Monday, March 24, 2008

The College Baseball Hall of Fame

What I'm listening to:and the pride of Aledo, Texas...

Folks, that's Dan Hunter - he's just released his full-length "Texas" LP...and it's incredible...go to iTunes and make the kid rich!

On to Tech stuff...but first a little bit of a story to set up DT!s first "e-mail intervew."

While I was a student at Tech I made many, many friends, but I'm pretty sure nobody was as legendary on campus as a guy I had the pleasure of getting to know fairly well, Chis Snead.

Chris was a student at Tech for a little longer than 8 years (maybe longer). Never before had I met a guy that was as in love with his school - and sports in general - as Chris. (If you get to meet him, ask him how many hats he's up to.)

He invited me to come sit with him at what would be my first Texas Tech Baseball game at Dan Law...and what an experience that was. For the uninitiated, Chris was the ringleader of a group of fans known as the "Tech Hecklers." They created an enviable environment and a distinct homefield advantage. They raised the level of heckling at the baseball diamond to an absolute was something to see...if you want to lean more about the Hecklers and read more about their storied history - click the LINK and have a cup of your favorite beverage ready...

Dr. Mike Gustafson on the left and "Sneader" on the right

Chris, fittingly, went to work for Texas Tech after he finally did graduate - and he continues to be an ambassador for Texas Tech and Lubbock.

While we were at Tech together (something only about 100,000 Red Raiders can claim) we shared many beers and many trips to Ruidoso so it was fun to re-kindle an old friendship...

One day not too long ago I had the occasion to call Chris as we had some no kidding business to discuss - and while on the phone I asked him about the current project that has garnered national attention - the College Baseball Hall of Fame.

Before we get started, you might want to check out these links...

College Baseball Hall of Fame/College Baseball Foundation

Here goes nothin'...

DT!: So Chris, give our readers an idea about what you were drinking (and who you were drinking with) when you got the crazy idea to start the College Baseball Hall of Fame…

"Sneader": Actually, we were having lunch at a local barbecue joint, the we being Mike Gustafson, Brad Walker, Ryan Hyatt and another person. For several years, Mike Gustafson and Brad Walker had talked about creating an award for middle infielders in college baseball since there was already an award for player of the year, pitchers and catchers of the year. Well, we came to find that the Smith Award, a national player of the year award given in Houston, was no longer being given in favor of the new Roger Clemens Award for pitchers. So we decided to create our own Player of the Year Award. A few meetings later, an opportunity feel into our laps when we were informed that there were plans for a West Texas Sports HOF to be built in the proposed Minor League Stadium that was to be built in Wolfforth, just west of Lubbock. In subsequent meetings, there was an agreement between that group and the College Baseball Foundation, the umbrella organization for the HOF and Wallace Award, that would have placed the College Baseball Hall of Fame out at the site but the plans fell through with the construction. So we got from a simple little middle infielder award to a College Baseball Hall of Fame in a really short time.

DT!: How has the Hall of Fame and the College Baseball Foundation being received by the players?

"Sneader": The response has been overwhelming! We hear stuff like “Thank goodness you guys are doing this” and “it’s about time!” We are inducting our third class this summer and everyone of the inductees has been in town for the inductions or had a family member accept for them if they were deceased. I think that these guys appreciate what it is that we are doing which is telling the story of college baseball.

DT!: Some folks are just stunned that Lubbock would be the home of this facility. How do you deal with that controversy?

"Sneader": That is a natural reaction for a person to say “Lubbock?!?” But that is okay. What we do is open the doors of our fine city and show off the hospitality of the great people of west Texas and by the time that people leave, we have created a new convert. 2007 Inductee “Bobo” Brayton said in his induction speech “The world needs more Texans,” referring to the kind way he and his wife were treated in Lubbock during his stay.

We don’t feel we have to apologize for where we are. Lubbock is a great place for this. Why Cooperstown, NY? Why Springfield, Mass? Why Canton, Ohio? The truth of the matter is that Lubbock is the place that we live and it is a terrific baseball town, not to mention, it is where we all live!

DT!: What are the future plans for the actual site of the facility and what kind of support are you lobbying for?

"Sneader": The city of Lubbock is about to kick off a large downtown revitalization project and the CBHOF is a large part of the plan. We have the support of the city and will be able to make some fairly large announcements regarding partnerships with the city in a few months. Additionally, we have hired the same person that put together the feasibility study for the George W. Bush Presidential Library to do one for the College Baseball Foundation and we will be kicking off a large capital campaign following this summer’s events.

DT!: When did you decide…”Hey, I need to graduate already?”

"Sneader": When my parents told me they were going to quit paying for school when my younger sister graduated from Tech.

DT!: Has the tradition of the Tech Hecklers continued? Have you considered a Heckling Academy?

"Sneader": The Tech Hecklers has become more of a booster organization, continuing to raise money for the baseball and softball programs, however, on occasion, we put on a little rag session. But nothing the way that so many remember us back in the day. I actually have been approached a couple of times and will be going over to the University of New Mexico to put on a Heckling Clinic for the Lobos at the request of their new head coach, Ray Birmingham. I also do a session on Sportsmanship every year at the student organizational academy put on by the Center for Campus Life.

So that wraps up this evening's post - I hope you guys enjoyed it...

Keep an eye out for the College Baseball Hall of Fame and make sure when you're asked to support it that you give what you can.

Lastly, Sneader, from the folks at DiscoTech! we thank you for your time and your awesome support of our favorite school...If we can ever help you out in any way you be sure and give us a buzz...

Wreck 'em!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Awesome interview.

Chris Rocks, I get to hear him every Friday on Jack Dale's show (Sportsline) on KKAM 1340 AM Monday - Friday 7am to 9am

Keep Rockin Chris, TECH fans support you in all you do :-)

Keith Davis