Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Brent Lillibridge (or Lilly Bridge as some might say)
I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen two plays by one player like that to end a baseball game. Just talked to Ed Farmer and he is still buzzing about them. If you missed them, here is the video.
Leave it to Ozzie for the last laugh … “I’ve found my closer, it’s Brent Lillibridge!” Classic.
If you want to share your excitement with Brent, he is very active on Twitter @BSLillibridge
Did you happen to catch the segment on Ozzie on ESPN’s E:60 last night? It’s worth a quick watch when you have a second. Jeremy Schaap takes a fun look into the mind of Ozzie Guillen.
A couple of weeks ago, I teased a video story we were doing on players and their gloves. The video is now live and you can watch it here.
I also asked readers to submit their favorite stories about their own gloves. Here are a couple I received:
My 7 year old son Cal will only use Wilson gloves that are enclosed around the hand but have an outer hole for the index finger. He has gone through 3 gloves already due to outgrowing them. To break them in we rub shaving cream in them and bake in the oven on a cookie sheet at 325 for 5 minutes. It works like a charm every time, and he loves to tell all his friends that we baked his glove to break it in. He will then take it to bed with him for the next couple of nights and put it on a pillow next to him!
Michael — Crown Point, IN
I started playing softball when I was 6. Every Easter when most little girls were getting dolls and stuffed animals in their Easter baskets, I always received a new glove…or new spikes or the like. Needless to say playing baseball/softball has always been a staple in my family.
One year, when I was probably about 8 years old, I happened to forget my glove at the main fields in Oak Lawn (99th + Central). That evening after our games (and before I realized it was still at the fields), it was a downpour of rain. We returned to the fields to find my glove – soaked. I was in tears. My parents were understandably unhappy. Boy did I ever get in trouble! And it was then that I was told some of the most memorable advice I’d receive in sports: “Nicole, I don’t care what you do, or where you go…but your glove is an extension of your arm. Don’t ever let it out of your sight” (needless to say that was the last time I “forgot” my glove)
Fast forward about 13 years , I was still playing softball. I had moved from 3rd base to catcher. I was playing on travel leagues and the pitchers were throwing a bit harder than they had when I was younger. My hand was throbbing after each practice and game. But it was a time before they really sold softball catchers mitts in the stores. My parents were divorced and I didn’t see my dad much. So finding and breaking in mitts was really up to me to figure out.
It just so happened that my best friend’s dad was a very notable catcher for the White Sox…and he and his wife were kind enough to track down a softball catchers mitt for me. But Mr. Fisk didn’t stop there. He dug into his bag of equipment and other baseball “stuff” and pulled out a tin of mink oil donning “72” across all sides and gave it to me. He then educated me on the best way(s) to break in my new mitt: Lather it up with mink oil. Toss it in the tub. Run it over with a truck. Play catch. Put a softball in it at night, and tie it up with a string. Do whatever you need to do. Just keep it well oiled…and keep working it in.
After a quick toss back and forth and some tips on how NOT to get my fingers broken when catching (remember to always hook your free hand in the back of your cleat) I was on my way with my new catchers mitt and instructions on how to break it in.
Don’t get me wrong, the fact that my friend’s dad is/was a world-class catcher was pretty cool. It isn’t lost on me in the slightest. But the more meaningful part to me is that in that moment, when I needed that father-figure because my own wasn’t there, he treated me like he treated any of his own kids. That memory – and that mitt – will stay with me forever.
Nichole — Chicago
Feel free to share any other stories by posting to this blog or emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.