Braves Part Ways With On-Field Reporter, Kelsey Wingert

After four full seasons as a Braves reporter, Kelsey Wingert will not return for the 2020 season.

The 27-year-old Sugar Land, Texas native has been on the field bringing Braves fans like myself the latest injury news and much more.

Wingert attended Stephen F. Austin University and Louisiana State University for college.

Thursday, the reporter posted a statement regarding her departure on her Twitter account.

Wingert started reporting for the Braves in 2016.

Kelsey, thank you for the memories, your constant updates, your love for the game and so much more.

You will be terribly missed in the dugout. I believe I speak for all of us when I say, we love you from the bottom of our hearts.

Thank you for your willingness to work with Atlanta for the past four seasons. Braves Country won’t be the same without you.

In closing I say, you will always be welcomed to Atlanta with open arms.

Best of luck in your future endeavors.

Chop On forever.

Kelsey Wingert’s statement regarding her departure which was posted to Twitter Thursday afternoon. Source: Twitter.
Source: The Athletic.

Baseball Shuts Out Class 7A Powerhouse 2-0, Improves to (2-1) On Season

Monday night, the Class 7A Hewitt-Trussville Huskies visited Bazemore Field and left with a sour taste in their mouths.

The scoring began and ended in the bottom of the second inning when the Indians got a one-out double from the second batter who was brought home on a Doug Johnson single.

Johnson was brought home a batter later and the rest of the game was a 2-0 stalemate.

Some of you may ask “How is Hewitt-Trussville a 7A powerhouse this early in the season?” Well here’s your answer.

Last year, Jeff Mauldin, the Huskies head coach led his ball club to the semifinals, where they were swept by the Bob Jones Patriots and thus, ousted from playoff action.

In addition to that Coach Mauldin has won 7 state titles in eight years in Trussville, Alabama, including multiple Final Four appearances.

Friday night, the Indians will return to Bazemore Field to take on the Class 7A Spain Park Jaguars in a 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. doubleheader.

3B/RHP Kyle Morrison celebrates Monday night’s victory with 1B/P Dawson Fuller and 2B Noah Jones. Picture credit: Brody Huffaker.

I Asked for it, I Got it: 14 Hours of the Game I Love

Yesterday around 6:30 a.m., I woke up and got ready for opening day of the 2020 baseball season for Wetumpka High School.

I arrived at Bazemore Field around 8:45 a.m., with ‘sleep’ still in my eyes, I knew that it would be a great day. After all, it’s not the first time that I have arrived at the field with sleep in my eyes.

I made my way into the press box for the first time in 2020 and I immediately felt like I had never left. All that was on my mind was taking care of business behind the microphone.

About 9:45, a.m., with loud music playing behind me, I walked over to the right corner of the press box, removed my hat and prayed, as I have done for seven years now.

When I finished praying I looked up and pointed to the sky, as I have done for the six years. Then I proceeded to grab the microphone and test it out for the first time this year.

As I spoke into it, I felt chills run down my spine because I knew that I had been waiting on this day since the last game of the previous season was played back in April.

The day progressed and my voice never seemed to waiver. Wetumpka lost the first game of the 11 a.m and 5p.m., doubleheader, which turned out to be an 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. doubleheader.

The sun began to set just beyond the wall in centerfield. By this time I knew that we would bounce back from defeat in game one, and we did just that, to the tune of a 13-3 win over Munford High School.

Now, most people might say “14 hours worth of baseball, that’s a lot, weren’t you tired?!?” The tiredness never hit me during the games, but when I got home at 10:45 p.m., and went to bed, there was no waking me up.

I’ve always heard, “Finish what you start and sleep once it’s done.” And I did just that.

If you want something bad enough, you have to sacrifice something, even if that means sacrificing sleep.

Tomorrow afternoon, I will be back at Bazemore Field for a 4 p.m. first pitch against the Hewitt-Trussville Huskies.

The Passing of an Icon: Infamous Rodeo Clown Lecile Harris Passes Away at age 83

It’s safe to say, rodeos will never be the same.

Thursday afternoon, it was made public on Lecile Harris’ Facebook page that the infamous daredevil went to Heaven in his sleep at the age of 83.

Harris was born in Lake Cormorant, Mississippi on November 6, 1936. where he lived until he was five-years-old. After turning five, Lecile and his parents moved to Collierville, Tennessee.

Many people didn’t know this, but Lecile Harris, best-known for attempting hilarious and often life-threatening stunts on the dirt of an arena somewhere in this country for over half a century, attend The University of Tennessee at Martin, where he was a part of the Skyhawks football team.

He got his rodeo career started as a bull rider, and then later saw himself perform some fill-in duties as a bullfighter when other bullfighters were unable to attend the show for one reason or another.

When I was a kid, maybe around the age of three or four, my parents took my brother and I to the Southeastern Livestock Exposition Rodeo, which was held just up the road in Montgomery, Alabama at Garrett Coliseum, in fact that rodeo has been around for what will soon be 63 years this coming March 19-21, 2020.

My favorite part of the rodeo was the clowns, I never really was big on clowns, but there was something about Lecile that I loved.

He just seemed so friendly and quite like me in my younger days, he seemed like a daredevil.

One year in particular, I believe somewhere between 2002 and 2004, it was announced that Lecile would be in town for the rodeo.

Now, by this time, he had already made a name for himself, starring in television shows like ‘Hee Haw’ back before I was born, but I didn’t know that at the time.

It was also said that he had a surprise guest coming with him, so I begged my parents to take us, and they did.

We got to the rodeo and after the national anthem was played I screamed across the coliseum “Play Ball!” Because that’s what I had always on TV and at baseball games.

Lecile’s friend’s name was ‘Wild Child’ and boy, was that Child Wild.

He and Lecile took turns during intermission jumping ramps on Wild Child’s dirt bike.

Wild Child jumped over a piano and motorhome successfully, but then came Lecile.

He got on Wild Child’s bike, jumped the ramp, blew up the motorhome and piano, which resulted in him sending Wild Child’s bike into flames.

I felt sorry for Wild Child at this point, but Lecile thought it was hilarious. He preceded to ask Wild Child “Can I do it again?!?” To which Wild Child responded “No, absolutely not!”

If you never got the chance to see Lecile in action, let me describe him to you, he wore a black cowboy hat, red suspenders, a red plaid shirt a dark blue jacket, a blue belt and blue jeans. Nothing he wore matched. His face was painted white around the eyes, red paint on his nose and sad looking white around his mouth, he looked like Emmett Kelly.

On the other hand, Wild Child mainly wore a big yellow cowboy hat, blue on his cheeks, red paint on his nose, a yellow shirt, blue suspenders, and saggy blue jean overalls.

Needless to say, neither one cared what they looked like.

From now on when I hear thunder I will always think “Here goes Lecile attempting his stunts again.”

Lecile, please be careful in heaven, don’t attempt jump any ramps and end up blowing things up.

Rest in Peace, my friend, I’ll see you again one day.

Picture Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame.

Picture: Lufkin Daily News.

I’m Coming Back Home: If a Place Could Talk, I’d Talk to This Place for Hours on End

There are very few places where I can go and feel like I’ve escaped reality for a few hours.

In fact, there is one place in particular that I go to, not just because it’s a baseball diamond, not because there’s a press box here, not because I frequent this place a lot during this time of the year. But, because it’s the place where my dream of becoming a broadcaster came true.

What’s that place, you ask? That place is Bazemore Field, named after the late, great, Coach Stokely Bazemore, a highly successful baseball coach at my alma mater during his time at Wetumpka.

All my life, my family has called me ‘Little Stokely’, not because I’m a baseball coach, definitely not because I’m good at math, but because I remember statistics just like he did and because I often sit with my left leg over my right, just like he did.

So, it’s only fitting that my dream came to fruition here. Not only did my dream come true here, I also have countless memories here ranging back before my career as a broadcaster came to be.

I’ve been behind the microphone at Bazemore Field and several other places, not just in Wetumpka over the past six years, but none of them have quite felt like home like “The Baze.”

My dad often tells me stories of his playing days under Coach Stokley Bazemore and they never get old.

Coach Bazemore had a speech impediment from what I understand, but even with that. People loved him.

I never did have the honor of meeting Coach Bazemore, but I did attend his visitation in 2008, which was in the high school Commons area, which also serves as the lunchroom.

His casket sat right in the middle if the Commons above the top step right in front of the library.

I have a feeling Stokely Bazemore and I would have become fast friends, although he probably would’ve cussed me out over my math skills, which are lacking.

In fact, the highway leading to the school and baseball field is named “Coach Stokely Bazemore Highway” in his honor.

For almost seven years, my voice has been heard through the speakers at Bazemore Field and I have no doubt that Coach is sitting in Heaven tapping his foot and doing his famous hand gesture, where his finger tips would meet each other when he was in deep thought, which chalk dust on the seat of his pants.

I like to think that he would be beaming ear-to-ear knowing that “Pahma’s” son was calling the games at the place named after him.

Pahma was his nickname for my dad, but he couldn’t say his R’s.

This coming Saturday, three days from now, I will start my seventh season as baseball broadcaster when Wetumpka kicks off the season at home against Benjamin Russell and Sweet Water at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Don’t worry coach, I’ll be home soon.

Third picture: AHSFHS.org.

A Picture Worth A Thousand Words: You Never Know Who Will Realize How Much You’ve Been Through

Last night, some friends of mine in a rock band out of Jackson, Mississippi came to town for a show in Millbrook.

I knew they were bringing a supporting act, but I didn’t really know who the supporting act was. I had heard his name several times but never really sat down and listened to his music. But from what I had heard in the past, I knew he was going to be good.

About a week or so prior to the show, I read an article from the Jackson Free Press and reached out to him to tell him I was looking forward to the show.

We talked for about two weeks, by the end of those two weeks, I knew every word to every song he sang.

His name is Chad Wesley, a blues guitarist, who is also out of Jackson, Mississippi.

Last night as I was listening to his music, I could really feel the emotions that he was pouring into his guitar as he was playing.

They just seemed to radiate throughout the room. As he finished his set, he called me over to his merch table.

When I reached the table where he was standing, I said “Good job tonight, man.”

He knew my story because I told him my story two weeks prior. He shook my hand and gave me a “bro hug”, after that he said “I want you to meet my nephew, he has CP, you said you were born with CP (cerebral palsy), right?”

I responded “Yes sir.”

He introduced me to his nephew, Will, and then pulled me aside and told me something that I was glad to hear.

Chad said, “I love seeing people like yourself and Will just out here killing it despite the odds, it really inspires me.”

At this point, all I could think was “Wow, he seems really inspired.” As time went by, the bassist for Chad’s band, Michael Bernard, called me over to the table where he was sitting.

Michael and I talked for a while and then he asked to meet my dad, brother, and my brother’s girlfriend, who were there also.

I walked Michael over to the table and introduced him to all three of them.

After a while, Chad came and sat beside me, I took the opportunity to ask him for a picture, to which he quickly responded “Absolutely.”

As he was leaving, he walked up to me, shook my hand and said “It was nice to meet you brother, be safe.”

You see, it’s not all about me, it’s not about what I’ve been through.

It’s about inspiring others, young, middle-aged and old to continue to strive for the best in life, because you never know what people are going through, so be positive.

You never know, your words and your story may help save somebody’s life or in Chad’s case, inspire them to be the best that they possibly can.

Shine a light in this dark world.

Happy 86th Birthday to the Real Home Run King

Hank Aaron the former Milwaukee Brave and Atlanta Brave, was born on February 5, 1934, in Mobile, Alabama.

Henry Louis ‘Hank’ Aaron, later known as ‘Hammerin’ Hank’ wasn’t born into wealth. In fact, in a podcast that I listened to recently, Aaron stated, “My parents couldn’t afford to buy a bat, they couldn’t afford to buy a ball. And so, actually, we did everything we could in order to pretend like we were playing baseball.”

Aaron stated that he and his brothers would go out into the yard with rags that were rolled up tight and throw them to each other while using a broomstick as a bat.

They would do the same with coke bottle caps.

Mobile, Alabama wasn’t the safest of places in the 1940s when Hank was growing up. In fact, according to Aaron, there were no roads, nothing but little farm roads’ he explained.

Mobile wasn’t nearly as big as it is today back when little Henry Aaron was growing up just outside of Mobile.

Even though, he grew up just a few miles outside of Mobile, he still claims Mobile, Alabama as his hometown.

Hank Aaron stated in the podcast that “Actually, I heard about it, from sleeping in the bed at night, because the Mobile Bears were farm club of the Brooklyn Dodgers, in Mobile.”

Aaron continued “I could hear the game on the radio next door, because a friend of mine would have his radio tuned to the Mobile Bears. You know I didn’t have enough money to go to game so I just listened to it.”

Little did he know at the time, that he would one day be considered one of the greatest home run hitters of all-time.

As Hank’s career was beginning, his hero, Jackie Robinson’s career was winding down.

But luckily for Hank, he was able to play against Jackie Robinson on multiple occasions.

Aaron, once a little kid from a poor family in 1940s Mobile, Alabama, became Major League Baseball’s all-time home run record holder on April 8, 1974 at the age of 40-years-old.

That day, Hank passed George Herman ‘Babe’ Ruth’s record of 714, when he sent career home run 715 over the left-center field wall.

Aaron would end his career with 755 home runs. He would hold onto the home run crown until 2007, when Barry Bonds passed him by hitting his 756th home run.

That, of course, was with the help of PEDs, so in my mind, Hank Aaron is still the greatest home run hitter of all-time.

Today, Hammerin’ Hank Aaron still serves with the Atlanta Braves as the team’s Senior Vice President. Happy 86th Birthday, Hank, we love you.

Picture: (baseballhall.org)