Darius Kasparaitis inducted into the Russian Hockey Hall of Fame

02/26/2016 11:24 AM - Devo

If you didn’t already know, Darius Kasparaitis is one of the greatest hockey players the game has ever witnessed.

His accomplished were recognized as he was inducted into the Russian Hockey Hall of Fame on February 19, 2016. Kasparaitis joins 145 of Russia’s best who, upon the creation of the new Hall of Fame in Moscow, received the designation of Honored Master of Sports.

We were lucky enough to speak to one of the best regarding his induction and how his life in hockey prepared him to become a success outside of the arena.

The GM’s Perspective: Obviously, your induction into the Russian Hockey Hall of Fame is a massive honour and I can’t imagine what this means to you. What are your thoughts on this as its caps off a superb career?

Darius Kasparaitis: I’m very honoured to be inducted and it’s always great to be recognized. I spent my whole international career playing for Russia. Even though I’m Lithuanian and we had no hockey, it’s an honour to be with the greats of Russia.

GMs: When you look back on your career and all the players that you’ve played with and against, what got you to this point? I know the last time we spoke we discussed leadership and attributes, but how did you become one of the all-time greats?

DK: It’s the hardwork. I came from Lithuania and I worked hard. I don’t know why, but I’ve done that ever since I was a little kid. The moment I started skating something inside of me made me want to become a better player than the guy next to me. Usually before school I would hit the ice and nobody else would show up. I would workout on my own. I hated it. Sometimes I would be so tired after, but I did it anyways.

I think I’m talented and I have a very competitive spirit in me. I still have it and I don’t think it will ever go away. At the same time, you can be talented and successful, but you need the hardwork to go along with it. I’ve seen talented players in my life that didn’t do anything because they didn’t want to work hard.

GMs: With everything that you’ve done in your career, what stands out from everything else?

DK: Winning an Olympic gold medal is pretty awesome. Before that I was named best defenceman in the World Junior Championships, which is amazing considering I didn’t come from a rich hockey country and, of course, when I scored the Game 7 overtime goal against the Buffalo Sabres as a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins. If you ask a lot of star players if they’ve ever scored a Game 7 overtime goal, not a lot of people have ever done that. Being the guy who’s known as a stay at home defenceman and a rough and tough type player, scores an OT winner in Game 7 is pretty amazing.

GMs: Like you said, not a lot of people have done that and it’s something that you’re never going to forget.

GMs: It may not be noticed, but do you think the leadership qualities you developed over the course of your playing career carry over to your work at Verzasca Group?

DK: I think in life you have a to have a good sense of humour, but also have to be serious when you need to be. My ideas may not be the best for the company, but when you have a great team behind you, you try to bring things together to make it work. That’s what I bring to the table. I sort of grew up in the locker room and you learn a lot of things and joke around with each other. I still have that ability, but the most important thing is to be open-minded.  That comes with age. When you’re younger you think you know everything and you don’t want to listen to the coach and want to do your own thing. Now, being in business and looking back on my career, I wish I listened to the coach more often and to be more humble and to be more sensitive to the things around you.

GMs: Not a lot of people would be so forthcoming about the changes they would’ve made. It shows what type of person you are. You’re looking out for the best interests, of not only yourself, but also the people around you.

GMs: I read somewhere that you thinking about at a comeback. Is that true?

DK: Ya! I’m going to Lithuania to play a couple games in the National Championship. I never represented Lithuanian at the national level of play. I was born and raised there and deep down inside you are who you are. Playing for my team will put the finishing touches on my career. If I could 1, 2 or 3 games and say “you know what, I played for both countries at a high level”. I started in Lithuania and that’s where I want to finish it. If my health allows me to I can accomplish that. It would be amazing thing. I keep thinking about it. My wife tells me to forget about it. She tells me I don’t have to prove anything to anyone. I think she doesn’t want me to get hurt.

When you play you always want to be the best. If I play in 2018 when I’m 46 years old, I still want to be the best player on the ice. Unfortunately age is age. You can’t lie about 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

 

Former Red Sox outfielder signs Indy deal with Sioux City

02/20/2016 7:44 AM - Devo

Former Boston Red Sox outfielder Ryan Kalish has signed an independent deal with the American Association's Sioux City Explorers.

The Explorers who are coming off their best season to date, signed Kalish who brings with him a pedigree that provides the team with a veteran presence and fantastic attributes.

"We're obviously very excited to have Kalish in an X's uniform as he's played at the highest level of baseball for 3 years", stated X's 3rd year field manager Steve Montgomery. "He'll bring leadership on the field and in our clubhouse and has a very good work ethic as well. We like how he plays the game hard, the right way and hope that rubs off on our younger players."

Originally drafted by the Red Sox in the 9th round of the 2006 MLB June Amateur Draft from Red Bank Catholic HS, the eight-year vet has been successful at every level he's played. In his first Major League game he recorded his first MLB hit of Indy alumni, Max Scherzer. And in his first 16 at-bats went 8-16 including hitting his first home run at Yankee Stadium.

In parts of three MLB seasons, Kalish batted .245 with four home runs and 34 RBI's. He spent 37 games with the Chicago Cubs, but the majority was spent with the Red Sox. With just a small sample size of what he can do, all you have to do is look at his minor league numbers to fully understand his talent. In over 700 professional appearances he's batted .271 with a solid .353 OBP. Over 30 percent of his 653 hits have gone for extra bases. 

Still relatively young at 27, Kalish has a legitimate shot of punishing independent league pitching. The experience he brings to the table will rub off on the rest of the players. They will witness someone who could springboard back into affiliated ball within a few weeks. For someone who has been compared to Grady Sizemore, Hunter Pence, and Darin Erstad, the Explorers and their fans may not realize the type of talent they've acquired.

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

Cricket star Kieran Powell continues on his path to an MLB contract

02/13/2016 4:49 AM - Devo

With tryouts held for the New York Yankees, New York Mets, Milwaukee Brewers, Pittsburgh Pirates and 10 other MLB teams under his belt, Kieran Powell’s baseball skills have been improving each and everyday. The GM’s Perspective spoke with the former cricket star about his post tryout training and how he keeps his focus amid all the publicity.

The GM’s Perspective: It’s been a few weeks since we last talked, how did the private tryouts with the Mets and the Brewers and the workout in front of 14 MLB teams go?

Kieran Powell: The private tryouts were very good and the overall workout was good as well. The feedback that we got at the workout from some of the teams was that they’ve only seen me the one time so they’d like to see me against live pitching. We’re currently trying to arrange that for teams that are interested so that they can get a better assessment of my skills. Unlike the Dodgers, the Cubs and the Tigers who have been watching my progress from the very beginning, not all the other teams had seen my transition until my workout . Overall, everything has been good.

GMs: You mentioned that you are currently doing some interviews, specifically with MLB.com. Is that a feature or a follow-up from the recent tryouts?

KP: That’s a feature they’re preparing and should be airing next week. They came down from New York to film and its been great fun working with them. I’ve just finished some filming with them today and will be doing some more with them tomorrow.

GMs: What has the response been from other athletes that you have been working with? Your photo with New York Mets All-Star third baseman David Wright got a lot of attention and you’ve recently been working with the same people who have coached Alex Rodriguez.

KP: Everyone has been extremely positive. Everyone who meets me tells me they’ve been following my journey, but also to enjoy this and not to put any undue pressure on myself. It’s already a tough enough sport so enjoy the experience.

GMs: How have you found the support from your fans? It must be very emotional knowing you have people from all over the world who are rooting for you.

KP: All the support and the interest has been great. I’m really grateful for everyone whose been supporting me, but it all starts with my manager, Emma Everett. She’s the one who gives me the most support and none of this is possible without her. I’m happy with where we’re at and happy where we’re going with this.

GMs: Last time we spoke, you talked about bad habits. Is that still your biggest concern between cricket/baseball fundamentals? What’s been the most positive trend you've experienced?

KP: Since the last time we had a chat, many things have changed. Where I was last week is not where I was last month. And where I’m at today is not where I’m going to be next week. I’ve learned quickly and I’ve been improving every single day.

I would say the biggest constant is body position. Getting my body into the right position and getting my body comfortable being in certain positions that I wasn’t necessarily used to when playing cricket.

GMs: Has anything surprised you?

KP: Not really. I’m expecting it to be different. I’ve started to hit off of the curveball machine. That’s been the most interesting part of it so far. Timing is something I continue to focus on.

GMs: With Spring Training about to ramp up, what’s next for Kieran Powell?

KP: Obviously, we’d like to sign a contract and head off to Spring Training. I’ll leave the negotiations up to my manager. As I said previously, none of this happens without her and infact, she is flying off to meet with one of the MLB teams this weekend. We are definitely looking to get a move on with the start of the season drawing near but we are keen to ensure the offer I take is one that will give both me and the team the best growth opportunity.

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

Tommy Bahama celebrates future Hall of Famer David Ortiz

02/07/2016 9:18 AM - Devo

Tommy Bahama's 2016 MLB "Collector's Edition" shirt features future Hall of Famer David Oritz. The three-time World Champion and nine-time All-Star's final season will be honoured in style as only Tommy knows how.

Doug Wood, Tommy Bahama CEO, is thrilled with the latest edition to their collection. The relationship with Major League Baseball only continues to grow stronger with such a stunning product.

"We are so excited to be able to develop a special ‘Collector’s Edition’ shirt honoring David Ortiz’s amazing career,” said Doug Wood, CEO of Tommy Bahama. “It’s projects like this one, that have made our long-standing partnership with Major League Baseball so rewarding.”

The shirt will feature Ortiz's classic follow through immortalized on print with historic Fenway Park in the background. Approximately 600 of these shirts will be produced with 20 percent of the sales going towards the David Ortiz Children's Fund

The Tommy experience continues when they will host a special event at the Tommy Bahama Restaurant, Bar & Store in Naples, FL. The Boston Red Sox legend's attendance is expected and he will likely participate in an exclusive autograph session.

“I’m excited to announce the partnership with my guys at Tommy Bahama,” said David Ortiz. “The event and these unique shirts are a great way to kick off my final season in the Major Leagues.”

To be featured on one of these limited edition collector's shirts is impressive enough, but Ortiz becomes the first active player to be showcased. Other limited edition prints include Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, and Jackie Robinson. Truly a remarkable feat.

You can see more of Tommy Bahama and their MLB Collection here.

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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