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After Hours with Amy Lawrence PODCAST: Hour 4

Amy Lawrence Show / Amy Lawrence
The Truth Network Radio
June 21, 2024 6:10 am

After Hours with Amy Lawrence PODCAST: Hour 4

Amy Lawrence Show / Amy Lawrence

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June 21, 2024 6:10 am

Major League Baseball hit a home run in Alabama | The history of Rickwood Field in Birmingham, Alabama | Can Connor McDavid will the Oilers to a Game 7?


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The number one pediatrician recommended brand. Good morning to you. It's Friday. It's a fantastic Friday. It's a free for all feeling good summer Friday. Oh yeah, first full day of summer on this June 21st. The days are starting to get shorter, so get outside and enjoy them. That's so depressing.

Don't listen to me. It's After Hours with Amy Lawrence. Happy Friday. Happy summer to you. We are asking you your favorite summer activities.

I shared a photo of mine. We've got a video up from our YouTube channel which counts down to our summer essentials. Actually steps up to our favorite summer essentials.

You'll get it if you watch the video. So that's all on our show Twix at Amy After Hours and also on our Facebook page. We're glad to connect with you. I'm excited about summer and I know many of you feel the same way. It's a bit of a slow down, an easier pace of life, more daylight, more time off.

Theoretically the opportunity to spend time with family and friends to travel. Oh my gosh, the numbers that I'm hearing already. The numbers of Americans who will be on the move for July 4th because it's a Thursday and so people are taking it as either a full vacation week or just a freaking long weekend.

The AAA, the people from AAA are already warning. The worst possible times to travel will be Thursday afternoon so people who are not taking any extra time off but are leaving on Thursday, Thursday afternoon and then Sunday or Monday. But a lot of people are saying or a lot of what they're saying is Monday will be just the worst day to be on the roads or to be in the air.

OMG. We're flying to Houston for a wedding and so we'll be traveling, let's see, Wednesday morning and Saturday night. Can you just all just clear the deck? Can nobody else travel Wednesday morning or Saturday night please? If there's days to do it, I mean those are the days I think. Off peak days. Yeah, so it's fun to make summer plans.

I hope that you've got some or you're making some and we'd love to know your favorite summer activity. I know baseball is on the list for many of you and I'm not sure that Major League Baseball could have a better stage or could have put on a more poignant and powerful and emotional tribute at Rickwood Field. It was one that caused me to laugh and clap and tear up, smile, caused me to look up caused me to look up the names of some players from eras past and from the Negro Leagues that I'd never heard of before and I am so glad that I did.

The number one moment of the baseball season for me so far, and it might survive the rest of the baseball season, was seeing a former Black Baron, a teammate of Willie Mays, who pitched right there at Rickwood Field. He was also the first Black pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals, so a connection there to the team that was playing in Alabama last night. He was a veteran. You guys, he fought at Iwo Jima. He's an American hero. And then back to his baseball career, when he finished that, he decided he would become a community leader. And at 99 years old, Reverend Bill Greeson is still leading a congregation in the Birmingham area.

The joy on his face, the smile, the grace, the peace as he told his story. I said this earlier, but I was really struck by it. The Negro Leagues and the surviving members have been ignored, forgotten, overlooked for a long time. Not by everyone, but even by baseball. The whole idea behind Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier and then every player who came after him, Willie Mays being number 10, the whole idea was to integrate, right? And yet for years, we've had segregation of sorts between Major League Baseball and the Negro Leagues. And now they finally decided to include the stats.

I mean, stats only tell part of the story, but to visit the oldest professional ballpark in the United States, two years older than Fenway, to experience that history and see all of these old timers, many of them with smiles, they could be bitter, angry, vengeful, frustrated, annoyed, all of those things, and they would be well within their rights. But that's not what we got from most of them. The joy was palpable. Actually got really emotional thinking about how long these men have waited to be recognized. And they probably didn't even care about that.

Maybe they thought there was never a chance it was going to happen, but they finally got a moment to be honored and celebrated. And it's not just for playing baseball. I mean, that's part of what they did. But that story includes so much more than today's modern day players. Everything they went through from the segregation into the South, to the travel, you know, you're going to hear some of the stories from Reggie Jackson, I think, really drive the point home, to the way that they were vilified and separated and treated like not just second-class citizens, in some cases worse than animals. And as I say, they have every right to be angry and bitter or even say, screw you, baseball.

And most of them look like they were having the time of their lives dancing, grooving to the music, talking to the players, talking to the players who escorted them out to the field. So cool to see that. And then to hear Bill Grieson's story. I'm so thankful, if nothing else, that I got to hear and see this amazing man and had a chance to read a little more about him.

And he did an interview on Fox. He was gracious, as I say, generous with his answers. Instead of coming across like he still has an axe to grind, just full of grace and kindness and peace, even when they were talking about traveling and playing during the era of segregation. Once you make up your mind and you see what's going on, no, you can't change it. So you adapt to it and make the best of it. And that's what we did. We didn't worry too much about segregation because when we get to the ballpark, we put that uniform on, go out and play, come back, change, go.

And that's the way it was with us. We didn't allow segregation to stop us from playing, from using our talents and gifts for what we were there for. And it was a tremendous blessing to have a gift from God that enabled you to be recognized as such.

How about that? Former black baron, first black pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals at 99 years old, is still making a difference. I love what he had to say. We did not allow segregation to stop us from playing, from using our talents and gifts for what we were there for. And it was a tremendous blessing to have a gift from God that allowed us to be recognized as such. Apparently he was a mentor of sorts to one Willie Mays. He was a determined young man. He had a gift, a talent, and he was so sensitive to listening to those who were older than he was. And it was a tremendous blessing. And we turned out to be real close brothers, like brothers. Everything worked well with us. If you were watching this interview with Ken Rosenthal on Fox, Bill Griesen was, the Reverend Griesen was sitting in front of the building. He was sitting in a chair, I think at the end of one of the bleachers. And as Fox starts to cut away, you catch him saying to Ken, was that okay?

Did I do okay? She's so cute. I love 99 year olds. And I have no doubt that his joy and the grace that he exhibits, the major reason why he is still spry and active and leading a church congregation at 99. It's After Hours with Amy Lawrence.

Really neat. If you haven't seen the moment where he was introduced to throw out the first pitch, you can check it out on our show account at Amy After Hours. Willie Mays was the centerpiece of this tribute. And while they were honoring so many other guys, his number 24 was everywhere. And Derek Cheater was talking about him as well before the game. Throughout the history of the sport, we all do it now, right?

People try to compare errors. It's impossible to compare errors, but you can talk to someone today and they'll tell you that Willie Mays was the greatest player that they've ever seen play. This is after, you know, 70 years, 73 years since he debuted. So it says something about him. He's a better person than I think he was a player. I had the opportunity and the pleasure to meet him a few times. I think he had the opportunity and the pleasure to meet him a few times and talk to him, have some conversations. But, you know, Willie Mays is one of those guys.

You say you're here sometimes, don't meet your heroes. Willie Mays is one of the guys you wanted to meet. And a lot of people who were there had their own stories of Willie Mays.

That was what was really cool. Not just his former teammates, but Barry Bonds was there. That was, I thought, notable because you don't see him very often. But he did he had to be there along with Ken Griffey Jr.

He walked out with Michael Mays who is the son of Willie and was there at Rickwood. Birmingham, I've been telling you all that if there's any way on earth my father could come down here that he would. Well, he's found another way.

So you already stand to your feet. Let him hear you. He's listening.

Make all the noise you can. Yeah, pretty incredible. The tribute from start to finish. And there were so many former baseball greats of all generations, of all eras that were there, that it really did feel like it was it was not just an honoring of the Negro Leagues and Willie Mays, but an integration bringing everyone together in a way that they just haven't been before in Major League Baseball. And I love the fact that you had the current players who were in awe of these pioneers of the game going way back and probably in some cases had not heard of them before either, but had a chance to ask them questions, had a chance to interact with them and maybe even say thank you.

I thought that was really impactful. And the game was secondary and yet it's kind of neat if you're considering the whole package that it was Alabama native Brendan Donovan who had the three-run homer in the first inning and honestly was the biggest star of the game. Rogers checks the runner at second. Now comes to the plate.

Excuse me, swing. That's a base hit up the middle. Here comes a runner around third.

That's Burleson. He's going to score and Goldschmidt goes into third base. So an RBI for Brendan Donovan, his third of the night, that gives the Cardinals another run.

And guess what? It's a serious situation with six runs on the board. 0-2 comes home. Donovan reaches out and gets to it, flips it into center field for his third hit of the game. Drives in Burleson and three for three for the Alabama native.

How about that? What a special night. I mean, this is something that we should celebrate. This right here is pretty amazing and to do it in Alabama and I got some friends and family in the stands, I think it's pretty cool. It's like I'm playing summer ball again, right?

I had heard about this field. I know a lot of my buddies have played here, but I'd never been here myself, so I wasn't sure. They always told me it was a big yard, so I'm glad they brought the fences in just to take. But man, I was just looking forward to being around some friends and some family and hopefully getting the dub and that's what we got tonight. Man, I'm just, you know, I took it all in today, try to really just enjoy the moment. It was unbelievable today, you know, the festivities before the game, during the game, you know, it's a good game out here too, so just try to enjoy it man. It was unbelievable today. It was honestly better than even what I expected and I expected it to be awesome, but it was an awesome experience, you know, getting to walk out with those players that played here before and obviously knowing they were kind of playing for Willie and, you know, that he started his professional career here. It was really special. It's a special day for the Giants. So first you hear from Brendan Donovan on Fox Sports and then Mason Wynn post-game, one of the Cardinals. He's 22 years old. He's a shortstop and he had a chance to soak all of this in.

He went one for three with a walk and a run scored and then Logan Webb of the Giants on NBC Sports Bay Area, even with his high expectations because they flew to Alabama and if you saw Bob Melvin on the broadcast, he indicated that what he told his guys is, you may never be in a situation like this again. Make sure you soak it all in. Make sure you look around. Make sure you talk to people. Make sure you check out the history and the elements that are preserved at Rickwood Field.

Make sure you don't just treat this like any other game because you may not be in this situation ever again. This is special. So I like that he told his guys that and then some of them, it really did understand that this was bigger than them, bigger than baseball.

It's after hours with Amy Lawrence. A couple more here. Elio Ramos, he was playing center field there at Rickwood and had hit a home run right in this game, even though the Cardinals ended up winning, but he could feel that significance knowing that Willie Mays had played in that same park at that same position. It's a privilege for sure. It's not a secret to everybody that Willie was one of the greats, you know what I mean? So it's a privilege. It's an honor and I hope his family liked it today. Sure.

Yeah, that's cool. To see this interaction and to know that these younger baseball players are getting an education like they won't get at any other time. Reggie Jackson, he was emotional on the Fox broadcast talking about some of his experiences and how he had mixed emotions. Emotions that were roiling inside of him about being back at Rickwood Field and we'll get to that a little bit later on. We had the chance to catch up with Katie Wu, who covers the Cardinals for the Athletic. I remember going back to two summers ago when Albert Pujols was chasing 700 home runs. By the way, he was there too. He was chasing 700 and she joined us.

I think they were on the west coast and she joined us to describe the scene and the atmosphere and I was so captivated by her storytelling that I asked Jay to get her on the show again and boy does she paint a picture and paint a scene and as it turns out she's also a Bay Area native and so this was really significant for her to be a part of. I wanted to bring back just a portion of that conversation and yeah it was amazing. Kind of dwarfed everything else that happened in baseball. I often criticize Rob Manfred and Major League Baseball because I don't feel like the sport does enough to promote its history, to promote its young players. Just seems at times like baseball comes up with gimmicks instead of just utilizing what it has, which is a rich history, a rich tradition and promoting the guys who are coming up into this game now, young superstars. But in what three consecutive years, I know we won't get the cornfield in Iowa, we won't get Field of Dreams this year because of the construction projects that are going on, but we got two visits to Iowa for the Field of Dreams, which players couldn't rave enough about. Same thing with the fans even though it's limited access and now this, which is a quaint old wooden ballpark that has so much history.

It's seen more baseball than most of us will ever know. The positive, the negative, the good, the bad. Birmingham certainly a part of our country with a history that is that. It's positive, but it's also tragic. It was really the crux of where racism and segregation came to a head and there's violence in that city's history as well. Just the way that you've got so many who have mixed emotions and mixed memories about the place and yet here it is, a ballpark that has withstood the test of time and preserves now a history that so many people need to know more about, me included. I'm glad for the history lesson that I got last night watching the game. I thought Fox did a tremendous job.

Of course, Kevin Burkhardt, he's a five tool broadcaster and so to have him there with so many others, Ken Rosenthal does an awesome job with interviews too. It was great. If you haven't seen it, I know it's going to re-air on FS1 and probably MLB Network, so there's no doubt you can find it again. I think Jade mentioned something about the app as well too that you can get a lot of these broadcast preserves, so please check it out if you didn't see it last night. What is your favorite summer activity besides baseball? At Amy After Hours, that's where you can find the photo of me and my favorite summer activity and also share yours plus on our Facebook page. It's After Hours with Amy Lawrence. You are listening to the After Hours Podcast. The stadium's small, but it felt like the feeling of it was pretty cool.

The pregame ceremony. Angie's List is now Angie, and we've heard a lot of theories about why. I thought it was an eco move. For your words, less paper. No, it was how you could say it faster. No, it's to be more iconic. Must be a tech thing.

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For more details, request your appointment at The emojis were incredible. During that time, I mean, I got emotional just standing there knowing where you're standing and just the overall feel of the tribute to William A. It's just like, man, the impact he had on people that he met, but also people that he never met. And that's when you know you've done it right, when you can have that type of influence. So the ceremonies were incredible.

They really were. It's been surreal, really, since we got here last night. And you also talked a little about once you get here, you're going to realize the magnitude of this game and how much it's more than just a game and probably a signature game in your career.

So enjoy it, have fun with it and go out there and try to play like Willie Mays did. This is After Hours with Amy Lawrence. Two managers who were enthralled by what they saw and what they experienced at Brickwood Field, Oliver Marmol of the St. Louis Cardinals talking about the pregame ceremonies, and then Bob Melvin of the Giants, who's got his history with Willie Mays and the stadium and just the atmosphere that he talked about there on Fox. And that was middle of the game.

It's After Hours with Amy Lawrence. I hope that you enjoy the broadcast. Or if you didn't see it, that you'll catch it. This was a signature moment and baseball did it with all of the honor and the emotion and the history that it deserved. And this was one of a kind.

But honestly, I hope they continue to go back to Brickwood. Not only does it showcase the stadium itself, the game's history, but certainly the men who came before and who were forgotten for too long. We had a chance to catch up with Katie Wu, who covers the Cardinals for the athletic. Great storyteller. We've had her on the show before. Love her work. And just some of the scene sets that she gave us, we wanted to share with you as well.

So we'll pick it up where I was asking her. If you're describing Brickwood Field and the atmosphere to someone who's never heard about it, what would you say about this old ballpark with all of its character? Yeah, that's a great question. And part of the reason why I got here early was that I could just be able to walk around the ballpark and experience some of that history. And so you walk in through the patented green walls at the front. Brickwood Field is painted out in full letters on the front of the ballpark. And they actually still have six of the original ticket counters, boss offices, from 1910.

And that's the first thing you see. And that kind of just got me in my tracks. And I was like, wow, it's 1910, over 100 years ago, and it's still here. And the way that they've commemorated this field and turned it into a place of history, but also a fully functioning baseball field was terrific. There was obviously a makeshift fence, but I actually was able to go behind the field and see the original wall that was built again in 1910. And the dimensions in center field were crazy.

I was 478 feet, Amy, can you believe that? I kind of wish they would have kept it for the game just to see. But I was able to, you know, go up and actually touch the wall. And it's stuff like that when you're in a historic place, that makes you feel connected toward a little bit more. And, you know, I know the players felt connected out there.

I certainly did too in that moment. Katie Wu is a Cardinals insider for the athletic. Cardinals Giants at Brickwood Field, a celebration of the Negro Leagues.

And we're so excited to have her back on the show here after hours with Amy Lawrence. When this celebration was first planned, of course, it was intended that Willie Mays would be there. A guy who grew up in the area, played his first baseball as a teenager at Brickwood Field. What did you hear about him tonight from the men who were there? Nothing but great things.

Is there anything else to say? Willie Mays, I mean, for me, I grew up a Giants fan. And if you grew up in San Francisco, you know Willie Mays is a rite of passage. And that is, that rings true throughout baseball.

So to be able to just hear everyone's different stories. What I loved about the stories is they were all completely different, but they have the same theme. And it was that Willie Mays was kind. And he really cared about you.

He didn't care about relaying what he did in his career. He cared about the conversations with the people that he met. And I think that is just a remarkable legacy to leave. During the pregame ceremony, Ken Griffey Jr., Barry Bonds is God's son of four, and his son Michael Mays came out. And there was a special tribute to Willie. And his son said, you know, that he had talked about doing anything he could to be here for that night. But he found a different way to be here. So people were on their feet and he said something that will stick with me for a very long time. His son said, you're already on your feet.

You might as well let him hear you because he's listening. And you could just feel that kind of person at the ballpark. That moment, it was really powerful. And I thought it was the perfect way to honor Willie, not with a moment of silence, but with a moment of celebration.

And I think that's exactly what he deserves. A great moment. And another moment I love from pregame, it actually caused me to tear up, was the former Cardinal. In fact, the first black pitcher who pitched for the Cardinals, Bill Griesen, at 99 years old, was a teammate of Willie Mays.

He's standing up there by himself and he throws out the ceremonial first pitch. I will admit I had not heard his story before, but now I am captivated, Katie. And isn't that the whole purpose of this game, right? I'm so glad you said that because now so many people are going to go home and be familiar with Bill Griesen's story. And this is a person, you know, I'm a professional baseball writer and I was unaware of just how much significance he had in his career. Exactly.

I think this game is doing exactly what it was designed to do, to educate and promote another era of history. What a cool moment that was for Reverend Griesen. He's from Birmingham. He's been a pastor here for over 50 years. I was talking to Willie McGee, who had the honor of escorting him onto the field. And he said, you know, I didn't even know he was 99 because he didn't look like it, that he was able to throw the ball to Ron Teasley Jr., the son of Ron Teasley, another Negro league player. It was, I think everything about this had symbolism, had meaning. And the best thing about this is that even though the game is over, there's so much to do.

There's so much to learn about, you know, it's never ending. And I'm looking forward to doing exactly that when I get back to St. Louis. Today's modern day Cardinals. What do they have to say about being part of this occasion? Mason Wynn, their young, talented, 22-year-old shortstop and the lone black player in either starting lineup was all about this event. He said pregame that it was very emotional experience for a stepdad to be here and that had stepped out. He would probably tear up. And as he was talking, he said, you know, I might tear up too. I mean, he grew up on a little league team.

Called the Negro league legends. And now here he is playing shortstop at Rickwood Field in 2024. Was talking to Ryan Halsey, the closer tonight, and he talked about how electric the atmosphere was. Everyone was beaming about this event. I will remember Mason Wynn's energy and how it much meant to him for a very long time because you could see it, a real life dream play out and the history impacted on someone.

But even at just 22 has obviously been impacted by so many things that we were here for. Everywhere all around, whether it was players, media members, fans, MLB personnel, I think would consider it as an overwhelming success. A home run, if you will. Or as Katie said later in our conversation, MLB knocked it out of the park.

Yes, we can't get away from our sports analogies, but they are appropriate in this case. And so if you want to hear the rest of Katie's observations, a few more of her conversations with some of the modern day players, but also some of the others that she encountered like Barry Bonds. Cool stuff. You can check it out on our podcast. We post the link on our show Twix every weekday morning, including this morning at Amy After Hours.

And then also on our Facebook page. I know many of you reacted to my conversation with Jennifer Rosati from the USA Women's Basketball Selection Committee. I don't know how many of you, well, many of you listened to it and I appreciate it because we had an overwhelming reaction to our conversation with Jen about the Olympic team and Kaitlyn Clark not being on the Olympic team. And so many of you did react and I appreciate that. Some of you, I think, just reacted to the name and the headline, which is kind of the issue on social media, but you can go back and you can grab that. You can certainly listen to Katie and even going back to our show in which we spent, gosh, three of the four hours talking about Willie Mays and you all shared your stories.

Really good stuff. So it's been an emotional week, a bittersweet week for baseball. Gosh, not just baseball. Think about it, losing Bill Walton recently too and some other Hall of Famers that we've lost and that have been memorialized.

It's a lot. I think for people, and this is something that as I get older, for people who have a personal memory, right? That person has made a personal impact on them and it kind of brings you in touch with your own sports mortality.

That's definitely the case. Jerry West being another one that people have talked about a lot in the last couple of weeks. So yeah, it's one of those parts that sucks about getting older is you lose your own personal icons, your own personal heroes. You lose people that you love, people that you love, lose people that you love. But I found that the best way, at least for me, it's just for me, the best way to deal with that grief and to navigate some of that pain and loss is to talk about them. Of course, that works for me since I talk for a living, but I was really hoping that at Rickwood Field, one of the blessings and the benefits of being there is that so many people who knew Willie personally, including his son and his godson, that they would be able to share their stories and share their memories and that would make them feel a little bit better to know that he wasn't just appreciated by me, right? He was appreciated by this person and that person. And gosh, what did we hear from Bob Melvin that Willie Mays was loved by people who didn't even know him? Amazing.

He'll definitely be remembered the rest of this baseball season and beyond. Thanks to Shopify Magic, your AI-powered all-star, Shopify powers 10% of all e-commerce in the US and Shopify is the global force behind Allbirds, Rothy's and Brooklinen and millions of other entrepreneurs of every size across 175 countries. Plus, Shopify's award-winning 24-7 help is there to support your success every step of the way.

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Nick David said it. And now he's delivered. Edmonton dragging Florida all the way back to Alberta. Keep winning battles. You know, keep the special teams going. You know, that's always been our advantage with a lot of the matchups that we have. And five on five. You know, Zach said win battles. Get out of your zone and play in their zone.

This is After Hours with Amy Lawrence. Keys to game number six. Wow, they've pushed it to a game number six in the Stanley Cup Final.

And they had to make the long trek back to Edmonton. You hear Jack Michaels on the Oilers radio network. I think he was eating the microphone. He gets very excited. He's got more energy in one hockey game, one Stanley Cup playoff game than I think I do in an entire month.

Now, here's an interesting question. Who's got more pressure? Matthew Kuchak told us after game number five, in which the Panthers lost in South Florida, that they're the ones who are still sitting in the catbird seat. Essentially, it's not us facing elimination. It's still the Oilers. The thing is, they're back in Edmonton. They've given up a ton of goals in the last two games.

What is it, eight and five? So 13 goals in the last two games. The Oilers captain, best player in the world, is starting to play like he's the best player in the world.

So that's a problem. And yet, Paul Maurice still believes that there's more pressure on the Oilers. Yeah, how do you close out the series? That's the deal, is you've got this one shot where you still have the upper hand.

Maybe, maybe not. I don't know, in Edmonton, I guess it's really a crapshoot. Connor McDavid, oh, gosh, it's just starting to get good for him and the Oilers. There's no fatigue. There's no fatigue. We've gotten plenty of time off, two days in between games.

So there's no real fatigue there. And yeah, it's exciting. Exciting to be back in Edmonton.

Excited to play in front of our fans, play in this building. That's the thing, is if you get a real lift and a push and you start out hot, of course, a two-goal lead, a three-goal lead, it's not insurmountable. Actually, a two-goal lead is nothing. It's like a two-point lead in basketball, but the way that the Oilers have figured out the keys, and honestly, if you're talking about, for them, the biggest change, think in game number five, the power play, being able to crack the penalty kill for the Panthers and score twice on the power play. They've also had a pair of shorthanded goals in the last two games. So figuring out ways to get through and to break down what is this smothering Panthers method of play, the four-checking, Connor McDavid's a key to that because he attracts so much attention, so that's a huge deal. But yeah, for them, now they can recognize one more win and we've pushed this to even Steven. All right, whereas for Matthew Kuchuk, who also had a goal in the last game for the Panthers, they got one last shot at this where they still have, as I say, the upper hand, and I do believe that they've got the upper hand because they are not in a win or you're done mode. We know how series have gone, but like I said on the previous question, I think both teams are really good at blocking out everything and just playing that one game. So I think we've done a great job of that playoffs. Obviously, they have as well for them to be in the cup finals as well.

So I don't really believe in that too much. I think now them fighting back, now it's a 3-2 series. It's a lot different than 3-0. So it's kind of just a new day. It really is. So both teams are going out there with the same mindset, both blocking out the outside noise, whether it's pressure on both sides, it doesn't matter. You got to keep that laser focus and you just got to just win your day.

If you can mentally tell yourself that, right, and that's the key. This is the only game that matters. It's so much about the mind game and the mental.

It really is. We see often when teams have an upper hand, they're not playing with the same ferocity or tenacity or urgency as the team that's facing elimination. But in this particular one, I still say it actually may be better for the Panthers that they're in hostile territory because they're going to need to be in the top five.

They're in hostile territory because they're going to know it from the very beginning. There's going to be no way you can get fat and happy and comfortable in this game. Nope. It's after hours with Amy Lawrence. What's your favorite summer activity? Oh, going to a hockey game?

Okay. Oh my gosh. It's June 21st and we have not yet crowned a champion in the winter sport of hockey. It's fantastic.

The ice must be great. Let's talk to Joe who's in Birmingham. Joe, welcome to After Hours. How are you doing this morning, Amy? I'm good, sir.

Thank you. I tell you what, Rick Wood, Rick Woodfield. My son played high school ball and he eventually played college ball, but he played there quite a bit and I couldn't stress to him enough, he was a pitcher and an outfielder, that where he was standing, the greatness of the people. And when you just walk in that building, the hair on the back of your neck stands up. And then, you know, there's a lot of people there, we could just walk around and just go up in little rooms and closets. It's just the history of that place is incredible. And then the old fence, like that one home run that guy hit last night that went over the little TV screen and all that, that ball didn't even come near the old fence out there. It's just a neat place. I don't know if you heard me talk about this on the air, Joe, but I was there for a work assignment about 10 years ago and I'd heard about the place, so I decided we would drive by it and just get some pictures from the outside. There was nothing happening there, but we happened to cross paths with a caretaker and he offered to give us a tour, take us inside. So it was completely empty. There were nobody in there, but we had a chance to walk all around. We had a chance to take pictures on the field, sit in the dugouts, which used to be actually below the field, right? So they had to, they had to lower the field. Yeah, the old light stanchions, not of course, not still operating up in the old press box.

It was amazing. And some of the pieces of the stadium that are still in place, going back to 1910, not to mention you've got all of these amazing photos and history that's preserved there. As you point out, it's almost a sanctuary to baseball. And just by walking in, you feel like you're on hallowed ground. I tell you what's neat at night is when they turn those lights on with those old transformers they still have left up, you just hear those things just humming away. You just raise your back that time. It's almost like a bug zapper, right?

When you hear them humming away. That one will definitely zap you, all right. Well, how cool was it to have this event in your city? Yeah, that did good. I wish they would do it every year. Well, I think it was a great highlight for Birmingham and for the ballpark. And I agree with you.

I hope they go back and make this an annual trek. You have a good one, Amy. Thanks, Joe.

Good to talk to you in Birmingham. Yeah, really neat. I did not see it when there was a game going on.

I saw it with no one there, but the caretaker was kind enough to let us wander all over, take photos, show us some of the really neat pieces of the history. And obviously, when you really think about what happened there, the significance. And you could just take Willie May's story, starting there as a 17-year-old, but the men who played there. And Reggie Jackson, he was talking about how it was, let's go ahead and play this as long as we can, Jay.

He was talking about how this was a bittersweet emotion for him going back to Rick Woodfield. Coming back here is not easy. The racism that I played here, when I played here, the difficulty of going through different places where we traveled.

Fortunately, I had a manager and I had players on the team that helped me get through it. But I wouldn't wish it on anybody. People said to me today, I spoke and they said, do you think you're a better person?

Do you think you won when you played here in Concord? I said, you know, I would never want to do it again. I walked into restaurants and they would point at me and said, this can't eat here. I would go to a hotel and they say, the can't stay here. We went to Charlie Finley's Country Club for a welcome home dinner and they pointed me out with the N-word. He can't come in here. Finley marched the whole team out. Finally, they let me in there.

He said, we're going to go to the diner and eat hamburgers. We'll go where we're wanted. Just a part of Reggie Jackson's story. And he talked a lot about the battle of being in Birmingham as an African-American player. And so I can imagine that there were bittersweet emotions and probably mixed emotions from some of the other Negro League survivors. And yet they got to be celebrated. They got to be honored.

I just hope that it was a source of joy for them to know how much the younger players wanted to get to know them and how much the fans wanted to be there too. Have a great weekend. We'll talk to you on Sunday night.

It's After Hours with Amy Lawrence. Boom! Bye. Bye. Bye.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-06-21 08:07:30 / 2024-06-21 08:25:46 / 18

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