Transition made to the booth

Who says former players don’t make good broadcasters?

During the midst of Atlanta’s slide against the Philadelphia Phillies this week, former major league pitcher and future Hall of Famer John Smoltz joined Chip Caray in the booth as part of the Braves broadcast team.

Smoltz’s timing is impeccable in terms of knowing when to analyze, when to criticize and when to add levity to a situation. In fact, it’s his sense of humor which seems to be a polar opposite from his demeanor on the mound when he stared down opposing hitters.

It’s not your stand-up type of comedy routine. Rather, it’s those one-liners that come out of nowhere that cause his broadcast partners – whether on the MLB network or on FOX Sports South – to burst out with laughter.

Case in point. On Wednesday, Smoltz informed Caray the Braves needed a joke rally to boost the offense. Several moments passed and Smoltz said, “What did the duck say when he was purchasing some chapstick. Put it on my bill.”

And Caray’s response, “By your standards, that was pretty awful.”

As I’ve learned by listening to Smoltz, he is man enough to laugh at himself even when a joke goes awry.

  • Community Day leftovers: Actually, in terms of food the hot dogs went fast as the St. Marys Post 79 American Legion baseball team celebrated Community Day this past Tuesday at Dave Wilson Field.

The grandfather of Post 79 first baseman Matt Houser, Lewis Houser, beckoned the fans following the completion of the game to join the players in feasting on the food provided by area grocery stores. Lewis Houser wanted to make sure the 400 hot dogs he cooked earlier in the day were put to good use.

Few of those spectators left empty-handed as two dozen door prizes were raffled off. Three grand prize winners also were recognized.

Third place, which consisted of one $25 gift card to both Applebee’s and Outback Steakhouse, went to Ritchie County deputy sheriff Ron Barniak. Amanda Taylor from St. Marys claimed second place, which featured a $100 gift card to Dunham’s Sports, while Pleasants County deputy sheriff Steve McFarland took first place and the $200 gift card to Dick’s Sporting Goods attached to the prize.

Lastly, couldn’t help thinking about the story relayed by Post 79 catcher Braden Barnhart’s father. Brian Barnhart kept the official scorebook for Tuesday’s game against Ripley Post 107 and as the two teams were taking infield, he recognized one of the fielders just about taking a ground ball in the chops. It reminded him of Braden’s recent Colt League practice where a ball knocked out one of his son’s teeth.

After making a few phone calls, within an hour the tooth was back in place. That same week, Braden had basketball practice and nearly forgot his mouthpiece leading Brian to comment, “I wasn’t going to let him practice without it.”

Sounds like Braden might make a good hockey player.

Contact Kerry Patrick at