Indy Ball Weekly Perspective, October 27, 2013

10/27/2013 11:02 AM - Devo

DEVONTEEPLEINDYPERSPECTIVE.jpgWelcome to the latest Indy Ball Weekly Perspective.

  • The Winnipeg Goldeyes have been selected to host the 2014 American Association All-Star Game. This will be the third time the Goldeyes have been selected to host the Summer Classic, the first two while with the Northern League (2001, 2008). The game will be held on Wednesday July 29, 2014 at Shaw Park.
  • The Gateway Grizzlies of the Frontier League have signed Brett Williams, formerly of N.C. State. In two years with the Wolfpack, Williams batted .267 with nine home runs and 67 RBI. Originally drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 25th round of the 2011 Draft, he made one of the most ridiculous catches you have ever seen during a late February game against New Mexico State.
  • Ozzie Guillen is apparently interested coaching the Chicago White Sox and/or Chicago Cubs. It seems unlikely that may happen anytime soon, though there is another Illinois club that is willing to accept his services. The Joliet Slammers, the 2011 Frontier League champions, would obviously accept a flood of publicity for this move, but the likelihood of Guillen joining the Slammers coaching staff is a stretch of the imagination.
  • The Freedom Professional Baseball League was established in 2012 and consists of four teams throughout Arizona. League standout Matt Chavez won the league's Triple Crown. The right-handed catcher of the Prescott Montezuma Federals batted .430 with 18 home runs and 49 RBI in 39 games. These numbers caught the attention of the San Francisco Giants organization who signed him to a minor league contract. Originally drafted by the Chicago White Sox in the 44th round of the 2010 MLB June Amateur Draft, Chavez attended the University of San Francisco. Over four years, he played in 144 games batting .235 with 11 home runs. Here is another example proving that it doesn't matter where you play, if you can hit the ball, scouts will find you.

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.

Goldeyes to host American Association's All-Star Game

10/26/2013 7:20 AM - Devo

Goldeyes logo.jpgOn Thursday, the American Association announced that the Winnipeg Goldeyes will be hosting the 2014 All-Star Game. 

All the festivities begin on Monday July 28 with a fanfest and skills competition. At 7pm the following day, the AA’s best of the best take the field for the league’s first All-Star Game since 2010.

This is the third time the Goldeyes will be hosting the summer classic. Prior to that they hosted the 2001 and 2008 game while as a member of the Northern League.

More information will be available when the event draws near, in the meantime, this is icing on the cake on an otherwise standout season for a team widely considered as one of the best-run franchises in all of independent baseball.

In a location widely known for hockey, the Goldeyes are a staple of the community, they led all 48 independent teams in attendance and ranked 26th amongst 300 minor league franchises.

For more information on the Goldeyes, please visit their website, and follow them on twitter and facebook.

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.

A very personal followup with former Boston Celtic Chris Herren

10/21/2013 4:38 AM - Devo

ChrisHerren October 2013.jpgSince we last spoke, I have taken your journey to heart. It might be cliche to say, but life is too short, ultimately you just never know what might happen. Just as you are on your specific path, so am I. In April of 2012, I decided to completed my Bachelor's. 12 years after the fact, I graduated with a degree in May of 2013.

When trying to do that while working a full-time job it can be a struggle, but a struggle that I knew would end in a special moment.

In January I begin my Master's, another mountain, but one I will also conquer.

Devon Teeple: It has been well over a year since we last spoke and it is a real pleasure getting to talk to you again. Since that time, you have passed the five-year sobriety mark. Considering the path you were on before, that is really something special. I am not claiming to know about anything you are going through on a daily basis, but what does this “five-year” mark mean for you and your family?

Chris Herren: For my family it's a miracle, it's nothing short of that. The blessing of what these five years has brought to my family is amazing. One of the greatest gifts I've received in this process is watching my kids and family recover along side of me. This is a family illness. Addiction obviously attacks that person who is struggling with it, but it breaks family members hearts along with them. There's a lot of fallout and a lot of damage and I've been able, over the last five years, to repair a lot of that one day at at a time. It's come full circle, and it's special, and of anybody struggling out there, hopefully that can inspire them to chase what they want.

DT: I remember reading your book, and then following it up with your documentary shortly after, I could not even imagine what you and your family are going through. And to see everything that you are doing now to correct it, it really opens your eyes to what people can accomplish, and the difference that just one person can make.

CH: That's critical. Sometimes we box ourselves in to say we can never grow, and that we've gotten too far down to get back up. And it's never too late. I was just talking with the Celtics-I'm getting ready to do their TV games-and I said it's pretty amazing that 15 years ago I had a chance to play and blew it, but 15 years later I'm coming back to talk about it.

DT: With positives all-around you, your message and your mission has spawned some very selfless organizations; The Herren Project and its initiative; Project Purple. Project Purple was launched to break the stigma of addiction, bring awareness to the dangers of substance abuse and shed light on effective treatment practices. They have now celebrated their one-year anniversary, and in January saw over 100,000 wear purple to support the project.

What is it like seeing something so near and dear become, with its intent to help, become so popular?

CH: I would have never imagined, but I knew the need and knew there would be a demand. But the beauty of it is the hold that the students have taken amongst themselves. They are the ones making this happen. That's probably the greatest thing about it. Nobody is forcing, nobody is pushing it. The students are taking the concept/idea/message and applying it in their schools.

Chris Herren October 2013 3.jpg

DT: One thing you do is tell your story to schools and organizations all over the country. How do you find that the audience receives you once they hear what you have to say?

CH: It depends on the person sitting in that one particular seat. Some people walk away from it and say they will be much more vigilant and aware of what my kids are up to. Others may walk out and say today and tomorrow are going to be different, and I'm going to change the way I'm living. Sometimes the message gets lost in two words; heroin and cocaine. But what it all boils down to is the soul, and how you really fee about yourself. And if you felt really good about yourself, most would have a reason to change themselves. They would be able to be themselves 24/7, and that's the message that really resonates for the kids. I ask them how come they can't be themselves Friday and Saturday? You need to really understand that.

DT: With your story so widespread, have you ever had professional athletes reach out to you? And if so, what can you tell them?

CH: Of course, professional/college, actors/actresses and many others. There's a universal language in struggles. And we can all identify with that. Not many are free without ever struggling. Of all the areas and all professions I've been in contact with, that's what it's all about.

DT: I recently read that you are back in the professional basketball world, this time behind the microphone working Boston Celtics games with Danny Ainge. That must be quite a thrill? How did that opportunity present itself?

CH: The Celtics presented it to me and asked me if I was interested. I enjoy what I'm doing so much that I wasn't going to do as many games as they originally asked for. What I do today is something that I really believe in, something I'm really passionate about. I did not want to walk away from that. I agreed to do a certain amount of games (five), but it truly is a miracle that I've been able to come back. I remember I used to be ashamed of the Celtics, ashamed of whatever I had accomplished, and now it's a true blessing.

Chris Herren October 2013 2.jpg

DT: Is that something you ever thought you’d be doing and is it something you could see yourself continuing to do in the long run?

CH: You never know. If someone were to tell me I would still be speaking I would tell them they were crazy 3/4/5 years ago. When I first started this they told me you're going to do it for a little while, then once every couple of months, but I've been going five days a week for four years. I would never have imagined that. Who knows what that unlocks because of it. If anything, I want people to see a recovering heroin addict right there talking about basketball. At one point he was as low as it gets, and now he's back. It's all about inspiration. You never know who's going to turn on that TV and see one of those games.

DT: When I moved to Thunder Bay in April of 2011, one of the first things I did was hit the local book store and pick up your book Basketball Junkie. I finished it in two days, and was blown away. Since then, I have read Fall River Dreams and fully realized the pressure that was, not only on you, but other athletes that grew up in Fall River.

What is the biggest thing you hope kids take away after you speak with them? 

CH: I don't share with them to scare them. I want to make them aware that at one point I was just like them sitting in that seat and listening. And the only thing unique about my story is the Celtics. There are millions of others just like me. A few decisions can turn into a lifetime of addiction and years of consequences. I want the kids to walk out of school saying that this Friday I'm going to give myself a shot at trying to be me. This Friday night I'm going to go out and be the person I am, I'm not going to have to put a substance in tonight.

We thank Mr. Chris Herren for his time to speak to us. It's always and honor and a pleasure.

For those wanting to learn more about Chris Herren and his organizations, please visit A Hoop Dream, The Herren Project, and Project Purple. More information about his book can be found at Basketball Junkie.

You can also follow him on twitter and Facebook.

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.

Indy Ball Weekly Perspective, October 20, 2013

10/20/2013 7:34 AM - Devo

DEVONTEEPLEINDYPERSPECTIVE.jpgWelcome to the latest edition of the Indy Ball Weekly Perspective.

  •  The Sioux Falls Canaries of the American Association announced that their 2013 season was one of historic proportions. The 26 percent increase in attendance (30,590) was the second most in all of independent baseball, coming in behind the Ft. Worth Cats of United League Baseball (32,462). Since 2011, the Canaries have seen an overall increase of 115 percent and 72 percent since 2012. 2014 will be the Canaries' 22nd year in professional baseball.
  •  The Atlantic Association's St. Paul Saints have finalized a lease for their stadium, according to the Star Tribune. The terms state that most of the operating and maintenance expenses are assigned to the Saints, while giving a piece of the sale-should it be sold before 2020-to the city, as well as part of the annual proceeds. Construction is set to begin in early 2014 with a price tag over $60 million.
  • C.J. Ziegler has been named Baseball America's Independent Player of the Year. Ziegler, who was drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the 16th round of the 2008 June Amateur Draft from the University of Arizona, spent two years in the Giants organization. His best season came in 2009 batting .272 with seven home runs and 51 RBI, while splitting time between three different levels. In 2011 he joined the Traverse City Beach Bums where his career began to flourish. In four indy seasons Ziegler has a .297 career batting average, with 85 home runs and 292 RBI. In 2013 he belted and American Association record 30 home runs, ranked first in batting average (.318) and RBI (99).
  • Baseball America has also released its list of Top Ten Prospects. K.C. Serna, shortstop for the Amarillo Sox of the American Association, receives top billing. He was drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the 46th round of the 2011 MLB June Amateur draft out of the University of Oregon. Despite some off-field issues that affected his draft status, according to J.J. Cooper of BA, Serna has proven the critics wrong. Pace Perez (2), and Race Parmenter (6), who were recently signed by the Atlanta Braves, made the prestigious list, which included BA POY C.J. Ziegler (8).
  •  The Evansville Otters began play in 1995 and accomplished something they have never done. Over 140,000 passed through the gates, and the 3,200 who attended each game, led the league for the first time in their history.
  • A big congratulations goes out to the Trois-Rivieres Aigles of the Can-Am League. The first year franchise has been named Organization of the Year. The club is owned by former CY Young Award winner Eric Gagne and ex-Montreal Canadien Marc-Andre Bergeron.

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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