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From the Anchor Desk
Wednesday, May 8, 2002
By Brian Bailey
Sports Anchor of WNCT-TV 9


Baseball rituals can come from unusual places


Herrion influences slugger

Baseball is an athletic endeavor in which traditions, customs and rituals make up a bigger swath of the fabric of the game than perhaps any other sport. Even the minor rituals have meaning and were born out of an inspiration of one sort or another.

East Carolina is no exception.

I hope you had the chance to see Brian Meador’s story on WNCT-TV about the Pirate “Home Run Celebrations” that aired on Monday night.

We had planned to produce the story, and then air it after a three game-sweep over St. Louis. Unfortunately, the Pirates lost two out of three, so we had to change our focus.

We decided to air the story anyway to try and lift the fans' spirits after a disappointing weekend.

I think it worked. I heard several comments after the piece aired. It was a fun piece, and went into detail about what several players did while crossing home plate after hitting a home run.

Darryl Lawhorn was probably the most interesting. Lawhorn comes across the plate with a couple of mock six-shooters, and you won’t believe where his inspiration for the ritual comes from.

“I saw Coach Bill Herrion on the sideline one time this season,” Lawhorn explained. “He was really into the game and he looked at the crowd and he came from his hips with his ‘guns’ and said, ‘Let’s get it up in here.’ I just thought it was cool, and so that’s what I do.”

Coach Herrion said that he didn’t even realize that he had ever gone to the “guns” during a game. “He got that from me?” Herrion asked. “I never really paid any attention, but we did have some great crowds, didn’t we!”

The piece featured several different players and a variety of celebrations at home plate.  The story even included Steve Salargo, who is currently serving an internship at WNCT-TV in our sports department.

It was a fun story, one that hopefully got everybody thinking on a positive note after a disappointing weekend.

Tournament fans in for treat in K-Town

If you are planning on attending the Conference USA baseball tournament in Kinston you are in for a real treat.

Grainger Stadium has never looked better. The stadium has gone through a major facelift, and the fans are the primary beneficiaries.

I can remember my first impression of the old ballpark when I first came to Eastern North Carolina back in 1984. The neighborhood in front of the park was in shambles. The stadium looked like it could cave in at any minute.

There was no way a can of paint would make a difference in that park. But years of hard work have turned Grainger Stadium into a first class, minor league facility.

“A lot of people have come together through the years to make this possible,” said Kinston Indian President and General Manager North Johnson. “We have taken one step at a time, and the park sure does look good.”

This latest step was to replace all of the main seating in the bowl of the stadium. The small wooden seats were replaced with bigger, vinyl type seats, making for a much more enjoyable experience.

If you get the chance, check out the new look Grainger Stadium at a Kinston Indians game. North might even direct you to your seat.

“We are really looking forward to hosting the Conference USA tournament,” he said. “We should be in for some great baseball, and we are all rooting for East Carolina to go a long way in the tournament!”

There is still plenty of baseball to be played, but the C-USA tournament is just around the corner.

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02/23/2007 01:22:45 AM

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