In 38 days, on Saturday, February 18, 2023, I will begin my 10th year as the Voice of Bazemore Field. When I look back on the past ten years I am provided with the greatest memories of my life.
I have announced just short of 550 baseball games in those 10 years. I’ve celebrated jubilantly after many monumental wins and I’ve felt the pain of losses along with the team throughout the past decade.
For many, my voice serves as a reminder that baseball season has returned and another year is about to begin. I have been blessed to have had several great mentors over the past ten years who have helped me cultivate my voice into what it is today.
The list of those mentors is far too long to list here. But if I have stepped into your press box or sat in with you during a game, just know that you have played a huge role in my career.
In 38 days, I will call the 551st baseball game of my career. There have only been a handful of games that I have missed in my career because, well, life happens, things pop up, sickness occurs. But as long as I have breath in my body, I can promise you, I will be inside of the press box at Bazemore Field, providing commentary for those in attendance.
When news broke Saturday afternoon of you being dealt to the Chicago Cubs, it flashed on my phone and I honestly couldn’t believe what I was reading.
I’ve never seen you in another professional jersey other than that of your hometown team, the Atlanta Braves. Back in 2016, we got you in a trade with the Arizona Diamondbacks that sent Shelby Miller to the Desert.
You’ve been with us at our absolute worst, and you’ve been with us when we were on top of the proverbial baseball world. To say you will be missed would be an absolute understatement. Thank you, Dansby.
Thank you for giving us your all every time you hit the field. From your clutch plays in 2016 to the last out of the 2021 World Series, you left it all out on that diamond.
Thank you for everything, my friend. What an incredible ride you’ve seen with us. I can’t think of a shortstop that I would’ve rather won a World Series with than you.
Thank you, sir. We love you.
Best of luck in the Windy City. Never forget where home is. This isn’t goodbye, it’s simply see ya later, Champ.
Nearly 24 hours ago, my Tennessee Volunteers saw their College Football Playoff hopes dashed from South Carolina Gamecocks in Columbia, 63-38, and while we didn’t play up to par, we’ve still had more success this season than anybody expected of us.
But that’s not my reason behind writing this piece. In the past 24 hours I’ve seen fans of all college football teams throwing proverbial jabs at us Tennessee fans and our program, and rightfully so.
But there’s an invisible line between celebrating and taunting. While most of the fans jabbing at us are mostly our rivals. Mostly Alabama fans, who were celebrating another team doing what they couldn’t do, beat Tennessee.
While those responses are expected, there were some that weren’t warranted. With 11:28 remaining in the fourth quarter, Tennessee QB Hendon Hooker went down with a torn left ACL which will force him to miss the rest of the year.
Sunday night, while on social media, i ran across a post about Hooker’s injury and I went down the comment section where I saw an Alabama fan had commented “Roll Tide”. As if they were celebrating his injury.
College football is exactly that, college students living out their dreams. If you feel the need to celebrate another one’s injury, You are a sick person.
Have some class football fans, these are young men and women living out their dreams.
16 years ago today, on October 2, 2006, my grandad lost an eight-month battle with pancreatic cancer. My brother and I affectionately referred to him as “Big Ken,” due to his 6’4” frame. That name fit him in more ways than just his physical stature. To the two of us, he was larger than life itself.
He loved sports, the outdoors, his family and so much more but most importantly, he loved the Lord. His hair was as white as a cotton field, his clothes were always starched, not a wrinkle in sight, his car was spotless. His favorite candy was Circus Peanuts with a glass-bottled Coke, the type that leaves divet imprints in your hand if you don’t use a bottle opener.
Although you can hardly find glass-bottle cokes anywhere these days, I like to think that he is the reason that I love Circus Peanuts. He took great pride in everything he did in his 68 years.
Now, by the time my brother and I came along in 1997, he was “real tired,” as my brother once said, which is what he thought the word “retired,” meant. Big Ken loved spending time with us. He would sit patiently outside his Spanish Fort, Alabama home while I pretended to take his “order” as a young boy. He played baseball with us in the backyard for hours on end without complaining one bit. Again, he loved his family.
In the early 2000’s circa 2002, he built my brother and I a bridge in front of his home. A bridge that still stands some 20 years after it was built.
We spent time with him on picnics at Fort Toulouse in my hometown of Wetumpka, Alabama when he and my grandmother would come to visit and I can’t remember a time when the trunk of his Crown Victoria wasn’t slammed full with toys for us both.
Until we meet again, Big Ken. Hold it down with the Lord and rest assured, your memory will remain alive until I take my last earthly breath and join you in the greatest Kingdom known to man. You took what you had, did what you could, provided us with memories that we’ll never forget, and for that we’ll always be thankful. I love you.
If you’re familiar with the sport of rodeo at all, whether it be as a fan, a participant, a stock contractor, an announcer, a music director or anything in between, you’ve heard of and are familiar with the name Lane Frost.
It was on this day 33 years ago, that the cowboy who hung his hat in La Junta, Otero County, Colorado, went to the big arena in the sky. Now, at the time of Lane’s birth, his parents were residing in Lapoint, Utah. But according to sources, Lane’s father Clyde was rodeoing at the time and his mother Elsie, went to stay with her parents in Kim, Colorado, not from the hospital in La Junta, where Lane was born.
He has an older sister, Robin and a younger brother, Cody. At a young age, young Lane took a liking to the sport of bull riding and when he was old enough to ride on his own, Lane’s mom Elsie made his first pair of chaps for him. Being a typical mom, when their does things they aren’t fond of, or don’t feel it’s safe for them do, Elsie was hoping that perhaps one day, Lane would grow out of this bull riding phase that entered his spirit at such a young age.
In his later years, Lane would win a number of titles in the rodeo world, one of those being the 1981 Bull Riding Championship in the National High School Finals Rodeo Association, which was held in Douglas, Wyoming, when he was a high school junior.
He graduated from Atoka High School in Atoka, Oklahoma in 1982. In 1983, he received a full membership in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association of more commonly referred to as simply the “PRCA” at age 19. He would finish 16th in the World Standings and the top 15 in each event advance to the National Finals Rodeo each year.
His traveling partner at the time, Jacky Gibbs, occupied the 15th spot in the standings that year. Frost was named 1983 runner-up for the “Rookie of the Year” that year also. He competed in the 1983 “Super Bull” competition in Del Rio, Texas. It was at this event that he received the “Tough Luck Award,” for his gritty effort.
Fast forward to 1989, in July of that year Lane and his wife, Kellie were going to try their hands at stunt doubles in the movie “My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys”, which was about a bull rider that comes home to Oklahoma.
Lane was scheduled to have a small speaking role in the film. But first, Lane, not letting the stunt double opportunity get in the way of his love for rodeo and bull riding, took time to go to Cheyenne, Wyoming, to participate in the world-renowned “Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo” which is held in Cheyenne, Wyoming every July. Lane let Kellie stay behind to work on the movie.
After Lane made the right second requirement on his second bull of the rodeo, sportscaster George Michael, whom often interviewed the cowboy from Colorado and a friend of his, spoke with Frost, in what would unfortunately become Frost’s last interview.
George said to Lane, “But you just had to give the crowd a thrill with that dismount!” Lane had somersaulted over the tail of the bull at the end of his ride. Four days later, on July 30, 1989, Lane drew a bull named “Takin’ Care of Business,” after getting him ridden, Frost dismounted but was hit by the bull breaking ribs and severing a main artery and the Lane Clyde Frost died moments later at the age of 25 on the dirt of Cheyenne, Wyoming.
If you get a chance today, watch the Cheyenne Frontier Days and tip your hat to the man that died doing what he loved. I wasn’t alive in ‘89, but the way Lane lived and loved is evident with every rodeo I watch. He may not be here on Earth, but his legacy will never die. Rest In Peace, Cowboy! Good ride, good ride.
This afternoon at about 12:15 p.m., I got the notification that I thought I would never have to get. The Atlanta Braves public address announcer, Casey Motter, passed away early Thursday morning in his sleep.
Casey Motter got his start in broadcasting announcing youth football and baseball games in nearby Peachtree City, Georgia, where he would often bring his own sound system and music.
His big break came on one November night in 2006, when the Braves assistant general manager, Frank Wren was blown away by the talent that Casey possessed. Frank videoed the youth football game that Casey was announcing and turned it into an invitation to try out for the Braves PA spot.
Casey, a Smyrna, Georgia native and avid Braves fan, made the most of the opportunity, ultimately winning the job over a dozen other finalists with professional experience.
The voice of Casey Motter, is one that will always hold a special place in my heart. The way he delivered himself during games. The enthusiasm he showed for his Braves will now and forever remain unmatched. I looked forward to one day being able to work alongside Casey in the Braves booth. In fact, he’s the one whom I model my deliverance after. There won’t ever be another Casey Motter.
My heart goes out to the entire Motter family at this time. Rest In Peace, my friend, save me a seat in the greatest booth of them all!
It all began 70 years ago in southeastern Texas town of Poteet, Texas, when George Harvey Strait Sr., was born to John Byron Strait and Doris Couser Strait.
He didn’t listen to much country music at all growing up in Pearsall, Texas, which is southwest of San Antonio, and his parents divorced while he was still in school, and George and his older brother Buddy were raised by their father, a junior high math teacher.
During high school, Strait was left speechless by seemingly matchless beauty of Norma Voss, with whom he would elope shortly after graduation, before signing for a stint in the United States Army.
He discovered his love for country music while stationed on the islands of Hawaii in 1971 and broke into the country scene a decade later in 1981. He wrote the song “Check Yes or No,” for his wife Norma. In the song he recalls the first time he laid eyes on her on the playground in third grade.
Over the course of his storied and highly-touted country music career, the Texas native has more than 60 number one hits. Those hits include “Amarillo By Morning,” “How Bout Them Cowgirls,” “The Fireman,” “Cowboys Like Us,” “The Cowboy Rides Away,” and “Write This Down”. Happy 70th Birthday, George. We love you brother.
I think it’s pretty safe to say, that Cody Daniel Johnson of Huntsville, Texas, is the future of country music. Not only is he the future of the genre, but he’s the reason there is still hope for real country music. I’m not talking about the kind of “country” that uses hip-hop beats or electronic drums.
I’m talking about the blue-collar country music. The kind that Merle Haggard, Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash,Willie Nelson and so many others have sang about over the years.
I’m not talking about the kind where people claim to be “cowboys” that seems to be the trend these days, I’m talking about an ex-bull rider turned country musician. The kind that misses songs, not because his voice cracked, but because his cows got out on his Texas ranch, so he’s backstage telling his wife how to get them back. The kind of country where people lived the lives the sang about.
I’m not talking about the politics of country music that pushes people to feel a certain way, I’m talking about the kind of country music that still believes in God, Country, and Family. The kind that will stop at nothing to give the glory to God in front of 10 thousand people.
That’s the kind of country that Cody Johnson is. He’s pure, blue-collared, down-home country. He doesn’t pretend he’s perfect. I’m fact, he’ll stand onstage and tell you he’s the most imperfect Christian in the venue.
He’s seemingly the only hope that real country has. Get a good look folks, this man is one of a kind.
Yesterday seemed like a normal day, little did I know several hours later, I would have the distinct honor and privilege of meeting and calling the home run for one of the most inspirational kids that I’ve ever met.
Meet Landon McGregor, Landon has Down syndrome and is the bat boy for Alex City Middle School’s baseball team. He has an infectious personality with a smile that will undoubtedly light up a room.
Prior to the first game of the doubleheader, our head coach came up to me and explained the situation to me. He told me to play it up, which I gladly agreed to do under the circumstances.
To lead off the doubleheader, Landon happily walked up to the plate bat in hand. It wasn’t long before Landon hit the ball and was rounding the bases with a huge smile on his face. His trip around the bases was ended with a slide at home plate and kids surrounding him congratulating him on his big hit.
Little did Landon know, his big moment taught me one important thing, the little things in life are really all that matters.
Dear Freddie Freeman, for 15 years, 11 of those spent in the big leagues with the Atlanta Braves, you gave all of Braves Country more than we could ever repay you for.
You’ve been our shoulder to cry on during the down years, you’ve celebrated with us in the high years. Despite the ebbs and flows of the years in between your first year here in Atlanta and your last, you stuck it out.
You said you were blessed to be a part of organization, when in fact, we were blessed to have you and your amazing family at our side through the rollercoaster that you ride alongside us for 11 years of big league service, 15 counting your time in the minors.
Thank you for providing us with so many memories, from the home run hugs, to the last out of the 2021 World Series. You did it all.
To Chelsea, thank you for sacrificing so much time with your husband for the betterment of this organization. Freddie is a sensational man who has left an incredible impact on the lives of those of us who are fortunate enough to call ourselves Braves fans. He’s been with for a decade and a half and you have been right there with him.
To Charlie, Brandon, and Maximus Freeman, thank you for sharing your dad with us. Thank you, Charlie for the unconditional love that you’ve shown us the past few years. To Brandon and Maximus, your story impacted us all and brought us all to tears.
Freddie, again, my brother, thank you for sharing your family, your athletic ability, and your story with us all for 15 years. You my friend, are the epitome of what it means to be an Atlanta Brave.
Thanks for everything, until our paths cross again, so long my friend, I wish you and your family nothing but the best.