A Dog’s Heavenly Journey

It’s always tough losing a loved one, especially pets. Even though there may be times when we sin, those God-sent four-legged animals love us as though we have never committed a sin in our life.

Sunday night, I lost my pet. I didn’t just lose my pet, I lost my friend, my four-legged brother, my companion.

As he crossed the bridge from temporary life into eternal life, I was broken inside. I didn’t know why he had to go but I knew exactly where he was going.

My four-legged brother, friend and companion was heading straight to Heaven. As much as it hurt to see him go, I was at peace knowing that he was no longer in pain,

For he was heading to be in The House of the Lord. He was heading for eternal life. In his final hours, I saw him in pain and desperation. As I looked into his yellow eyes during those heart-wrenching hours, I saw little tears being shed from the struggle that he was going through.

He hadn’t wagged his tail all day, but when St. Peter opened the pearly gates and my four-legged brother took the first of many steps on the streets of gold, he began to finally wag his tail, as if he was telling us he was in The House of God. He was finally at peace with one paw in the Hand of God.

Pets are often thought of as God’s sinless creatures, which is the absolute truth. If you have a dog, or any pet for that matter, hug them, feed them the table scraps, feed them half of everything you eat.

Do unto God’s creatures as you would hope they would do unto you,

God Bless.

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.

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.

Here’s to Seven Years of Living My Dream

It’s still so hard to believe that in less than three months, I will crank the speakers up and let my voice be heard at Bazemore Field in Wetumpka for the seventh year.

If you know me, you know how many hours I practiced announcing when I was little, it’s the only way that I could be around sports due to the fact that I didn’t play sports for long when I was a kid.

I played baseball until I was eight, because I broke my finger bunting a baseball when I was seven.

From that my moment on, I knew that the only way that I could see my dream flourish would be to pick up a microphone.

Over the past six years, I’ve had the honor and privilege of announcing for numerous then-future MLB draftees, announced in the AHSAA Class 6A State Baseball Playoffs, visited several colleges, and so much more.

In 2020, I plan on making many more new, unforgettable memories and sarcastic remarks, behind the microphone at Bazemore Field.

Here’s to seven years of living my dream, the best is yet to come.

Nice to See You Again, Old Friend

About two weeks ago, I was heading to Alpharetta, Georgia and I passed the place where I spent a large amount of my time growing up, Turner Field, now known as Georgia State Stadium, since it is the home of the Georgia State Panthers football. I still call it Turner Field, though, because that’s what I’ve always known it as. I witnessed many victories inside those friendly confines and very few losses. In fact, a few months ago, I did the math, and I realized that I had been to 42 Braves games, 41 of which game at Turner Field. The Braves home record when I attend is 31-10. I like to think of myself as the Braves ‘good luck charm’. Because they almost never lose when I’m in attendance. As I passed the stadium, I was suddenly taken back to my childhood, I felt the thrill that I felt as a little kid, I felt like a kid in a candy store all over again. I’ve seen so many Braves greats take the field there. I was taken back to when I was little and we would pull up to the stadium and I would blurt out the ESPN theme song, I could hear Crazy Train over the PA system in my head as I passed it. So many great memories were made there. I never visited the stadium when I didn’t thoroughly enjoy myself. It was like I was a little kid again for that split-second. So many life-long friends were made inside those four walls. I haven’t been inside SunTrust Park yet, but I did pass it as I was headed home that weekend and I plan to visit in 2020. Nice to see you again, old friend.

Bad Blood Boiling: Wetumpka, Prattville to Renew Long-standing Rivalry Tonight in Tribe’s Home Opener

It’s been a long first five weeks of 2019 for Wetumpka, as they have traveled through seemingly every corner of the state, but tonight, that all changes tonight when the Indians open the gates of Hohenberg Field for the first time in the season and welcome bitter-rival, Prattville to town for the renewal of the two storied programs long-standing rivalry.

Glancing at the Opponent

Prattville comes into tonight’s game with a 3-1 record, which features wins over Foley, Stanhope-Elmore, and Enterprise and a loss to defending 7A state champion, Central Phenix-City, led by former Prattville head coach, Jamey Dubose. The Lions are led by second-year head coach, Caleb Ross. Prior to making the commute to Prattville, Ross spent time at Opelika (2017), McGill-Toolen (2014-2016), and Thompson (2011).

Inside the Series:

Wetumpka (3-2) and Prattville (3-1) will meet for the 58th time in history tonight, when the two teams kickoff at Hohenberg Field in Wetumpka. The series dates all the way back to 1922, a game that Wetumpka won 25-6. Although have 57 prior meetings, this series has had a hiatus of its own. The Indians and Lions didn’t meet from 2014 to 2015, but picked back up in 2016. Wetumpka has won the last three meetings in the series and will look to continue that streak tonight, September 27, 2019.

Tribe Continues Season-Opening Five-City Road Trip with Trip to Calera

The 2019 season has begun in an unusual fashion, as it has taken the Wetumpka Indians (1-1) from Central Alabama to Southern Alabama to Southeastern Alabama and Wetumpka will continue to follow the warpath up north to Calera, Alabama in week three of the season. From there, the warpath will take them over to Eastern Alabama to Opelika in week four and then lead them back up north to Jacksonville, Alabama, before leading them back home to Central Alabama and the friendly confines of Hohenberg Field in week six. But for this week, we will focus on Wetumpka’s first trip to Northern Alabama in 2019 against the Calera Eagles.

Glancing At the Opponent:

Through the first two weeks of the 2019 season, the Calera Eagles (1-1) have split their first two contests. Outlasting the Pelham Panthers (0-2) 27-20, in week one. Last week, the Eagles fell victim to the Pell City Panthers (1-1) 27-21. Calera is led by first-year head coach, Trey Simpson. Simpson is in his first year in the Eagles’ Nest and is also in the first year of his career. Through his first two games as head coach his team is (1-1) and is being outscored 48-47. So far in 2019, Calera is scoring an average of 24 points per game, while the Indians are averaging 38 points per game.

Gridiron History Between the Programs:

Calera has faced Wetumpka once just before, that meeting came on September 7th, 2018, in Wetumpka, where the Indians raced past the Eagles by a final score of 34-14.

The Weeks Leading Up:

In the weeks leading to this matchup, the Eagles went (1-1) defeating Pelham in Week 1 (27-20) and falling to Pell City (27-21) a week ago.

As for Wetumpka, the Indians defeated Fairhope in Week 1 (35-24) and fell to newly-combined Dothan High (54-41) last week.

Kickoff is set for Friday, September 6th, 2019, at 7 p.m. in Ricky M. Cairns Memorial Stadium in Calera, Alabama.

What’s at Stake in Washington, DC?

We all know that the Braves have had some struggles this year, very few of them, but they’ve still had them. Particularly with the Washington Nationals, who Atlanta will visit for three games beginning Monday night at 6:05pm CT. You might ask ‘What are we going to do with the absence of Dansby Swanson and Nick Markakis?” I might have your answer. Granted it was a small sample-size during the weekend series in Philadelphia, Ender Inciarte and Adam Duvall could play huge roles in the absence of these two stars. Your next question might be ‘How in the world did we avoid Scherzer for two series?’ Mad Max, as he is known is dealing with a mid-back strain and wasn’t healthy enough for his Tuesday start as of Sunday. But that doesn’t mean he won’t be back until then. His status for Tuesday is a toss-up. A lot of you have been asking me this: “What would a series sweep over Washington mean for the Braves?” It’s simple. Granted the Braves split their most recent series with Washington in Atlanta, the Nationals didn’t game any ground in the standings. Which is a good thing in the case of the Braves. Sweeping Washington would mean seven straight games against the Nationals gaining any ground in the standings, which would be both a big boost for the Braves and a big blow for Washington.

June: The Month of the Braves

June was in fact a month for the ages. During the month of June the Atlanta Braves (50-35) compiled a record of (20-8) after Sunday night’s 8-5 loss to the New York Mets. In the 28 games last month, the Braves clubbed a franchise-record 56 homers over the course of the calendar month. That surpassed the previous record of 55, set by the 2003 Braves in May of that year by one. The previous record stood for 16 seasons. Also in the sixth month of 2019, the Braves tabbed Freddie Freeman, Ronald Acuña Jr. and Mike Soroka as 2019 National League All-Stars. Soroka and Acuña made Major League Baseball history when they were named to the team. As they are the first pair of players younger than 22-years-old, to be named to the same All-Star team in the same season. But that’s not all Acuña did in June. He will also be the eighth-youngest Brave to ever play in the Midsummer Classic at Progressive Field in Cleveland, Ohio on July 9th. Acuña launched the record-breaking 56th home run in June 437 feet into the orange Flushing, New York skyline. Ronald will also participate in the 2019 MLB Home Run Derby. It’s only fitting that he hit the record-breaking homer. A few weeks back I received a text from a family member asking who I thought would break the franchise-record. My response? Ronald Acuña Jr on June 30th. They seemed to disagree as they thought Vanderbilt alum Dansby Swanson would club the historic homer. I responded to them with “I don’t care who hits it, but I’ve got a feeling it’ll be Ronald Acuña Jr., but either way we’re breaking it.” Little did I know that my prediction would be absolutely spot-on. What a month June was. If June was a prelude into July, then what should we expect in the seventh month of 2019? The next Braves game is Tuesday, July 2, 2019 vs. Philadelphia at 7:20pm ET. The Phillies haven’t named a starter as of right now. Dallas Keuchel makes his third start in a Braves uniform on Tuesday.

Atlanta Boasts Best June Record in Majors

We’re almost done with the month of June, as we have now reached the 26th day of the sixth month of 2019. The month of June has been a very, very productive one for the Atlanta Braves. In fact, they have a record of (17-6) this month, which ranks as the best June 2019 record in the entire league. Through 23 games in 26 days, not including tonight’s game at Chicago, the Braves offense has been absolutely deadly, launching 48 baseballs into stands all across the country. According to 680 AM The Fan’s Kevin McAlpin, the last time the Braves hit more long balls in a month came in July 2006 when they launched 50 homers. According to him, the franchise record for home runs in a calendar month is 55 which was set back in May of 2003. Who knows, with four more days left in the month of June and five more June games left to play including tonight’s game, Atlanta is just 7 homers away from tying the franchise record for home runs in a calendar month and 8 away from setting a new franchise record for homers in a calendar month. There’s still time to set a new record. Even though June is winding down, it can be done. I’ve seen crazier things happen. Tonight’s game at Chicago will feature Dallas Keuchel on the hill for Atlanta and Yu Darvish will get the call for the Chicago Cubs. First pitch is scheduled for 8:05pm ET.

Picture: Atlanta Braves Twitter.