We all know the term "jack of all trades".
Matt McDermott certainly qualifies for what he did for the fledgling Continental League in Texas this summer.
Perhaps most importantly, he helped coordinate league and team publicity efforts, including statistics for the four teams. More established leagues could do well to emulate some of the what this writer saw come in from the CBL.
But Matt McDermott also served, at times, as a bullpen catcher, first base coach, fill-in public address announcer, part-time color commentator, marketing assistant, My Space coordinator, gave lessons to youngsters, and, in his words, was "chief bat bag carrier".
All of these tasks were no doubt secondary, in McDermott's mind, to what took place one sweltering day earlier this month. He actually played two innings for onetime major leaguer Tom Goodwin's Lewisville Lizards.
McDermott, who played club level baseball while working toward his BS in Management Sciences at SMU, had wanted a professional opportunity for 11 years. Now 33, he first went to a tryout camp for the Waterbury (CT) Spirit of the old Northeast League way back in 1997. He ended up doing some bullpen catching for Stan Hough, now the manager of the defending champion Fort Worth Cats in the American Association. It was a non-paying, non-playing position.
This Dallas resident, who thankfully has a stock-trading job as well as his own LLC called Bullpen Marketing, did not give up. He started training again in 2003 to seek a possible position with the Cats, he did some bullpen catching for them two summers ago and tried out again in 2006.
His two-inning stint August 5 came about when the starting catcher went down to injury. Matt reports his efforts included four putouts from strikeouts and a K of his own in his only time at bat in a 14-7 loss to eventual Continental League champion Tarrant County.
"I finally did it; it was great," McDermott told me, admitting a sense of relief in proving he had the ability. All he needed was a chance.
The world--not just the baseball world--needs more Matt McDermotts.
Thursday, August 23, 2007
THE WORLD NEEDS MORE PEOPLE LIKE MATT MC DERMOTT
Former chief spokesman for Major League Baseball Commissioners Bowie Kuhn and Peter Ueberroth. Six years as publicity director for the Kansas City Royals, and a background in newspaper, radio and television. Started Wirz & Associates, a sports PR and consulting firm, in 1985. Has written extensively on Independent Baseball since 2003.