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Diamond Diary by Kevin Cooney

Nov. 10, 2003

Parents and Alumni Weekend...The Past, Present, and Future!

Another busy weekend in the books! Each year I face this weekend with mixed emotions. It's like a big party and I'm the host. My wife and I rarely entertain, so I have little experience in this area. It seemed as though people enjoyed themselves despite Saturday's weather.

Friday night we had about 150 people for dinner on campus. Everything ran smoothly, and I think we were out of there in record time. We presented the awards voted upon by last year's team.

Rusty Brown was the MVP, Randy Beam won the Edwin A. Nelson Most Valuable Pitcher, and Danny Core was voted the Gabe Somarriba Teammate award. Voting on all three was tough because last year's team was full of deserving candidates.

The Doc Schneider Alumni Award went to Brent White. Brent's first public speech was well received by the audience. He has been a great supporter of the program for years. He is our loudest fan at our biggest games, and really cares how our teams do each year.

We had close to forty alumni between the dinner and Saturday's game. I really enjoy getting to see these guys as they renew friendships and rehash history each year. It really makes me feel good to see how much fun they have with each other. That tells me a lot about how their college experience went.

The Alumni Game was called after four innings because of rain. I think the Alumni were getting ready to mount a comeback. They were only down 11-2, so they had a chance.

Dan Jackson had a rough outing. It seemed he pitched all day. It also seemed as though he hadn't slept all night. I guess all the excitement kept him awake.

Somehow Reagan Samaniego again played the infield, and again, made an error.

Ryan Withey, Tommy Murphy, and Gary Blocker brought their babies. BABIES!

Kerwin Belle came all the way from Canada, and Casey McGuire from NJ. Brennan Hervey did not hit a home run in the Home Run Derby, Jim Cooney did not give up a run, Garry Kamphouse did not buy any beer.

Thanks to all of you who came and made it a great weekend.

TWENTY YEARS???!!!... Sunday brought another former player. This one, John Seymour, was a senior in 1984 at Montclair State College when a rookie coach was trying desperately not to screw up a lot of good talent.

I met John in the Fall when I coached Montclair after Fred Hill left for the Rutgers job. I had four guys at first base when John approached me in street clothes and introduced himself. John had been the starting first baseman as a junior, but had some personal issues he was dealing with that seemed to be steering him away from baseball. I told him to take his time and work things out and we could talk in January.

When we started practice John was there. I told him he no longer needed his glove; he was going to be our DH. He shrugged and went on to have a good senior year for a team that went to the Division III World Series. John got hit in the butt by a Terry Mulholland pitch as we won a one hitter in the opening game. He then was our JV coach for a year, followed by a year at Rutgers. He then went on to be the head coach at Rowan College in NJ. Eventually John left coaching and now lives in the country in northwest Virginia.

He and his wife Dawn were here for the day as they prepared to go on a cruise with John's family. We all went to Mass together Sunday and I really got to thinking about all these years, and all these young people. John and Dawn have three daughters and seem to be very happy people. It really made me feel good to see how his life has gone. We have stayed in touch over the years , but to think it was TWENTY years ago was really amazing. There were some great guys on that team and the three others that followed. I owe much to them when I look at how my life has changed.

These kids and teams kind of blur together for me. The Montclair guys and the FAU players all seem to be part of the same team. For me they always will be.

I had a long talk with one of our guys Saturday. He had questions for me about adoption. It seems that his current relationship may be headed for the altar, and that might be the next step. As a biological and adoptive father, I knew what his big question was. Does it feel the same? I asked myself that many times as we awaited Maggie's birth. I got my answer the first night I gave her the two o'clock feeding. As I sat there and stared down,I got that same warm feeling in my chest that I felt all those years ago with Jim and Jeff. I look now at Luke and Maggie and can't believe my luck. It feels the same.

All these kids...starting as an assistant in '75, including the seven years of High School baseball, and the Montclair and FAU years, I will be starting my 29th year. That covers a lot of adopted kids.

It feels the same.



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