News From Terre Haute, Indiana

July 15, 2009

Amey Takes Aim: Making a comeback as Home Run Derby pitcher while Cubs fade

By Andy Amey

TERRE HAUTE — Having glanced up from my arduous work for just a few seconds Monday night — and seeing mostly commercials as a result — I have decided to make a comeback.

If I can only limber up my aging left arm enough to be able to throw a baseball 50 or 60 feet — I noticed the guys Monday weren’t on the mound either — surely I can be hired as a Home Run Derby pitcher. I know I wouldn’t walk as many as the guys would have Monday — you’re trying to let them hit it! — and from past experience I’m sure I could get lit up like a Christmas tree.

Maybe they’d even let me wear my glove on my belt.

I enter the All-Star break having a stress-free major league season, however, which may strike some as a surprise. The Cubs have managed to stumble past the midpoint of their schedule with a .500 record, meaning they’ve essentially wasted the first three months of the season.

(Wait for it.)

Yes, and the last 101 years too.

(Rim shot.)

But I’ve known all this was coming since about February; I just wasn’t aware of the details. As soon as all the baseball experts started talking about how the Cubs merely had to show up to win their division and could spend the entire year setting themselves up for the playoffs, I wrote them off.

Many of you can probably remember the disastrous 1985 season, when the Cubs were supposed to have been shoo-ins after blowing a two-game lead in a best-of-five series to San Diego the year before, but my parallel goes back farther than that.

This team reminds me of the Cubs in about 1971 or 1972, when they were still trying to recapture the magic of 1969 (or at least its first four months) and were getting older and older without getting better. What’s worse about this team is that most of its geezers are locked into long-term contracts that make them untradeable, which could indicate that in a couple of years we’ll be looking back at 2009 as the good old days.

Tickets at Wrigley might soon become easier to get. Maybe they’ll win it when I turn 100.

(Wait for it.)

Yes JoJo, I know that time is not that far off.

(Cymbals.)

Right now my baseball hopes are wrapped up in hoping Joe Thatcher gets recalled again by the Padres, so maybe I can finagle good seats for that upcoming Padres-Nationals series that’s sure to be a hot ticket.

Yes, you won’t be hearing from me next week, because Jenny and I will be visiting our nation’s capital. We plan to fix the government, stimulate the economy (her department) and bring about world peace.

Then after lunch, we’ll probably go sight-seeing.

• • •

Couple of other things:

• Phenoms — I’m still kicking myself for not getting to Rea Park soon enough to watch Hannah McGee actually play tennis (her matches didn’t seem to last very long) in the Mary Ann Stadler Memorial last weekend, but at least I had a nice chat with her and her father.

Hannah isn’t the only up-and-comer at her school, she pointed out to me. Another girl there who still isn’t in high school yet played in the U.S. Women’s Open that weekend.

• Honor — Cheryl Weatherman is one of the members of Inspiring Women, Class of 2009, who will be honored July 30 at an Indiana Fever game.

The former Terre Haute South volleyball coach and South Vermillion principal probably still remembers me as one of the idiots who used to yell at her when she was officiating Indiana State women’s basketball back in the old gym on Seventh Street; there’s no doubt she’s one of the pioneers of girls sports in Indiana.

Others in the class include Jan Conner, who needs no introduction; Judi Warren, the first Miss Basketball and later the coach at Carmel; Cinda Brown, longtime coach at Rushville; Donna Cheatham, ditto at Scottsburg; Linda Barnett, whose Clinton Central team beat Jennifer Turner and Terre Haute North for the North Montgomery Regional championship a few years ago; and Patty Broderick, another longtime official who would probably recognize my voice.

Great job, ladies.

• Medals — Joel Whittington, preparing for his junior year at Northview right now, is back from Australia where he competed in track and field on a trip sponsored by DownUnder Sports.

He won a gold medal in the 300 hurdles, a bronze in the 110 hurdles and was a finalist in both the 200 and 400. Great job to you too, Joel.

• A volunteer no more — Former South Vermillion linebacker/running back Keith Montecillo, currently a student at South Plains Junior College at Lubbock, Tex., has moved up from summer volunteer work in its weight room to being tight ends coach for the Escatado Matadors. The Lubbock high school is the preseason top-ranked team in its class.



Andy Amey can be reached after 4 p.m. for comments or news items at (812) 231-4277 or 1-800-783-8742; by e-mail at andy.amey@tribstar.com; by mail at P.O. Box 149, Terre Haute, IN, 47808; or by fax at (812) 231-4321.