A Man with a Heart of Gold: Baseball World Remembers Don Sutton for Genuine Personality


For as long as I can remember, Don Sutton has been a member of the Atlanta Braves broadcast team. I can clearly recall standing in front of TV as a little kid and listening to Don, along with Skip Caray and Pete Van Wieren, and later, Skip’s son Chip, call the action. 

The trio of Skip, Pete, and Don have now been reunited in Heaven and I’m sure that they will be calling the Braves’ games from the vantage point of Heaven, the greatest vantage point of them all. Not only was Don Sutton a great broadcaster, he was also a Hall of Fame caliber pitcher. 

A 1998 inductee into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, National Baseball Hall of Fame Chairman, Jane Forbes Clark said “Don Sutton’s brilliance on the field, and his last commitment to the game that he so loved, carried through to his time as a Member of the Hall of Fame, I know how much he treasured his moments in Cooperstown, just as we treasured our special moments with him. We share our deepest condolences with his wife, Mary and his family.” 

Sutton, a Clio, Alabama native, began his career with the Los Angeles Dodgers with whom he played from 1966-1980, and again in 1988. From 1981-82 Sutton was traded from the Dodgers to the Houston Astros, from Houston he left and went to Milwaukee to join the Brewers club from 1982-84, from Milwaukee he went out to California to join the Oakland Athletics where he stayed for less than a year in 1985. Later in 1985 he moved across California and joined the Los Angeles/California Angels with whom he stayed until the end of the 1987 season. In 1988, Don returned to the Los Angeles Dodgers. 

During his career, he won 324 games as a pitcher and earned a spot in the hallowed halls of the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Following his playing days, he joined the Atlanta Braves broadcast team where he served for all but two years from 1989-2018. He spent the 2008-09 seasons with the Washington Nationals’ broadcast team. 

Tuesday afternoon, Don’s son Daron released the following statement on social media, “Saddened to share that my dad passed away in his sleep last night (Monday night). He worked as hard as anyone I’ve ever known and he treated those he encountered with great respect…and he took me to work a lot. For all these things, I am very grateful, Rest in Peace.” 

The Braves subsequently released a statement that read, “We are deeply saddened by the passing of our dear friend, Don Sutton. A generation of Braves fans came to know his voice…But despite all (his) success, Don never lost his generous character or humble personality.” 

I would have to agree, every time I ever heard the voice of Don Sutton over the TV or radio, I always learned something new about the game. His knowledge for the game of baseball is what I credit for my obsession with the sport. 

While sharing his unmatched wisdom, he would often find just enough room to squeeze in one of his corny jokes about either the game the night before or a personal experience with his family in which he found great humor. I could go on and on for hours about the memories that I have and will carry with me for the rest of my time here on Earth that include Don Sutton, but I don’t want to keep you here all day. 

Even when he was on the mound, Don wanted to be a broadcaster, specifically with the Braves. In 1976, when the Dodgers were in town playing the Braves at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, Sutton, in his usual casual-but-humorous style told Pete Van Wieren: “Someday Pete, we’re going to work together.” Little did he know he had just predicted the future. 

It wouldn’t be right if I didn’t wrap this up with Don’s signature sign-off call, “That’ll do it here in Atlanta, for my broadcast partners, Skip Caray and Pete Van Wieren, so long and Go Braves.” 

Rest in Peace Don, 

I love you, my brother.

(Picture: Atlanta Braves Twitter)

Heads Up Braves Fans: The Future is Bright in Atlanta

In mid-March, Major League Baseball halted their Spring Training workouts to the outbreak of COVID-19, and fans were not allowed into the stadiums for the entire regular season.

In fact, a week into the season in late-July and early August, Major League Baseball was sitting on its proverbial heels due to multiple outbreaks of COVID-19 in Miami, St. Louis, Philadelphia, and Cincinnati.

With the bulk of the positive tests coming out of Miami and St. Louis, league officials were contemplating the thought of shutting the season down even though it had literally just gotten started.

When the league reached an agreement with its clubs to play a 60-game regular-season schedule as opposed to the normal 162-game schedule in a non-pandemic year, we knew every game would matter that much more.

Winning streaks would seem longer than they were and would mean five times more than they would in a regular 162-game season. Losing streaks would seem to drag on longer than usual and every pitch mattered.

Even though the Atlanta Braves may have lost in Game 7 of the National League Championship Series, there’s still a lot to be proud of when you look at the bigger picture.

This team won its first postseason series since 2001, advanced to the National League Championship Series, spent the final month and a half without ace Mike Soroka, missed outfield phenom Ronald Acuña Jr for two weeks twice due to a left wrist injury, lost four of five-man starting rotation, with Max Fried being the only projected starting pitcher left standing, and still won their division and won not just one but two postseason series.

This team isn’t done, they’re just getting started. For every minor setback there’s a major comeback. And with the young, raw talent of guys like Ronald Acuña Jr., Dansby Swanson, Ozzie Albies, Ian Anderson, Max Fried, Cristian Pache, and a healthy Mike Soroka, you can’t help but imagine just how good this team will be in the next few seasons with some of the best young talent in the game.

Hold your heads up Braves fans, the best is yet to come.

Remembering Shad Gaspard

Often times, we don’t realize that at any moment in our lives, it could be the last time we will our loved ones alive.

This was the case for Aryeh Gaspard on Sunday. The 10-year-old son of the retired WWE superstar and his dad, Shad Gaspard, who is best-known for his time in the WWE tag team Cryme Tyme in the mid-2000s.

Aryeh and Shad were going for a midday swim in Venice Beach, California, when both of them went missing. In an effort to help swimmers find Gaspard’s 10-year-old son, Shad shouted “Save my son!”

The swimmers did just that, but little did Aryeh know that was going to be the last time he saw his dad alive.

Shad was last seen alive around 3:40 p.m. Pacific Time on Sunday, May 17, 2020.

On Wednesday morning, May 20, 2020, a passerby located Shad’s body that had washed ashore.

The passerby then notified local authorities, who called the Los Angeles County Coroner to the scene.

The coroner was later able to positively identify the body as that of former WWE star, Shad Gaspard.

The point of this story is, hold your loved ones tight, you never know when all of that could come to an end.

God Bless Aryeh, you’re in my thoughts and prayers buddy.

This picture was taken just hours before Gaspard and his son went missing due to high tides in Venice Beach, California. Source: Twitter.

Nation Mourns Loss of Basketball Legend, 13-year-old Daughter

It’s no secret that everybody knew who Kobe Bryant was. You didn’t even have to watch basketball to be familiar with his name.

Sunday afternoon, the Los Angeles Lakers legend and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna Bryant, were among nine who were killed in a helicopter crash about 30 miles outside of central Los Angeles, California.

When I received the news via text on Sunday, I had to read it twice to make sure I was reading it correctly.

The text simply read “Kobe Bryant is dead.” I was speechless. I responded with question marks because I couldn’t process that thought clearly in my head.

They responded “He really is,” I then scrolled back up to the text so that I could read it again and try to wrap my mind around the news that I had just gotten.

As I was reading it, a news notification popped up on my phone that read “Lakers Legend Kobe Bryant Among Nine Killed in Crash outside of Los Angeles.”

As I was scrolling through social media an hour or so after receiving the text, I read a headline that stated “Kobe Bryant, 13-year-old daughter die alongside each other in LA helicopter crash.”

No family should ever have to bury the body of a loved one, but to have to bury two bodies, a husband, friend, father and role model to many and a daughter, is truly unimaginable.

My deepest condolences are extended to not only the family and friends of Kobe and Gianna Bryant, but also the countless number of teammates that shared the court with Kobe during his NBA career.

Kobe Bryant was just 41-years-old, while his daughter, Gianna departed way too early at the age of 13.

Rest easy, you’ll never be forgotten. Picture: Yahoo.

Happy Birthday In Heaven, Tyler Skaggs

Tyler Skaggs, the late Los Angeles Angels pitcher, would’ve turned 28-years-old today. The southpaw from California passed away earlier this month, on July 2 at the all-too-young age of 27. Skaggs was known for his energy, infectious personality, his nasty curveball that seemed to float to the plate and curve in at the last moment. Friday night, the Angels honored Tyler and they did it in a big, big way. Skaggs mother, Debbie, threw out the first pitch and the Angels followed that by tossing a no-hitter in a 13-0 win over Mariners. Not only did they throw a no-hitter, they did it all wearing 45. The players and coaches alike wore 45 Friday to pay tribute to the southpaw the day before his birthday. Tyler Skaggs had a hand in that performance, without a doubt. Happy 28th Birthday in heaven, Tyler “Swaggy” Skaggs.

Los Angeles Angels Pay Tribute to Fallen Pitchers

Tuesday night, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim resumed their series in Arlington, Texas, after postponing game one of what was scheduled to be a three-game series against the Texas Rangers. The first game of the series was postponed due to the sudden passing of 27-year-old starting pitcher, Tyler Skaggs. Before Tuesday night’s game, the Angels posed with Skaggs’ jersey and hat, as well as hung his jersey in the visiting dugout. In addition to posing with the jersey and hat of Skaggs, the Rangers had “45” stenciled into the back of the pitcher’s mound as their way of paying tribute to the Santa Monaco, California native that passed unexpectedly on Monday afternoon in the team hotel in Southlake, Texas. Both teams paused for a moment of silence ahead of first pitch in Tyler Skaggs’ honor. Skaggs wore number 45 as a member of the Angels. For the remainder of the season, the Angels will wear a “45” patch on the chest of their jerseys. The patch is placed across the heart. Skaggs was originally scheduled to pitch the day he passed. The cause of Skaggs’ death will not be released until the end of the season, according to sources.

Gone too Soon: Major-Leaguer Tyler Skaggs Found Dead in Texas Hotel Room

Monday seemed like an ordinary Monday for the Los Angeles Angels at first. The team was getting ready to face the Texas Rangers in a 7:05 p.m. CT first pitch. All of that took a sudden turn for the worst at 2:10 p.m. CT when Southlake Police Department personnel found former Arizona Diamondbacks and Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Tyler Skaggs unconscious and unresponsive in a Southlake, Texas hotel room after responding to a call of an unconscious male, Skaggs was just 27-years-old. Reports say that foul play is not suspected and neither is suicide. It seems the Angels can’t catch a break, they lost former teammate and Atlanta Braves pitcher Tommy Hanson in 2015. As well as 22-year-old Nick Adenhart in 2009 shortly after making his MLB debut. Tyler began his major league career in 2012 with Arizona. In his 5-year major league career, Skaggs pitched in 96 games, going 28-38 with a 4.41 ERA in 520.2 innings pitched. He struck out a total of 476 batters over his career. He married Carli Skaggs in October 2018. Skaggs was set to turn 28 on July 13th. Rest In Peace Tyler, you will be missed.

Atlanta Heats Up, Avoids first five-game skid

Sunday, the Atlanta Braves (21-20) boarded the Atlanta-bound plane with a 6-4 record over their most recent 10-game road trip which included a convincing sweep of the Miami Marlins (10-29) to begin the 10-game stretch. Next on the schedule was a dreaded to trip to the West Coast, for three dates with Justin Turner and the NL West leading Los Angeles Dodgers (27-19). The West Coast swing ended in being swept by the Dodgers. Then came a trip to the desert to face a Diamondbacks club (22-19) that had recently lost a series to the Tampa Bay Rays (24-15). So things were looking like Atlanta might only get wins in Miami and maybe out in Arizona if the bats could wake up. The Arizona series started with a loss to the Diamondbacks on Thursday. But then resulted in three consecutive wins to head back to the friendly confines on a high note. The Braves avoided their first five-game skid since they lost six straight from September 25-30, 2017. That’s a span of about a year and a half without losing five-straight contests.

What’s Next for Atlanta?

Starting Tuesday, May 14, 2019 and ending Thursday, May 16, 2019, the Braves will welcome the St. Louis Cardinals (22-19) to SunTrust Park to begin a six-game home stand. Which includes a visit from Milwaukee (24-18) on Friday through Sunday. Will the Midwest momentum hang around? Find out beginning Tuesday, May 14, 2019 at 7:20pm ET when the Cardinals visit Atlanta.

Braves Halt Struggles, Sweep Marlins in Pivotal Series

Coming into this 10-game, three-city road trip, the Braves were at (15-16) and in third place in the National League East and the Marlins were sitting at an MLB-worst (9-21). Atlanta had been struggling to say the least and the series in Miami would be the perfect way for them to get motivation back and get back on track. Sunday, the Braves had already won the series but were competing for the three-game sweep of the Fish. Julio Teheran looked masterful on Sunday, as he tossed six innings of two hit, shutout baseball. Once Teheran exited, the ball was handed over to Dan Winkler, part of a Braves bullpen that seems to be on their way to getting back to form. Winkler pitched one inning without giving up a run. Jerry Blevins then came on for the Braves and tossed a third of an inning without giving up a run. Josh Tomlin allowed one run over an inning and two-thirds tying the ballgame at one. Nick Markakis previously homered to give the Braves a lead late. After Tomlin’s appearance, Luke Jackson came on and slammed the door on the Fish and the series. Will Holland got the win and improved to (1-0), Tayron Guerrero was slapped with a loss and fell to (1-1) and Luke Jackson was credited with the save, his second save of the season.

Atlanta is now (18-16) on the year and in second place in the NL East. Miami fell to (9-24) and remains in the cellar of the NL East.

Up next: The 10-game road trip continues with three games at Dodger Stadium tonight at 9:10pm CT. Kevin Gausman (1-2, 4.83) will take the hill for the Braves against LA’s Walker Buehler (3-0, 5.22).