Tidibits - June 7, 2018

TIDBITS by RALPH SHEALY



GOOD TIME CHARLIE!

  I have been a baseball stats guy all my life.
  Perhaps, I should say an old time statistics guy, because some of these new stats, like WAR, Wins Above Replacement, I have no idea what they mean, nor do I care to find out. I’ll stick to RBI’s and ERAs.
  The Atlanta Brave are surprising the baseball world this year, with a line-up dotted with many young players, including two that are 20 and one who is 21.
  Charlie Culberson is not one of those young players. He is 29, which is young in human years, but not young in sports.
  In his entire Major League career Charlie has hit only eight home runs. To put that into perspective, 21-year-old second baseman Ozzie Albies has already hit 14 this year.
  What is remarkable about Charlie is of his eight home runs, four have been walk-off, game winners.
  He is the only player in Major League history to not hit a home run between his last three walk-offs.
  I saw a tweet that listed some of the greatest players in Major League history, who have hit multiple walk-offs homers:
  Read this list: Manny Ramirez 3, Ted Williams 3, Lou Gehrig 3, Harmon Killebrew 4, Frank Thomas 4, Ernie Banks 4, Mel Ott 4, Gary Sheffield 4, and as the tweeter wrote LITERALLY CHARLIE CULBERSON!
  Charlie hit two walk-off homers last week!
  No matter what he does the rest of his career, Charlie is in the record books. How exciting for him.
  I don’t recall in all the years I played baseball, ever getting a walk-off hit.
  As I’ve detailed before, I did give up a walk-off grand slam as a pony league pitcher. It’s been 53-years, but that one still hurts.

CAN’T PREDICT

  This year’s NCAA baseball tournament produced shock after shock.
  We had three teams from our state make the regionals. Clemson and Coastal Carolina, as two if the 16 national seeds got to host. Carolina had to travel to No. 12 East Carolina in Greenville, NC.
  Our state’s two hosts, Clemson and Coastal, were upset, while Carolina, a No. 2 seed, won the ECU regional and advanced to the Super Regionals.
  Whether you believe me or not, I wanted all three of our teams to advance to the Supers.
  I sat at the same table with Coastal’s head coach Gary Gilmore when he spoke at the Saluda County Farm-City Banquet, after he led the Chanticleers to the national title. I was impressed by him.
  I also like Clemson’s coach Monte Lee.
  Three teams in the Supers would make our state look good.
  Clemson’s loss is particularly hurtful, because the Tigers would have hosted the Super Regional had they won.
  With a regional win, Clemson was scheduled to travel to Florida State for the Supers, if the Seminoles won their region.
  Florida State was eliminated in a heartbreaker, a three run homer walk-off when they were up 2-0 with two outs in the bottom of the ninth.
  Clemson knew this, but the Tigers could not get by Vanderbilt., the same team that eliminated them last year, and who is coached by a former Clemson assistant. To win the regional, the Commodores hit an unheard of nine home runs in the 19-6 whipping of the Tigers.
  Clemson joined Florida State, Georgia,  ECU, and Ole Miss as number one seeds who lost at home.
  If anyone doubted Ray Tanner’s hiring of Mark Kingston as head coach, those fears have been allayed.
  Many fans were calling for  Kingston’s head when the Gamecocks lost to a 13-26 Presbyterian team to fall to 20-17 on the season.
  Saluda County natives will be happy to know Kingston borrowed an action from local Alamo hero William  Barret Travis.
  Like Travis, Kingston said he “drew a line in the sand,” and the Gamecocks were up for the challenge.
  Kingston will give Dabo a run for his money in the cliche department, but as long has he wins, who cares?
  The Gamecocks have a tough task, travelling to Arkansas, where the Razorbacks are virtually unbeatable.
  I don’t think any Carolina fan will concede the series.
  Oh, by the way, the Gamecocks may be one of the final 16 teams in the country, but during the season they lost to Clemson, The Citadel, Charleston Southern, College of Charleston, Furman and PC.   Wouldn’t it be funny if Carolina won the National Championship, while finishing last in the State?!

NOT ANY MORE

  The old saying, “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me,” is as dead as Honest Abe.
  Look how many lives have been ruined through words on social media.
  The old saying, “think before you speak,” should be changed to “think before you tweet.”
  Just ask Roseanne what a handful of words can do.

TOO MANY

  Joy Hutto Drafts became the fourth Saluda County educator to die of cancer in the last few months.
  The sadness began with Linda Gibson’s death, followed by Brenda Shorter, Renee Hauser, and now Joy.
  Like Linda, Joy was active in the Saluda County Historical Society, and like Linda, Brenda and Renee, she had a great personality.
  I knew Joy had been battling cancer. She kept all her Facebook friends updated on a regular basis.
  Last Wednesday, my sister Dibbie retired after 41-years as a teacher, and Joy commented on one of the pictures.
  The first thing I saw when I went on Facebook Thursday morning was that Joy had died overnight. That was a shock.
  Joy retired as principal of Ridge Spring-Monetta Elementary/Middle School, and touched many lives throughout her career in education and public service.
  She will be greatly missed.
  Emory Church had its second funeral in less that a week, when Calvin Nix was memorialized Tuesday.
  Calvin was a good man who was known throughout the state for his livestock operation.
  My sympathy to Brenda, Kim, Randall, Will, Makayla and all the family.