforms that have gone by the wayside. It's about paying attention, being on the ball, and never being afraid to try new things.

GMs: You recently partnered with Vannen Watches for a limited edition Face to Face watch. How did that relationship start?

TK: We use the tools available to us; social media, word of mouth etc...Punk Rock used to be more of a closed knit community and limited to the "scene". You have to stay involved and know what's accessible to you. I heard Vannen put out a cool Walking Dead watch and I thought that would be a great thing for us. I literally reached out to Vannen owner, David Stowe and he was a big fan of ours. Just reach out to people.

GMs: In addition to Face to Face, you’re a writer, producer amongst other things. What drives you to keep making great music when you’ve done pretty much everything?

TK:  Music is the only thing I've ever wanted to do. I've never lost the desire for it. The landscape changes as you stay in the business longer and it's important to find new ways to stay relevant. Going back to your earlier question, it's all about that connection with people and that's what it boils down to at the end of the day. Impacting people in a positive way is what brings all of us together. This combination is what drives alot of bands.

"Protection" is getting amazing reviews and the new single "Double Crossed" is everything you could ask for as a fan. Trust me, check them out on Twitterfacebook, and live if you get a chance. 

Devon is the Founder and Executive Director of The GM's Perspective. He is a former professional baseball player with the River City Rascals & Gateway Grizzlies. Currently, Devon is a Manager at a financial institution in Northern Ontario Canada, and can be reached at devon@thegmsperspective.com. You can follow The GM's Perspective on twitter and Facebook. His full bio can be seen here

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