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.