Buck O’Neil/North Florida Chapter meeting recap – 7/20/2022

Members of the Buck O’Neil/North Florida SABR Chapter gathered in the private room at the Tally Fish House for their monthly meeting on July 20, 2022, in Tallahassee, Florida. In attendance were:

  • Matt Keelean, Chapter President
  • Jim Wolf
  • Rick Swain
  • Brent Kallestad
  • Frank Alarcon
  • Renee Watters
  • Glenn Robertson
  • Matt Hudson
  • Steve Lastowski

Members gathered at 6 PM and engaged in extended casual conversation. President Keelean called the meeting to order shortly before 6:30 PM and introduced new member Steve Lastowski. Steve shared his longtime interest in baseball, including his experience as a player at the high school, collegiate and semi-professional level.

President Keelean then raised two points of Chapter business. The first item concerned upcoming meeting dates. Based on conversation held during the May meeting, at which time Chapter members determined to move the July meeting from the first Wednesday of the month to July 20th, President Keelean suggested (as was suggested at that same May meeting) that the Chapter not hold an August meeting, as its scheduled date would be August 3rd, only two weeks after the July 20th meeting. Chapter members stated their assent to the suggestion. The second point raised by President Keelean concerned meeting location for the September meeting. Chapter member Brent Kallestad offered that the owner of Blu Halo has offered the Chapter the use of the restaurant’s private room and the Happy Hour menu (with reduced prices) for its next meeting. After some discussion among Chapter members regarding a venue change, Chapter members agreed to give Blu Halo a try for the September meeting, without any obligation to that venue beyond the September meeting. Brent stated that he would follow up with the owner of Blu Halo to confirm availability of the private room for meeting there on September 7th (the first Wednesday of September).

Conversation then transitioned to a discussion about the new regime in charge of Florida State baseball. Those in attendance were surprised by the speed with which developments occurred, but were pleased with choice of FSU alum Link Jarrett as the new head coach. Members also noted that Jarrett has hired his two top assistants from Notre Dame as his top assistants at Florida State, with one of those assistants (Rich Wallace) having ties to the Sunshine State, something which can matter in recruiting. All in attendance agreed that there is excitement once again surrounding FSU baseball, which has not been the case in recent years.

The next topic for discussion focused on the MLB All Star Game, held the night before the meeting (July 19th). Opinions on the game itself varied, with some feeling that it was boring and lacking in action, and with most having a strongly negative reaction to the respective Home and Away uniforms. Members who saw the game, however, all agreed that the microphones worn by the players while on the field, especially the various pitchers and Yankees catcher Jose Trevino, offered some great insight into what players are processing and thinking through while on the field. The dialogue/banter between Trevino and his Yankees teammate, Nestor Cortes Jr., was particularly enjoyable to be a part of from the fan perspective. The newest MLB wunderkind, Julio Rodriguez of the Mariners, also was singled out as a player whom members enjoyed watching, especially his performance in the Home Run Derby on Monday the 18th.

Following further conversation on various topics of baseball relevance, including a brief review of the Chapter’s MLB Predictions standings at the half-way point in the 2022 season, the Chapter President gave a brief talk on his recent visit to a Savannah Bananas baseball game. Matt noted that the game attended by him and his wife was a collegiate summer league game played with wood bats, not a Banana Ball format game, a variation (derivation?) of baseball for which the Bananas have become famous. Matt provided background on the Bananas as an organization, and as a member of the Coastal Plain League, which is a collegiate wood bat league. He also shared with members details of the game itself, especially the circus-like atmosphere at the ballpark before, during and after the game. He also mentioned the possibility of a Chapter outing to attend a Bananas game at some point in the future, should members be inclined to do so.

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 8:00 PM.

— Matt Keelean