For one, my family and friends mean more to me than the very breath I breathe.
If I were in a boat with any of my family or friends and some one had to go overboard so that the others can survive, it's me.
Not because I'm a hero, but because my friends and family are.
Second, I love the game more than I love the final score. Wins fade away. The players and the memories are timeless.
Third, I'm angry about steroids, skyrocketing salaries, players who don't give it there all or make use of the God-given talent they have been blessed with. See Rules No. 1 and 2 above if anything seems out of whack here.
So when life circumstances allow me to bump into a fellow human being who seems to be a mirror of these sentiments and beliefs, I get all weak-kneed and fuzzy inside. Not because I had a brush with a star, but because I had a brush with a human that my kids and your kids can still look up to.
So when I had the opportunity to spend some time with former Major League utility man David McCarty, I got (see above)...all weak-kneed and fuzzy inside.
No, I didn't truly meet Dave in the flesh. I cannot tell a lie. But, while living this fantasy we call Sports Writer, I mustered up enough Khutzpah (see Todd's Yiddish Dictionary) to ask Dave to do a cross country interview.
Right in line with his character, he was open and gracious and giving.
The following is the first in a series I will be doing called "Through the Eyes Of....".
In each segment, I will present interviews with or stories about those that I view to be the "Good Guys". It is my personal crusade to present baseball in all it's beauty and splendor instead of hashing and rehashing all that is broken with our National treasure.
So, I present to you, the first in the series..Through the Eyes of ..David McCarty, World Champion Human Being.
TC: How many MLB teams did you play for?
DM: I played for nine different organizations, and was in the major leagues with seven of them.
TC: What was it like playing ball at Stanford?
DM: It was a great experience. I am a strong believer in going to college before turning pro. It gives a young man the chance to get his education paid for while allowing him time to mature as a person and a player.
By signing out of high school players are going to have to hit all the stops on the way up and there is some pretty brutal travel and very little pay in the low minor leagues.
The one exception to this is if a player is such a high-round pick that he will get several million dollars and be financially set for life. Otherwise the money will still be there when a player signs out of college.
TC: If you could have won a WS, an MVP, or gone to an All Star game which would you do?
DM: No brainer—win the World Series. It was incredible.
TC: Tell me who would present you if you got in the HOF?
DM: The guy I just bought the ticket from because that is the only way I’ll get in.
TC: What was your favorite on the road city?
DM: Seattle was always great because you could get up in the morning and just walk around. It is so compact that you can leave the hotel and see so much of it just by walking around. I also liked going to Texas or Houston so I could see family.
TC: Who had the crummiest MLB locker rooms?
DM: The old Cleveland stadium was the worst followed closely by Tiger Stadium and Fenway before the renovations.
TC: What is your favorite on-the-road meal?
DM: I enjoyed having barbecue in Texas and KC.
TC: Who was the greatest coach you played for?
DM: I most enjoyed playing for Tito (Boston's Terry Francona). He does such a great job of deflecting so much of the media heat away from his players. It really makes it easier for guys to relax in the pressure cooker that is Boston.
TC: Should baseball have a salary cap?
DM: Not unless there is a salary floor to go with it. I find it hard to consider when some of the teams receiving revenue sharing money have taken the proceeds and putting it in their pockets rather than spending on talent to put a better product on the field.
TC: What do we do about the spending of the Yankees?
DM: Keep having them spend foolishly. They continue to have the highest payroll in the game, but that hasn’t gotten them a WS title this century.
I think many teams need to do a better job of attracting fans and creating revenue. Step one in that process is putting a decent product on the field and it can be done on a modest budget.
Look at the Twins and the A’s. They continue to develop homegrown players so they can compete without breaking the bank. It takes smarts and effort, but can be done.
Let’s not forget that the Yankees were a joke of an organization when Steinbrenner bought them. All the money in the world doesn’t matter if an organization has poor leadership. The Orioles have spent money for quite some time, but are still in a shambles.
TC: If you were starting your own baseball team, who would be the one player you would have to sign?
DM:Not an easy question. A couple years ago I would have said Pujols. Now there isn’t a no-brainer pick. There are guys like Pedroia or Longoria that you want to see more of a track record out of before making an absolute commitment to having him be THE cornerstone your team is built around.
There are also guys like Teixeira or Howard that could be considered. I can tell you that I wouldn’t build my team around a pitcher, because they can’t affect enough games and there is too big a chance of injury.
TC: What are your favorite baseball movies?
DM: Bull Durham and Major League. I have to throw in Fever Pitch because you can see the back of my jersey in a dugout scene.
TC: Meeting which MLB player was the most amazing?
DM: Meeting and playing against Nolan Ryan was very special for me, because he was a boyhood idol of mine.
TC: Did you ever think you would be held in the position of awe that all boys, young and old hold you in?
DM: I remember what it was like to see or meet a professional athlete when I was a child so I can understand the fascination with seeing professional athletes.
TC: What should be done to clean the egg on baseball's face?
DM: A world-class testing program for steroids and HGH.
TC: If you had to do it all over again, what would change?
DM: I might have tried being a pitcher. I pinch hit against most of the lefty relievers in the game and I can say that there are quite a few that are in the big leagues because they are left handed and breathing.
That is why I tried my hand at pitching with the Sox. I told Tito and Theo that I could do better than a lot of guys who were in the league.
To their credit, they gave me a shot. I’m 6’5" and with little practice was able to hit 89 mph. I could also spot my fastball very well, so I think I could have had a pretty good career as a pitcher.
WRITER'S NOTE: Mccarty appeared in three games as a reliever for the Sox in their World Championship 2004 season. He was 0-0 with a 2.45 ERA and had 4 Ks in 3.2 innings of work.
TC: What do you do being retired at under 40 years old?
DM: I knew I would want and need to do something when I retired from baseball so I started talking to people while I was still playing ball about different careers I was considering. I settled on commercial real estate because of the flexible schedule and ability to get into the property-ownership side of the business.
TC: What are you doing now?
DM: I have been working in commercial real estate for Lee & Associates in Oakland for about three years now. We handle office, industrial, and investment deals. If any readers have questions or need help with commercial real estate please feel free to contact me.
TC: Are you involved in any charitable endeavors?
TC: Is your wife and family glad to have you at home?
DM: I think so. Most days. My wife, Monica, is a successful Scottish historical romance novelist. She has hit both the NY Times and USA Today best seller lists.
WRITER'S NOTE: Her book Highland Scoundrel hit book stores on March 24, 2009 and is doing quite well. It is the story of Duncan Campbell. He possesses all the attributes for a Highland chieftain except for one—legitimacy.
He was forced from the clan for a crime he didn’t commit, and has earned a reputation as the fiercest, most skilled mercenary on the continent. When their attempt to prove Duncan’s innocence uncovers a deadly secret, not only their lost love, but their lives hang in the balance.
My wife, Katie, bought it the day it hit stores and has not put it down.
And so is the life of David McCarty. Some how I think the world of sports would be on more solid footing if there were a few more of him around. It is reassuirng and gratifying to know, however, that when God assembles that "All-Star" team in the sky, David McCarty will be at the end of the bench willing to play first, the outfield or even throw a few innings of shutout ball. TC.