Back in the Day

When I was growing up, there were no Florida Marlins, so like most Floridians, I was an Atlanta Braves fan. TBS was on in our house, and I got to watch John Smoltz, Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux play every day. They were the guys I looked to emulate on the mound.  So obviously, when word came that John Smoltz was going to be a Cardinal, I was excited.

When he arrived, I was a little leery of saying, “Hey John, I grew up watching you as a kid and
I’m a big fan,” because I said the same thing to Eric Davis when I came up as a pitcher and he looked at me and said “thats why I’m going to retire.”

So I wasn’t sure how to exactly word my adulation. But, before I could even say anything to him, he came up to me and shook my hand and said, “I’ve got to give you props for what you have done” and shook my hand. That was pretty cool.

Our last off day was Albert Pujols’ Celebrity Golf Tournament at St. Albans golf course. My wife and I had just been fitted with some new Taylor Made clubs, so I was excited to play and try them out. I had a great group and it was a lot of fun. I knew we didn’t have a chance to
win, though, when Smoltz showed up. Rumor has it that he could be a pro, he is so good.

Mike Piazza was in the group ahead of us and he looked like he was driving the ball pretty well, and Ryan Ludwick was behind us, which made for some good ribbing throughout the day.  It was a great day benefiting a great cause.  For more information about the Pujols Family Foundation, go to http://www.PujolsFamilyFoundation.com.

Till next time…

17 Comments

Rick, loved the story about John Smoltz. Just proves what I
always thought about you. You are a gallant gentleman.

Hope you are around for a long time.

Seriously, what do you say to someone like Smoltz? He always seemed like a really nice guy, good to hear he actually is. Nice shout out to the Pujols Family Foundation and good luck with this homestand. You the man, Ank!

rick,
you seem like such a nice guy and care about others and thats great 2 look up 2…its such an honor watching you play…i’ll be there monday (the 14th) i csn’t wait 2 see you play and the rest of the team you guys are the best!!:)

Brooke

Rick,
you seem like such a nice guy and care about others and thats great 2 look up 2…its such an honor watching you play…i’ll be there monday (the 14th) i csn’t wait 2 see you play and the rest of the team you guys are the best!!:)

Brooke

Hey, Rick! Barely recognized you since you shaved off the “thing.” I like it….had character. Funny thing about not knowing what to say to someone you grew up idolizing or watching play the game….I worked security for the Reds for five years and my first season was the last at Cinergy. So, we had the Big Red Machine reunion for the last day of the season and then the next night for the Pete Rose Softball game with so many players I watched as a kid I couldn’t count them all! I had so many encounters with many of the 70′s Reds and with people like Mike Schmidt. The great thing was I always found something to say, like, “I remember seeing you do this or that.” Every single person I spoke with was very gracious and personable. I have a Cardinal memory, too. While working near the batting cages during a rain delay, about five Cards were sitting on a bench waiting to hit. A few of them kept staring my way and soon were talking amongst themselves and looking over at me. I got up and walked over because I knew what they were thinking. I said, “I know, I look like I could be Mark McGwire’s brother, right?” Because all during that home run thing, I had people stopping me and saying, “You look like Mark McGuire!” They laughed and admitted that was what they were thinking. So, I thought….if the Cardinals think I look like him, I guess I do. I have a blog I just started called Redsrunner on MLBlog. I’m going to tell a few stories about my experiences at the ballpark and interactions with people, players, and staff. I have a few really good stories about Nuxhall that I will be writing on it soon. Check it out if you have time. Good luck in the post-season there, buddy! david

Rick, my CPA cousin won’t take cash for doing my taxes. He is a wine guy, so I sent him some of your Napa Cab. He says “it was killer!” You may not pitch anymore, but your wine is a great strike – right over the pallate!

Rick… who hit it farther, you… Ludwick (from Vegas :) or Piazza???

Buz – http://buzblog.mlblogs.com/

Loved the story about Smoltz. You have accomplished a lot also. I hope you remain a Cardinal. More importantly, I want to thank you for visiting a friend of mine a couple of weeks ago at the Children’s Hospital. It meant a lot to him and I appreciate your willingness to lift the spirits of others when you get a chance. God’s blessing to you and your family.
terry

I love that story about how you grew up idolizing Smoltz, it’s something I can relate to. You are inspiring to me, you’re a great player, but sometimes it’s not enough for me love a player, the fact that you went from a pitcher to an outfielder and had all the struggles in the past, makes you more inspiring than Albert Pujols, or Matt Holliday. And it’s almost like a gift that you get to play with him.

I love that story about how you grew up idolizing Smoltz, it’s something I can relate to. You are inspiring to me, you’re a great player, but sometimes it’s not enough for me love a player, the fact that you went from a pitcher to an outfielder and had all the struggles in the past, makes you more inspiring than Albert Pujols, or Matt Holliday. And it’s almost like a gift that you get to play with him.

Mr. Ankiel, It’s good to see your back after that collision in the first part of the year. I have followed your career when I saw you playing for the then Potomic Cards and then given the opportunity making the most of your return at the M.L level. Having seeing the greats like Mr. Brock at the old stadium, I to in my late teens played ball in Atlanta area and enjoyed games at the old Fulton stadium. Some don’t know the physical toll Baseball players are put to. Seeing a guy trying out in C.F. making a great catch and breakining his collar bone, losing my own maniscus as a lefty I can respect the great accomplishments that you and others have made in the M.L. The outing that Mr. Smoltz had in S.D was outstanding. these are inspiring to our youngsters, hey and with what the team did in the 35, I wish guys all the strength to get that 55. Go Cards!!!!!

Rick, I am a big fan. I’ve been telling folks that you are a big part of the Cardinals’ success. I have also been telling them that you need to check your hands on the bat; position them differently and keep your hands relaxed. Tear them up in the playoffs. Best of luck.

I attend or watch every game. It was not a surprised when you said that your shoulder is still not 100%. Having a nagging injury is like a ball-and-chain. I got to see the Sunday game with the Cubs. When I watched the tape, I saw Todd Tichenor missed a call on a third strike.
I could tell you were wanting to connect and had some good cuts.
Hang in there.
Did the new clubs fit?

Rick,

“Back in the Day” I watched you pitch for the Carolina League team in Woodbridge, VA. I’m not sure if they were the Prince William Cannons or the Potomac Cannons back then. Somewhere around here I still have a Rick Ankiel pin in purple and gray!

I’m glad you found another position to succeed! Now if I can just win the Aquos package associated with your name! How about it for a loyal fan! ;

I hope to see much more of you playing in the playoffs. You are a great defensive player. You get a great jump on any ball hit in the outfield and can time balls with great ease. I hope your batting comes around soon. I saw you a few years ago playing AAA at against the I-CUBS, you hit 7 home runs in 3 games. So have confidence and just go out there and do it. The Cardinals will be making a big mistake to take your defense out of the game for the playoffs. They need you out there. Good luck and keep working hard.

A big CONGRATS to you and the entire team on winning the Central Division!! Well deserved! We are so excited here!

GO CARDS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hey Rick Ankiel you can do better. I watch almost every game in Fayetteville AR. In your Stance at the plate I think your shoulders are TO CLOSED. Please give it some thought. Open the shoulders but keep feet the same. Wayne Johns

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