Porter On Fast Track - Bo Porter has managed only two teams in his professional baseball career - the 2006 Jamestown Jammers and now the 2013 Houston Astros.
When Porter managed the Jammers, he had nine of seasons of pro baseball behind him, including three as a major-league player for the Chicago Cubs (who drafted him), the Oakland Athletics and the Texas Rangers. His ninth year was as a hitting coach for Greensboro, the Marlins Class A team in the South Atlantic League. After one year as a minor-league coach, he was a minor league manager for the Jammers and led them to a 33-49 record in the New York-Penn League in 2006.
That was the end of his minor league career.
Porter was the parent Marlins' third-base coach in 2007 and has been in the major leagues since. That's quite a jump from short-season Class A to the major leagues.
After coaching for the Marlins for three seasons, Porter was a coach with Arizona for one season and two with Washington, where he will finish out this season.
But if Porter wasn't in the major leagues, he might have been in the National Football League. He attended the University of Iowa on a baseball and football scholarship. He played both sports for the Hawkeyes and in football, under coach Hayden Fry, he played in the Rose Bowl, the Alamo Bowl and Holiday Bowl. In his senior season he was named one of Iowa's three most valuable players and was named to the All-Big Ten Team as a defensive back.
He played his senior season of football after playing baseball in the minor leagues for the Cubs that summer.
Porter knew he had to make a decision to make and chose baseball.
In 2006 he said, ''I talked to guys I played with in college that are playing in the NFL or played in the NFL and they gave me all the horror stories of the non-guaranteed contracts and they're on their fourth surgery. When I listen to those stories it makes it pretty easy to sit back on the couch and say, 'I think I made the right choice.'''
I guess so. Twenty years after being drafted as a player, he will be a major-league manager.
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Breaking Up A Double Play - While reading a book about the the 1960 Pittsburgh Pirates, I learned about a baseball rule change because of something Don Hoak did in 1957.
Hoak, who was the Pirates third baseman in 1960, learned about an interesting base-running maneuver in 1956 when he played for Cincinnati. That year in a Brooklyn game against Pittsburgh, the Dodgers had runners on first and second with one out in the ninth inning. A ball was hit directly to the Pirates shortstop, but Jackie Robinson, running to third, picked up the ball to prevent an inning-ending double play. The next batter hit a three-run home run to give Brooklyn a win over Pittsburgh.
Hoak heard about the play and in 1957 he found himself in the same situation in a game against Milwaukee. He was on second base when a double-play grounder was headed to the shortstop. Hoak picked up the ball and flipped it in the air.
The umpires didn't know what to do and it was handled the same as the Robinson situation in 1956. What Hoak did was not ruled illegal and play went on.
After the 1957 season, the rule was added that the umpire can call an automatic double play if the base runner grabs the ball.
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Getting Glory On Other Side Of The Line - You always about how how the running backs in football get all the glory while the linemen who open the holes to make those runs happen are usually overlooked.
After a recent game, Jamestown coach Tom Langworthy noted how it's the same on defense and the ''glory boys'' are the linebackers who usually make all the tackles. And they are able to do it because of the defensive linemen.
''Those defensive linemen, they sacrifice a lot,'' he said. ''They don't have a lot of glory. It's all up in there tight and they're getting piled on and stepped on every single play and that is what sacrifice is all about. These kids sacrifice so linebackers clean up and make some tackles.''
He added, ''We really appreciate that. I think it's really a great life lesson where you tell these four D linemen you're going to have to be down and these guys are going to be double teaming you. You'll be down on the ground stepped on and kicked the whole game and someone else is going to get the credit. That's a heck of a life lesson because sometime in their adult life they're going to have to sacrifice.''
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To Knock It Down Or Not To Knock It Down - The famous ''non-interception'' by Green Bay's M.D. Jennings in Monday night's game against Seattle could have been prevented if he would have done what all defensive backs are told to do on Hail Mary plays. They are told to simply knock the ball down.
That's what the Baltimore Ravens successfully did on the next-to-the-last play in their win over the Cleveland Browns on Thursday night.
But on Sunday afternoon there was another Hail Mary play at the end of the Detroit-Tennessee game. It was the Lions making the pass and Tennessee linebacker Akeem Ayers did what he was supposed to. He knocked the ball down. But he knocked it down into the arms of Detroit receiver Titus Young who scored.