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"The Baseball Whisperer" - a real Field of Dreams story...

04/20/2016, 1:15pm CDT
By Clarinda A's

...about a legendary coach and the professional-caliber baseball program...

"The Baseball Whisperer"

From an award winning journalist, a real Field of Dreams story about a legendary coach and the professional-caliber baseball program he built in America’s heartland, where boys come summer after summer to be molded into ball players – and men.

Clarinda, Iowa, population 5,000, sits two hours from anything. There, between the corn fields and hog yards, is a ball field with a bronze bust of a man named Merl Eberly, a baseball whisperer who specialized in second chances and lost causes. The statue is a gift from one of Merl’s original long-shot projects, a skinny kid from the ghetto in Los Angeles who would one day become a beloved Hall-of-Fame shortstop: Ozzie Smith.

The Baseball Whisperer traces the remarkable story of Merl Eberly and his Clarinda A’s baseball team, which he tended over the course of five decades, transforming them from a town team to a collegiate summer league powerhouse. Along with Smith, future manager Buddy Black and star player Von Hayes, Merl taught them to be men, insisting on hard work, integrity and responsibility.

More than a book about baseball players who landed in the nation’s agricultural heartland, The Baseball Whisperer is the story of a coach who puts character and dedication first, and reminds us of the best purest form of excellence.

BOOK TO COME OUT JULY 5, 2016 – Is available for pre-order on Amazon.com.

Reviews

The Baseball Whisperer is a book that teaches the reader as much about hard work and American values as it does about the game of baseball. Through one man's efforts, hundreds of young men from all over the country and from different economic backgrounds came through a small town in Iowa and learned how to be better baseball players.  Along the way they also became better people. You don't have to love baseball or even sports to learn from the magic that happened in southwestern Iowa.”
—Joe Buck, FOX Sports broadcaster
 
“In reading The Baseball Whisperer I was able to relive two glorious summers that had such a profound impact on both my personal and professional life. Merl, Mrs. E[berly], and the entire Clarinda community will always have a special place in my heart. To this day I still love telling stories about my time as a Clarinda A.” 
—Bud Black, 2010 National League Manager of the Year and former A’s pitcher
 
"Mike Tackett, talented journalist and baseball lover, has hit the sweet spot of the bat with his first book. The Baseball Whisperer takes one coach and one small Iowa town and illuminates both a sport and the human spirit."
—David Maraniss, author of Clemente and When Pride Still Mattered

 "Michael Tackett takes us to a wonderful place and time in his heartwarming story about the small-town man who made big baseball dreams come true. The Baseball Whisperer is a compelling sports story, but it also delivers on the valuable life lessons that come from great sports leadership: hard work, honesty, compassion. The story of summer league baseball is the story of the American heartland, and Tackett has captured it beautifully."
—Christine Brennan, USA Today sports columnist and ABC News, CNN, and PBS commentator

"For all who care about baseball, character and leadership, Michael Tackett has brought us the inspiring and unforgettable story of a phenomenal coach and his legacy."
—Michael Beschloss, author of Presidential Courage

A's fall to Mustangs in rain-shortened game

07/16/2015, 5:57am CDT
By Derek Martin @ KMALand.com

(Clarinda) -- For the third straight game, the Clarinda A's...

(Clarinda) -- For the third straight game, the Clarinda A's took a one-run loss. This one, though, was a little different.

The A's trailed 3-2 entering the ninth inning when the St. Joe Mustangs racked up six runs to take a 9-2 lead. Before the A's could try to answer, the rain came down to end the game. Without the completion of the ninth, the final score reverts back to the eighth giving the Mustangs a 3-2 victory.

The A's were probably a little lucky it wasn't worse than 3-2 when the ninth began, as St. Joe pounded out 12 hits through the first eight innings. Meanwhile, the A's had six of their own.

Clayton Daniel and Chase Hamilton had two hits each, while Zack Belanger and Steven Pico Jr. finished with one apiece. Hamilton drove in both runs with Belanger and Pico Jr. scoring a run each.

Jordan Dreibelbis worked six innings, scattering nine hits and allowing three runs (two earned). He walked one and struck out three. Chad Cox followed with two innings of three-hit, one-run ball.

The A's (24-22) will host a doubleheader against Joplin on Thursday beginning at 6:00 PM.

A's close season with five home games in five days

07/15/2015, 12:01pm CDT
By Derek Martin @ KMALand.com

(Clarinda) -- The Clarinda A's are down to their final six

(Clarinda) -- The Clarinda A's are down to their final six games of the summer season and five of them will be within the confines of Clarinda Municipal Stadium.

The A's, who are 24-21, host games tonight, Thursday, Friday and Sunday and will make a quick trip to Sedalia on Saturday. KMA Sports talked with A's manager Ryan Eberly on Wednesday's Sports Feature about the season as it winds down.

"It's been a roller coaster," he said. "Real inconsistent defensively, offensively and on the mound. Also, we're fighting through a lot of guys injured and mental fatigue."

Several A's competed in the return of the MINK League All-Star Game last week in St. Joseph, including Clarinda graduate Dakota Woods, who is hitting .311 with seven doubles and a home run this summer.

"(Dakota) had a fantastic season this spring at Highland," Eberly said. "He's been swinging the bat well for us."

Woods was joined in the All-Star Game by Clayton Daniel, Chase Hamilton, Zack Belanger and Justin Hoyt.

While the season has been a bit up and down, Eberly says there are plenty of positives to take from the summer. "We have a bunch of young kids, and I think they've grown throughout the season. We went through a long stretch where we had three doubleheaders in three days, and that's pretty taxing. But they got through it."

With the season down its final six games, Eberly hopes he will continue to see the effort he's seen throughout the season. "I hope they can carry it back to their schools and show improvement to their coaches," he said. "Just enjoy the summer and use it as a stepping stone for something bigger and better in the future."

Here's a look at the A's remaining schedule:

Wednesday, July 15th - vs. St. Joe Mustangs, 7:00 PM

Thursday, July 16th - DH vs. Joplin Outlaws, 6:00 & 8:00 PM

Friday, July 17th - vs. Joplin Outlaws, 7:00 PM

Saturday, July 18th - at Sedalia Bombers

Sunday, July 19th - vs. Carroll Merchants, 7:00 PM

You can hear the full interview with Eberly by clicking the embedded audio file below.


07/15 Sports Feature: Ryan Eberly, Clarinda A's Manager