Friday, August 03, 2012

Rest in Peace, Joe Walsh

If it's August 2012, and you find yourself at this largely abandoned website, you already know that the heart of the Harvard baseball program, Coach Joe Walsh, died suddenly this week. He was 58. The folks at the Crimson were nice enough to give me a platform as I tried to put my thoughts together. The resulting column, my first in nine years and the only one I ever wrote through tears, ran here. Joe Walsh's funeral will be held at St. Brigid of South Boston on Saturday August 4. It had better be a really big church. - Martin Bell

Monday, February 23, 2009

R.I.P. John Wylde

John Wylde has passed away. He's one of the towering figures in Harvard baseball, and in amateur baseball. He will be missed.

Although I've retired the blog, I wanted to acknowledge the passing of a wonderful man.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

...and we have a pulse!

This weekend's split with Yale is the bright light in what has been an extremely challenging season so far.

Thoughts welcome here.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Open Thread - Baseball America and the season's start

Baseball America likes the Crimson. Nice, sure. But I'd think unexpected.

Meanwhile, the season has started. Here's an open thread for those following the trip.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

John Wolff's response

Credit John Wolff. The Harvard baseball alum, who has doubtlessly had to deal with quite a bit in the wake of his book and the related news, acted quickly and sent us this note yesterday. I think no one should form an opinion of the man, his book and his sense of the program without reading his own words:
I want to clarify something that has become a problem. In the book and in a Crimson article my father (Rick Wolff) has been quoted saying some disparaging remarks about the Harvard baseball program and the coaching staff. It is very important to me that you know that I don't share his feelings. I had an amazing time at Harvard and I love the baseball program. My dad is very bitter about his career and our opinions clash quite a bit. I didn't play much at Harvard but that was because I played behind some fantastic players like Zak Farkes, Morgan Brown and many others. I'm very proud to have played for Harvard and it hurts me very much to hear my father speak so negatively of the program and then have his words hurt friends of mine involved in the program. I would never say a bad thing about the Harvard program - either in the book or in the media. I loved my years at Harvard. I don't want to be viewed as an outcast of the baseball program.

I know this is a long email, but I know a ton of people read your blog and I was truly hoping you could post my apology to all the people who my father has offended and who I care about - Coach Hyde, Coach Walsh, Coach Donovan, Paul McNeeley, my teammates, future Harvard baseball players, and the rest of the people involved in Harvard baseball. I know I'm leaving out a ton of names but I want everyone to know that I am tremendously sorry about this misunderstanding and I would like to make amends.

Very little comment here, except this sounds awfully sincere, and it is true that the meatier criticism of the program didn't come from John himself. I hope everything works out.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Sons of Bart Brush - 2008 Outlook Post

Greetings all. As I indicated earlier, I won't be updating the blog anywhere near as much this year, but I figured it would be good to put a marker here so that fans of Harvard Baseball can maintain a discussion about the team in the comments section. I ask, as always, that you keep it fair and gentlemanly.

Potential topics:

* The major story: Sophomore ace Max Perlman will not throw a pitch for Harvard this season, for reasons that may or may not become more widely known. I don't believe the Crimson has published anything on this subject yet, but presumably, they soon will. Obviously, this is crippling. With Perlman and Shawn Haviland, you've got arguably two of the best three starters in the Ivies pitching half your league games. Now? All three spots after Haviland are question marks. Is Unger a No. 2 in this league? Can Adam Cole recover from his lost 2007? Can Boomer Eadington throw strikes consistently? Is there an unlikely freshman savior? This could be a long season.

* Offensively, the Crimson has the versatile Matt Vance, the heretofore untapped power potential of Andrew Prince, last year's breakout star Jeff Stoeckel and... well, Steffan Wilson will be missed. Can Tom Stack-Babich take another step? Is this Matt Rogers' breakout season?

* With this schedule, will the Crimson win a single game before April?

* And then there's Harvard Boys. Recent alum John and 70s grad Rick write a co-memoir of sorts about their experiences in minor league ball. Both in the book and in promotional appearances, the Wolffs take a few shots at the current Harvard coaching staff.
Wolff’s apparent frustration with the Harvard coaching staff surfaces as another of the book’s motifs. During his entire collegiate career, according to the Crimson record books, he totaled just 17 official at-bats.

“I just never really felt like I got a shot to show what I could do here with the coaching staff,” John says. “In the long run, it might have ended up helping my career because I had to work that much harder at my game to prove them wrong. It sucked to go through—it was very frustrating, a tough time mentally for me to stay positive.”

The elder Wolff is less forgiving in his assessment.

“The Harvard baseball program is not very good, and the coaching’s not very good,” Rick says. “And everybody knows it. It’s not a secret.”

Although I like the younger Wolff quite a bit and enjoy Papa Wolff's work on WFAN in New York, count me among those willing to listen to Joe Walsh on this one:

“John left the program not in a way that I felt was positive,” says Joe Walsh, the Crimson’s head coach. “A kid who goes [1-for-9] and gets drafted, there’s usually some other reasons than in [those nine at-bats] he looked pretty good, like a major leaguer.”

Walsh says he does not think the local scout for the White Sox even knew John.

“Sometimes you get drafted by people from other areas, in other ways,” he says.

Both father and son insist John did not profit from his bloodlines. Rick was a Detroit Tigers farmhand and later a psychologist in the Cleveland Indians organization. He has written a number of books on sports psychology and remains involved with baseball as a member of the front office of the Stamford Robins of the Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League, the team that John played for during the summer of 2005. Rick’s father, John’s grandfather, is the Hall of Fame broadcaster Bob Wolff, the longtime voice of the Washington Senators and the first man to do play-by-play for the championships in all four major sports.

“The name recognition is something I’ve always wondered about,” John says. “It’s something that I obviously live with and something that I’m sensitive to because it’s always been a part of who I am. I would like to think that it had nothing to do with it—I’d like to think that my talent speaks for itself.”

Respectfully, I'm not sure what John did either at Harvard OR in summer ball OR elsewhere that would suggest that he deserved a draft pick where the likes of Zak Farkes, Schuyler Mann and Frank Herrmann were overlooked. But then, I may be astonishingly ignorant on this count. Wouldn't be the first time.

So all of this is on the table. Discuss, and stay tuned. Maybe we'll put up another post once the media coverage starts.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Wilson Leaves, and other updates

Hey gang,

Sorry I haven't updated in a while. Life's been quite busy. Since I've last posted:

* Steffan Wilson left Harvard after being drafted by the Brewers in the late rounds. An interesting choice--one wondered whether he might return for another year and improve his draft position after what had been, by any measure, something of a disappointing season for him. Anyway, Steffan Wilson is gone, and SoBB wishes him the best.

* Summer started. Where are people? Here and here.

* Pablo Torre did an interesting piece about race and Crimson sports, in which Joe Walsh was quoted.

* Matt Vance was Harvard's lone All-Ivy First Team rep.

I will likely conclude my regular run here at SoBB soon. I've got a new job coming up soon and a new writing project I'm taking on--with any luck, you'll hear about it some day. I will update off and on, and leave blank posts for you guys to work the comments. Thanks to Harvard Baseball and its extended family for so many years of great baseball, and for putting up with me.