I was surprised this past week with the number of people who have asked me about our new baseball writer John Perrotto. I tell them that if Perrotto is not the top baseball writer in the country, he's in the top four. I consider him to be in the class of Peter Gammons, Tracy Ringolsby and Jayson Stark. I have known him ever since I started covering the Pittsburgh Pirates back in 1988 and consider him to be one of the hardest working baseball writers in the business. He is generally one of the first to arrive at the ballpark and is constantly on the move talking to players, coaches, managers and other baseball men.
It was Perrotto who impressed upon me that you can't just show up 90 minutes before the first pitch. You need to be there when the players start arriving if you want to really get the story. Before Perrotto joined the Ogden team, I used to buy the Sunday edition of the paper that he worked for, just to read his baseball notebook. I considered it the best in the baseball, maybe only topped by Gammons.
I am very glad that Bob Nutting was able to entice Perrotto to join the Ogden Newspaper chain. Not only does he know the major league baseball beat, he is one of the most knowledgeable people there is on the status of the Pirates' minor league chain.
A few years back when Kevin McClatchy was still involved in the Pirate ownership and it was decided to relieve Cam Bonifay of his duties as general manager, I told McClatchy that I had candidate for the opening. When he asked who it was, I said it was Perrotto. As McClatchy tilted his back and began to question my statement, I cut him off by saying, "He knows more about your minor league players than anyone on earth. If you don't hire him as general manager, at least hire him as the director of the minor leagues."
Looking back over the Dave Littlefield era, maybe McClatchy should have listened to me.
Looking out the window at all the snow in our front yard, got me to wondering what was going on in up "real snow country", Ithaca, New York, the home of Cornell University.
East Liverpool graduate (2005) Brian Kreefer has seen action in all 18 games for the Big Red. He had three points in Saturday night's win over Columbia, which was Cornell's seventh win in a row. They are currently 12-6, 2-0 in the Ivy League. Cornell won the Ivy League in 2008 and thus earned the right to take part in the NCAA tournament for just the third time in the school's history.
Kreefer is averaging just under three points per game, seeing 12 minutes of action on the average. He is hitting 47.6 percent (20 of 42) from the floor and 73.3 percent from the foul line (11 of 15), which is fifth-best on the team. He is also the fifth leading rebounder with 2.7 rebounds per game.
During his four years in Ithaca, Kreefer has been able to travel to a number of the more notable college basketball arenas in the country, including Duke's Cameron Indoor Stadium, the Carrier Dome at Syracuse, West Point' Christl Arena and Carver Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City.