As I am in London writing about and watching this international Olympics affair — with athletes from all corners of the world and every walk of life — I am also thinking about America’s game and all it inspires.
For 15 years covering the Padres and telling their life stories, I liked to start at the beginning. What were they like? Who influenced them? What did they learn along the way? What do they want to pass on to others? These questions and answers are not unique to baseball; each athlete, each person — especially once they’ve experienced a few years if not decades — can ask such questions and consider their own answers. This not only is a reflection, but can act as a conduit for change and moving forward, especially if they want their journey to go a different direction.
Here is the first installment: Early Advice Part 1
In the spirit of what I call, “The Good Sports Story” I intend to continue my approach with athletes of asking those questions that aren’t just about the box score or action on the field. That indeed is significant, but the back story helps explain the level and depth of their success and struggles, even, along the way. Of course, you can read more about this and many back stories and biographies in my book. Later in the series, I will also ask them what they think is important about doing more positive pieces, and hear how some are quite candid the negativity that often takes the spotlight.
So today I begin a weekly segment called “Boys of Summer.” I spent several days interviewing 18 guys from four teams: the San Diego Padres, the Los Angeles Dodgers, the San Francisco Giants, and the Chicago Cubs. Each team and the players I spoke with were welcoming, and thankfully, open and appreciative of the line of questioning, the topic of conversation.
Unlike 15 years with Channel 4 and some amazing photographers, I did the interviews myself without a crew — just a camera and microphone. Forgive a little shakiness, imperfect lighting, or if you can’t hear my voice quite as well as my guests’. Consider the concept we learned so well from the incomparable Trevor Hoffman, about how important it is to adjust and “re-invent” yourself as circumstances change. Storytelling is my passion, and I’m thankful to be able to make that my profession.
So we begin. I hope you will listen to the pieces all the way through. It’s important to let thoughts be expressed and completed. While they are edited down some, more than the essence, or just a quick soundbite, is here. Please share the site with your sports fan friends, young people you’d like to have hear from their “heroes”, or other athletes to show a mantra and mission to “Perpetuate the Positive. BE Part of the Good Sports Story.”
Here are the names of those you will hear from throughout the series:
LOS ANGELES DODGERS
Tony Gwynn, Jr.
SAN DIEGO PADRES
SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS
Now with other teams since my interviews:
YOMIURI GIANTS, Japan Baseball League
Edgar Gonzalez (former Cub)
CHICAGO WHITE SOX
Orlando Hudson (former Padre)