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Kamara, Meram, Manneh score goals to lead Crew SC to 3-1 win over Chicago Fire

MATCH RECAP: COLUMBUS CREW SC 3, CHICAGO FIRE 1

Black & Gold reach 1,000 goals all-time in regular-season action;
Ola Kamara scores 12th goal of the 2017 MLS season, while
Justin Meram scores 10th goal of the 2017 MLS season;
Kekuta Manneh scores his 25th MLS career goal



Columbus Crew SC 3 – Chicago Fire 1
MAPFRE Stadium (Columbus, OH)
Saturday, August 12, 2017

SCORING SUMMARY
CHI – Michael de Leeuw (Dax McCarty) 13’ [Highlight: http://bit.ly/2vQv25z]

CLB – Kekuta Mannah (Unassisted) 18’ [Highlight: http://bit.ly/2wELLGm]

CLB – Justin Meram (Waylon Francis, Wil Trapp) 73’ [Highlight: http://bit.ly/2hUU5OS]

CLB – Ola Kamara (Penalty Kick) 87’ [Highlight: http://bit.ly/2vtEnzf]

NEXT MATCH FOR CREW SC (11-12-2, 35 points):
Columbus Crew SC at Orlando City SC (Orlando City Stadium – Orlando, FL)

Saturday, August 19 (7:30 p.m. ET / The CW Columbus, Spectrum Sports, BCSN2, CD102.5 FM, La Mega 103.1 FM, English radio stream available on ColumbusCrewSC.com).

 


MEDIA RESOURCES AVAILABLE

FULL BOX SCORE: http://bit.ly/2uQMX7C

TEAM STATISTICS: http://bit.ly/2w1Ay54


MATCH HIGHLIGHTS:
http://bit.ly/2vQ7RYX

HEAR FROM SPORTING DIRECTOR AND HEAD COACH GREGG BERHALTER IN POST-MATCH PRESS CONFERENCE: http://bit.ly/2uCa6eC

AUDIO FROM DEFENDER WAYLON FRANCIS: http://bit.ly/2uCa6eC

AUDIO FROM MIDFIELDER JUSTIN MERAM: http://bit.ly/2uCa6eC

AUDIO FROM FORWARD KEKUTA MANNEH: http://bit.ly/2uCa6eC



TODAY’S MATCH INFO:


Venue:
MAPFRE Stadium (Columbus, OH)

Referee: Armando Villarreal
Assistants: Corey Parker, Kevin Klinger
Fourth Official: Younes Marrakchi
VAR: Hilario Grajeda
Attendance: 18,690
Weather: 76 degrees and clear

 

GOALS/ASSISTS

CHI – Michael de Leeuw (Dax McCarty) 13’

CLB – Kekuta Manneh (Unassisted) 18’

CLB – Justin Meram (Waylon Francis, Wil Trapp) 73’

CLB – Ola Kamara (Penalty Kick) 88’


DISCIPLINARY SUMMARY

CHI – Joao Meira (caution) 26’

CLB – Justin Meram (caution) 59’

CLB – Jonathan Mensah (caution) 67’

CHI – Matt Polster (caution) 73’

CHI – Matt Lampson (caution) 89’


LINEUPS

Columbus Crew SC: Zack Steffen; Jonathan Mensah, Josh Williams, Lalas Abubakar; Harrison Afful (Hector Jimenez 45’), Artur, Wil Trapp ©, Waylon Francis; Kekuta Manneh (Cristian Martinez 65’), Justin Meram (Adam Jahn 90’); Ola Kamara

Substitutes not used: Brad Stuver; Nicolai Naess, Jukka Raitala, Mohammed Abu

Chicago Fire: Matt Lampson; Matt Polster, Johan Kappelhof, Joao Meira, Patrick Doody; Bastian Schweinsteiger, Dax McCarty ©; David Accam (Jonathan Campbell 90’), Michael de Leeuw, Luis Solignac (Arturo Alvarez 60’); Nemanja Nikolic


Substitutes not used:
Stefan Cleveland; Djordje Mihailovic, Drew Conner, Christian Dean, Juninho

TEAM NOTES

Justin Meram tallied his 10th goal of the 2017 MLS regular season in tonight’s match against the Chicago Fire. Meram scored Crew SC’s game-winning goal in the 73rd minute and was assisted by Waylon Francis and Wil Trapp.  Additionally, this was Meram’s fifth game-winning strike of the 2017 MLS regular season. This year, Meram has made 25 regular-season appearances (24 starts) while registering 10 goals and seven assists. Since joining Crew SC in 2011, Meram has made 179 regular-season appearances (126 starts) while scoring 33 goals and notching 32 assists. In 2017, Crew SC is undefeated with a record of 7-0-0 in regular-season matches in which Meram has scored a goal.

Forward Ola Kamara made his 50th regular-season appearance (44th start) for Crew SC in tonight’s match against the Chicago Fire, scoring in the 89th minute. With his appearance, Kamara is now one of only eight players on the current Black & Gold roster to have achieved this 50-appearance feat while with the club, joining Harrison Afful (54 appearances, 53 starts), Waylon Francis (80 appearances, 72 starts), Federico Higuain (141 appearances, 136 starts), Hector Jimenez (83 appearances, 53 starts), Justin Meram (178 appearances, 125 starts), Wil Trapp (117 appearances, 114 starts) and Josh Williams (83 appearances, 74 starts).

Ola Kamara scored Crew SC’s third goal in tonight’s match against the Chicago Fire. Kamara’s goal came in the 88th minute, as he converted a penalty kick to score his 28th regular-season goal for Crew SC since joining the club on February of 2016. This season, Kamara has made 25 regular-season appearances (24 starts) and is currently the leading scorer for the Black & Gold in the 2017 MLS regular season with 12 goals, ahead of Justin Meram (10 goals) and Federico Higuain (nine goals).

Forward Kekuta Manneh tallied his third goal of the 2017 MLS season in tonight’s match against the Chicago Fire. Manneh scored in the 18th minute to bring the Black & Gold level with the Fire. This was Manneh’s 25th career goal in MLS regular-season action and his third goal for Crew SC since joining the club on March of this year. Through 114 regular-season appearances (70 starts) in MLS, Manneh has registered 25 goals and 13 assists.
Defender Waylon Francis recorded his first regular-season assist of 2017 in tonight’s match against the Chicago Fire. Francis provided the pass that led to Justin Meram’s 73rd-minute, game-winning goal after receiving a pass from Wil Trapp. In 2017, Francis has made 10 regular-season appearances (eight starts), recording one assist. Since joining the Black & Gold in November of 2013, Francis has made 81 regular-season appearances (73 starts), recording 17 assists for Crew SC.

Midfielder Wil Trapp registered his fourth assist of 2017 in regular-season action, tying his career best which he achieved during the 2014 MLS regular season. Trapp provided an assist on Justin Meram’s game-winning goal in the 73rd minute. This year, Trapp has made 24 appearances (all starts) for the Black & Gold, providing four assists.

Defender Josh Williams made his 75th start (84th appearance) for Crew SC in tonight’s match against the Chicago Fire. Williams played the entire 90 minutes, completing 37 passes and making one tackle. In 2017, Williams has made 13 regular-season appearances (10 starts).

In tonight’s match against the Chicago Fire, Crew SC reached its 1,000th MLS regular-season goal dating back to the beginning of the 1996 MLS season. The Black & Gold’s 1,000th goal was scored by Justin Meram in the 73rd minute. With the goal, Crew SC becomes one of only five teams to have scored 1,000 goals or more in regular-season action since 1996, joining the LA Galaxy, D.C. United, the New York Red Bulls and FC Dallas.

Tonight’s match was Crew SC’s 61st regular-season all-time match against the Chicago Fire. With the win, the Black & Gold bring their regular-season record against the Fire at MAPFRE Stadium to 12-10-8. Additionally, in all-time regular-season matches, Columbus has scored 55 goals against Chicago at home, while only allowing 39.

With the win in tonight’s match, Crew SC brings its home record to 8-3-1 at MAPFRE Stadium. Next up, Crew SC travels to take on Orlando City SC for the second of three regular-season matches against the Lions in 2017, this time at Orlando City SC Stadium on Saturday, August 19 (7:30 p.m. ET / (7:30 p.m. ET / The CW Columbus, Spectrum Sports, BCSN2, CD102.5 FM, La Mega 103.1 FM, English radio stream on ColumbusCrewSC.com).

 

GAME RECAP WRITTEN BY & COURTESY OF COLUMBUS CREW SC COMMUNICATIONS

 

Rutgers Football Coach Chris Ash evaluates practice 11, Sunday, August 13, 2017

Rutgers University Football Media Day

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Head Coach Chris Ash

 

COACH ASH: Welcome. Appreciate everybody showing up today on a Sunday afternoon. Appreciate everyone’s interest in our program and what we are doing here through training camp so far.

 

Just finished our second week of training camp. We’ve had 11 practices of the 29 practices that the NCAA allows us to have, so we are not quite through the halfway point yet. Just under three weeks to go for our first game.

 

Right now I think training camp has been very productive. We’ve gotten a lot of work done. I think we’ve improved in all areas on our football team. Some areas, we’ve improved more than others but I think we have improved in every aspect of our football team through the first couple weeks and 11 practices that we’ve been able to evaluate.

Chris Ash (courtesy Rutgers)

 

I really like our football team right now. We talk a lot about these players are like our sons and we treat them like our sons; and we all love our sons, but sometimes you don’t necessarily like being around your son. We really like being around these guys. They have a great attitude. They are committed, they are invested; and we not only love them but we really like being around them every single day that we get that opportunity here in training camp. And when you can say that about your team, it’s a good spot to be in.

 

From an injury standpoint through the first 11 practices, we have our typical training camp bumps and bruises and things that happen when you play football. But for the most part, we’ve been relatively healthy other than some of the preexisting injuries we had before we started with certain individuals. But we’ve been really healthy from that standpoint.

 

The attitude and effort is there. The want-to, the care factor is there from our players, and like I mentioned before, I really like that. We are better fundamentally right now than what we were a year ago. The guys know how to practice. They come out with the same attitude and effort every single day. We don’t have to coach that. So we are able to focus on just trying to make these guys better football players here at this training camp instead of trying to build toughness and the right type of attitude that we wanted.

 

Our focus in this training camp wasn’t about building toughness. It’s about trying to make these guys better; the best football players that they can be. It’s a long training camp; it’s five weeks, and we need to make sure we come out of it with our players mentally and physically fresh, with a team that is healthy and still getting enough reps so that they know what they are supposed to do on all three phases of the game and in critical situations.

 

I like the work that we have been able to do so far. And with that, I’ll go ahead and open it to questions.

 

Q. Talking about some areas, more improved than others, which areas do you feel like you’re most improved from what you’ve seen in training camp?

COACH ASH: I would start with the quarterback position. I think we are improved at the quarterback position. We’ve got three guys that will be getting a lot of reps and we’ve been mixing them in with the ones and the twos, and I do think we’re a lot better at that position.

 

I think at the running back position, it’s a deep position when we’ve added Gus Edwards into the mix. Rob Martin has been limited early on in training camp but is getting closer and closer to 100 percent. Got several reps in the scrimmage yesterday. You add Josh Hicks in the mix, Trey Sneed in the mix, Raheem Blackshear is a freshman. I think that’s a pretty deep group. I think it’s a very competitive group and it’s a group that will be improved from last season.

 

Defensively, I like our defensive line right now. Jon Bateky is playing at a very high level. I think Jon Bateky is a very underrated player that I think — going to expect to see big things out of this year. I think linebacker right now, we’re drastically improved from where we were last year. Those are some of the areas that I feel.

 

And then special teams, not talking about snappers, holders and kickers and punters. I’m talking about the guys covering kicks. I feel a lot better right now today with who is running down covering kicks and holding guys up than what we had last year.

 

Q. Have you started to see some separation among the quarterbacks? Jerry kill has told BTN on Tuesday that he wanted to name a quarterback within about a week or so. We’re coming up on that, so how close are you to doing that?

COACH ASH: We’re getting closer to naming a quarterback. We’ve got three weeks to go before we play, and we’d like to do it sooner than later. We’ll probably get through this week, keep sorting it out a little bit, and then get ready by the end of this week, first of next week, to go ahead and name a starting quarterback.

 

But we’re not going to go all the way up until game week at all. We’ll get it done. Like I said, either end of this week or earlier next week. It’s what’s right for the players, the quarterback position; and it’s what’s right for the rest of the team, too, to know who that guy is going to be.

 

Q. Of the freshmen, who has jumped out the first two weeks?

COACH ASH: There’s been a lot of them. I’ll just talk about the offensive guys to start because that’s where we’ve had the greatest need for young players to come in and contribute right away.

 

Raheem Blackshear at running back has really stood out. He’s going to be a guy that’s going play for us. Bo Melton has stood out. Really all those wide receivers that we signed last year have stood out: Bo Melton, the Hayek brothers have both stood out, Shameen Jones, Everett Wormley. All those guys, really, are going to have a chance to compete for playing time on offense and on special teams here this fall.

 

We’re still not in position to determine what freshmen exactly are going to help us. We still have some time to sort through that, but those are the ones that are really standing out.

 

Travis Vokolek at tight end is going to be an outstanding tight end. He’s got great length. He can run. Just got to get bigger and stronger, but really like his football IQ and just the way he works every single day.

 

Micah Clark had missed a little bit of time early in training camp but the last few days he’s been back out there and showing the promise that we expected him to show at an early age, and he’ll be a guy that definitely we hope to be in the two-deep here by the time we’re done with training camp.

 

There’s some others offensively, too, but those are the ones that really are standing out defensively. Some of the linebackers — we call him 03, I don’t even attempt to say his name, 03, the linebacker, he’s a guy that’s starting to do some good things for us in defense. He’s getting some reps in the two-deep. He’ll be a special teams guy. But a lot of the offensive guys, because they are getting more reps out of need more so than the guys on defense.

 

Q. Naming the captain, what’s the process?

COACH ASH: Still a set number. We’d like to have four. But we could go up, as many as six, if we needed to. But we will have a player vote on captains this Wednesday. And that will be really about the midpoint of training camp and have a pretty good idea of who we can count on, who the players trust and who dependable and who can be our best leaders and we’ll vote on that. It will be a player vote that’s done on Wednesday night.

 

Q. Talking about Jerry Kill and how he’s come into augment the offense that you have, particularly in changing offense to keep the defense on the field, along with having five weeks to do it, how is that process going and how is it going to make the team different this year, that you’re seeing little by little.

COACH ASH: You know, started last spring, the transition in our offense started last spring. We’re going to be a lot more multiple on offense, and I think what we’re going to do is with our offense, is do what we need to do to win games.

 

There’s going to be times that we can speed it up and there’s going be to times that we have to slow it down, and we’re not just going to be a team that goes fast and we’re not just going to be a team that goes slow. We’re going to do what we need to do to have success. And that’s not just offensive success. That’s defensive success, also, because the best defense is the best offense and vice versa.

 

We’re more multiple, so we can use different personal groupings. We can use our best players. We have contingency plans if injuries occur at certain positions and we don’t have guys anymore.

 

Again, do what we need to do to manage the game and the clock so we can play really good defense, because that’s our No. 1 plan to win. We’ve got to hold on to the football and keep the offense on the field; and if that means slow it down, then that’s what we have to do.

 

But Jerry looks at that, and that’s why he was such an important hire. Because he looks at it from a head coach’s standpoint: Hey, what do we need to do to have success. It’s not about my stats; it’s not about, you know, points — we need to have points or score points. We want to have great offensive stats, but at the end of the day, what do we need to do to give ourselves a chance to have success, and. That’s the way he looks at it and that’s what I wanted in that position.

 

Q. Two-part question on Janarion. One, how is he coming along as an overall receiver –

COACH ASH: How long have we been doing this? Eight minutes, and this is the first question about Janarion? I’m shocked.

 

Q. That’s why it’s a two-parter. Second part, is the plan to use him offensively, and are you switching up offensive schemes? Last year he took some balls out of the backfield — is that the plan for him?

COACH ASH: When you talk about changing up offensive schemes, we’re not necessarily changing. We’re adding to what we did and diversifying what we did last year.

 

But Janarion is still going to be one of our top playmakers on our football team and we are going to use him how we have to use him to have success.

 

I think the thing that is different this year is we’re going to probably have some more playmakers around Janarion why we might not have to ask him to do as much. But he’s a dynamic player, and we’re going to use him as much as we possibly can; and not put him in harm’s way by playing him at every snap.

 

Wish we could get him over at corner, too, a little bit. We’re going to use him as much as we have to, and he’ll be all over the field both on special teams and on offense.

 

Q. Wonder if you’ve been able to determine what kind of role Damon Mitchell is going to have for your team, and also are you at liberty to give an update about his brother, Amir, and his recovery from his knee injury?

COACH ASH: We’ll start with Duwop, as we call him, Damon Mitchell. He’s going to have a huge role in our football team. He’s been a great addition to our roster as a graduate transfer coming in from Arkansas. He’s big, physical. He’s been learning the offense. He’s probably a lot better right now today than obviously he was in the spring and doing some good things.

 

Where it really shows up is on special teams. His history at Arkansas is he was an outstanding special teams player, and in practice, he has shown that he’s going to do that for us, also.

 

So he’s going to help us on offense at receiver and he’s going to help us on special teams. He’s a big, athletic body. Got good football IQ and excited about what he brings to the table.

 

His brother, Amir, as you guys all know, tore his ACL in the spring and his rehab is going great, probably slightly ahead of schedule. Hope to have him back playing sometime in the middle of the season. When that is, I don’t know yet, but he is rehabbing and he is ahead of schedule and he’s out there doing some things right now on the side.

 

Q. Regarding separation at quarterback, has Kyle maybe separated himself a little bit more? Looked like he handled a little more first team reps yesterday.

COACH ASH: I can’t say that either one of them has separated themselves. It just goes by day. You know, one day one looks like they have separated and the next day it’s someone else.

 

You know, so it’s really — this week, we’ve really got to find out who is going to be the most consistent and most dependable. They both got strengths. They both got weaknesses. I shouldn’t even say both; all three, because Johnathan Lewis is right in the mix, too, getting a lot of represents. Those are you that have watched Johnathan at practice, kid has got a bright future. Big, good looking, strong-armed kid that’s got tremendous football IQ, and I’m very, very excited about Johnathan Lewis’s future.

 

But all three of those guys, they have strengths, they have weaknesses they have good days and they have bad days. Right now they are all three probably putting together more good days than they are bad days. And at the end of the day, it’s about who we can trust to go out and protect the football, make good decisions and we really need to see that this week before we say, hey, this guy or that guy going to be the starter in game one.

 

Q. What are your hopes for attendance by Rutgers fans this season, and how much of a difference can that make in your home games?

COACH ASH: When you win, they all come. That’s what it is. We over — at times, over-complicate attendance. We want fans at our games. We want people there to create a tremendous environment but I also know a lot of that is determined by the product you have on the field. If I was a college football fan, too, I probably wouldn’t be paying money to go to a game that it wasn’t going to be very competitive. That’s just calling it as it is, you know.

 

We hope to be more competitive. We hope to be winning more games this year. We hope the fans will want to come out and watch us play and watch some of the exciting football we play here in the stadium.

 

You know, like I mentioned, we’re a lot better football team right now today than we were last year at this point, and hopefully that translates into more enthusiasm and excitement once we start games and people get to see that.

 

Q. Obviously we focused a lot last year publically on special teams and offense. But defensively, since that’s your background and there’s like eight or nine returning starters, how much room for improvement is there, and do you almost put a little extra on them with the offense undergoing some changes and does the defense have to take the lead for this team?

COACH ASH: No, we’ve got to be great in all three phases. It’s not, well, this phase is going to be better and it’s okay for the other ones not to be good. I don’t look at anything like that. They all three have to be operating as good as we possibly can make them.

 

Like I mentioned before, why is Jerry so important; defense is a product of your offense. Unless you’re loaded with tremendous talent and great players and you’ve just got better personnel than someone else, it’s hard to play really good defense. If you can’t move the sticks, you can’t change the field position with special teams and you’re not putting points on the board. Just you can’t do it.

 

I thought last year, you know, you look at the stats, they are not very good but we are a better defense than the stats showed. Again, you go through the course of the year when you don’t have the depth on defense to rotate guys, but you’re not — offensively, again, controlling the ball, scoring points, moving the sticks, keeping the defense off the field, you have no chance to play good defense.

 

Our players understand that. And it’s no different for the offense. You know, we’ve got to play great defense for our offense and get the ball back for our offense and put them in good field position. The best offense is a good defense; I truly believe that.

 

Both offenses and defenses are a reflection of our ability to play special teams, too. If we can’t set the offense and defense up with good field position because of our special teams play, you’re not going to have a chance to be successful.

 

You look at us last year, starting average field position on offense was one of the worst. Starting average field position on defense was one of the worst. Why is that? Well, it’s a combination of all three phases. It’s not just one phase over the other. It’s called complementary football and we have to be a team that uses our players the right way and we can complement each other so we can get better in all three phases.

 

Q. With Kemoko Turay, other than obviously the injury stuff last year, where have you seen him change and develop over the last couple of months?

COACH ASH: Really his football IQ and his focus on being a really good football player. Kemoko is one of those guys that’s had a lot or talent. And you guys have heard this before: You’ve got to be aware of talented players and talented people, at times, because they want to get by just on their talent alone. You know, that was probably Kemoko, early on in his career, is he was able to get by on just his talent alone and would maybe tend to cruise a little bit or not be as focused as you would like him to be.

 

Kemoko has really matured and really focused on being a good teammate. He’s really focused on being the best player that he can be. He wants to be an all-around good player, an every-down player. Early on in his career, he was satisfied with just being a third down guy; go out there and rush the passer. And that would be great if that’s all did he and he did it well. But we want and need him to be an every-down player, and that’s what he wants, also. And he understands that he’s got to be focused to do that.

 

He’s really learned the football — he has such a limited football background that his football IQ wasn’t really high, but he’s learned the game. At least from what I can tell here in this last year, he’s learned a lot more about the game, and you know, I just like where he’s at right now. He’s really, all the way from January to where we are right now, he’s worked really hard. He’s bigger. He’s stronger. More intelligent in terms of football right now. And he’s really focused on being the best that he can be.

 

Q. You’ve been here for — you’re entering your second season here, and when you look back to when you first were introduced and to the point where you are now, what has it been like for you, just these past 18- to 20-months that you’ve been here, you know, emotionally, just a grind, recruiting, everything; what have things been like for you?

COACH ASH: It’s been a blur. You know, it’s gone by really fast to be honest with you, because when you start, there’s just so much coming at you.

 

Again, you mentioned from just coaching players to recruiting to donor relationships, off the field behavior, academic, there’s just so much that comes at you and to be able to get all injure systems in place and to get things running the way you want and to be able to manage your time the way you need to, it takes a lot of time. It’s been a blur. Honestly, that’s just the way coaches are. You just kind of go and you go, go, go, and you Wake up one day you and look at the time and say, where did it all go.

 

I really haven’t had a lot of time to think about what we’ve been able to do and whatever, the 18 months that we’ve been here. But I know it’s gone by fast. We’ve done a lot of things and feel good about what we’re doing, but you know — I don’t know if that answers your question or not.

 

Q. Are there times where it’s overwhelming at all?

COACH ASH: No. It’s just football coaching, you know. I don’t care if you’re an assistant coach or head coach. If you’re going to do things the right way, it takes an insane amount of time. As an assistant coach, you’re doing the same thing. You’re recruiting, you’re developing you’re players. You’re doing things academically with your players. You’re doing things to build relationships with the players. So you’re always working.

 

This is not a 9:00 to 5:00 job. College football is not a 9:00 to 5:00 job. It’s not a six-month job that you do during the season. It’s a year round job and that’s the way most coaches look at it, and that’s the way I look at it. It’s no different here than it is being at other places that I’ve been a part of. It’s no — really, maybe a little bit more when you’re the head coach versus an assistant coach because there’s a few more things you’ve got to do. But the days, you get in early, stay late and you enjoy what you do.

 

Q. Gus Edwards, what’s he done the first two weeks to step out and how do you keep — with the depth that you have, how do you keep five guys happy and content with touches?

COACH ASH: You can’t keep five guys happy if they all want to touch the ball. That’s not our job to keep everybody happy.

 

Our job is to go out and move the ball and score points. If we’re worried about keeping everybody happy, that’s not going to work. We’re worried about putting the best players in position to give ourselves a chance to have success.

 

And right now through two weeks, Gus has shown that he can do that. He’s a big back, 230 pounds, got great speed, he’s got great balance. He’s also demonstrated really good ball security. The ball has not been on the ground with Gus. He’s willing — in pass protection, also and been a great addition.

 

He’s a real serious dude. Loves the game of football. Works really hard every single day. That’s not one day where you have to say, Gus, let’s get going. He shows up to work every single day and it’s made that room better and it’s made our offense better.

 

I just love having him here. He’s a guy on a mission. He’s came here, has one last year and obviously would like to have a shot at the NFL, and he knows he’s got to go out and extra great year to do that.

 

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

 

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY  ASAP Sports; COURTESY RUTGERS UNIVERSITY ATHLETICS COMMUNICATIONS

 

Rockies owner Dick Monfort remembers former manager Don Baylor

Don Baylor in 2010 By J. Elden Bailey on Flickr, CC BY 2.0, https commons.wikimedia.org

On behalf of the Rockies organization, Owner/Chairman & CEO Dick Monfort made the following statement:

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to Becky and the entire Baylor family. Don was instrumental in the creation of the Rockies and in his two stints with the club, he left an impact on each and every one of us. He was a big man with an even bigger heart, a friend of so many. His persona will be a part of our club heritage forever. This is a sad day in Colorado and for all of baseball.”

Beginning tomorrow for their game in Cleveland, the Rockies will honor their original manager by hanging a jersey with his name on the back in their dugout.

The club is planning a tribute to Don Baylor when the team returns home on Monday, August 14.

 

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY ROCKIES MEDIA RELATIONS; COURTESY MLBpressbox.com

 

Philadelphia Phillies executives, former teammates remember Darren Daulton

 

Darren Daulton in 2012 By Dealphungo - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https commons.wikimedia.org

“Darren was the teammate and leader I learned more from, respected more and was honored to call a friend. He wasn’t afraid to let you know when you messed up, but was also the first to praise you for your effort and dedication to your craft. I love Darren as a brother and will miss him dearly. God bless the Daulton family.” -Ruben Amaro Jr.

“Darren Daulton the ballplayer was and ALWAYS WILL BE synonymous with great leadership and winning. Darren Daulton the person was and ALWAYS WILL BE synonymous with caring and compassion. He never turned his back on anyone, whether they were hurting or in need and was always there even if he merely sensed that someone was on the struggle bus. He may not be in the Baseball Hall of Famer, but he is a Hall of Famer as a person, as most anyone who has known him will attest to. He always greeted you with a big smile, a huge hug and a kiss on the cheek and I will forever miss that greeting…until we meet again!!!” -Larry Andersen

“Dutch was one of the most respected players to ever put on a Phillie uniform. He was the heart and soul of that ’93 team. He was a leader in the clubhouse and on the field, but more importantly, he was my friend.   My heart goes out to Amanda, his kids and his family.” -Larry Bowa

“He was like a brother to me, he meant the world to me. He was a leader to me and to the Phillies organization, not only in the good times but also during the bad times. I know he had been battling this for a long time, and I am not going to remember him like I saw him the last time in Phantasy Camp. I will remember him like the brother he was to me and everyone, the great leader who also was a great husband and father, but most importantly who he was as a human being and how he carried himself. He meant the world to me and always will. I will miss him very dearly.”  -Mariano Duncan

“The Philadelphia Phillies family and the world of baseball have lost a warrior. I played with several tough dudes in my career, but Dutch was the toughest. He was the unquestionable leader of our magical 1993 Phillies team that went from last to first, thereby energizing the city of Philadelphia. His unrelenting toughness had a dramatic effect on the mindset with which we all played. Much of Dutch’s career was spent in Philadelphia, whereby the team often finished at or near the bottom of the standings. However, that all changed in 1993! We had a feeling in Spring Training, that something was different that year, and that feeling proved to be right. Our motley crew of characters, given virtually no chance by the prognosticators, swaggered our way to the World Series. Dutch was always the rock, the guy who steadied the ship. Jim Fregosi entrusted him to keep us focused and together. Dutch did not disappoint. It’s ironic that I am now sharing my memories during this sad time. The reality is that Dutch couldn’t stand me, a common feeling amongst many of those who were not my teammates, early in my career. Nonetheless, when I was traded to the Phillies, we became brothers almost immediately. While he had been with the Phillies for a few years, he became a starter in 1989. Within a year, John Kruk, Dave Hollins and I had all joined the team. Catchers characteristically are the ‘coach on the field.’ Dutch was more than that. He was our anchor and our leader, ensuring that our focus was always between the lines when we played. His stewardship and incredible toughness were the inspiration for that magical year in 1993, when we put it all together, and made baseball fun again in Philly. It was a privilege to have played with him, and to have known him. I will miss him.”  -Lenny Dykstra

“I first knew Darren as just another teammate, but shortly after, I could see he was much more than that. He was the leader of our team, both on and off the field. He was like a brother or a best friend, and that continued long after our playing days were over. I was privileged to have been his teammate on two World Series teams – the 1993 Phillies and the 1997 World Series champion Florida Marlins. I’m not sure we would have gotten to either without him.” -Jim Eisenreich

“Darren was a true leader of men. The Phillies would not have gone to the 1993 World Series without his leadership. In addition to being an outstanding clubhouse leader, he was also a fighter. He battled through five knee operations to become an All-Star. I really enjoyed watching him for 14 years in uniform. Darren was a super human being. His teammates loved him, I loved him like he was one of my own. In fact, he called me ‘Uncle Bill.’” -Bill Giles

“Darren was one of the strongest men and leaders I’ve ever known. I’m glad I was able to call him a friend. I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for Darren.”   -Tommy Greene

“It was a privilege and an honor to be your teammate and friend. If anybody is wondering what a major leaguer walks, talks, acts and looks like, it was Darren Daulton. A piece of you will always live on in my heart. Love you my brother, rest in peace.” -Pete Incaviglia

“You want perseverance, Darren Daulton. You want heart, Darren Daulton. You want dedication, Darren Daulton. You want commitment, Darren Daulton. You want a leader, Darren Daulton. You want courage, Darren Daulton. This is what Darren had to do to be a great baseball player. More importantly this is what Darren took to battle his cancer. He lost his fight to this terrible disease but he will always be my teammate and he will never lose my respect, my friendship, my love for the way he played in the game of life.” -Danny Jackson

“The first time I saw Darren Daulton we were playing against each other in Triple-A and I thought he was just another ordinary player. When I was traded to the Phillies I realized that he was so much more than that. The culture of the Phillies at that time had to change and Darren led the charge for us becoming a championship-caliber team, and while doing so he not only became a leader and a friend, we became brothers. I will always be grateful for him putting us on his back and carrying us to the World Series. He taught us so much along the way that I will always be indebted to him for that. I love you, brother!” -John Kruk

“Darren was one of the toughest players to ever play the game.” -Jim Leyland

“All of us at the Phillies are saddened to hear of Darren’s passing. From the day that we drafted him until today, he constantly earned our respect and admiration as both a player and person. Darren was the face of our franchise in the early 1990s. Jim Fregosi asked so much of him as catcher, clean-up hitter and team leader. He responded to all three challenges. One of my toughest decisions as team president was to approve his trade to the Marlins in July of 1997. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife, Amanda, his parents, his brother and his four children. Dutch was truly ‘one of a kind’ and we will dearly miss him.” -David Montgomery

“We have lost a good one. I have a heavy, heavy heart today. Dutch not only was a great person, but a great friend, and also the greatest clubhouse leader I’ve ever played with. He was also like a father figure to me during my career. I will miss him dearly. My thoughts and prayers go out to Amanda and the entire family.” -Mickey Morandini

“I was fortunate to be teammates with Dutch my rookie year in 1997. I got to see what accountability and ‘tough as hell’ looked like every day. He’s not the type of guy that is supposed to pass away young. He was a great teammate and a great symbol of the hard-nosed passion synonymous with the city of Philadelphia and its sports.” -Scott Rolen

“Darren and I started in the minor leagues together. We worked our way up together to the big leagues so he was like a brother to me. He was the best teammate I ever had.” -Juan Samuel

“Heart and soul. Those are the two words that define Darren Daulton as a human being and as a member of the Phillies 1993 team. In my 22 years of baseball, I have never been privileged enough to be around a man who led anywhere near as well as Dutch did. He was perfect in that role in every sense of the word. From Hollywood looks to never EVER saying the wrong thing, he led us on and off the field. I am forever grateful to call him a friend and a teammate. God blessed me enough to allow me to be around men who changed my life and I’ll be forever thankful Dutch was one of those men. God bless Dutch, now the fastball down and away.”  -Curt Schilling

“The best thing that happened to me and my first day at the Vet in 1993 was the fact that my locker was next to Darren Daulton’s locker. Not only was Darren a great Major League Baseball player, but he was the epitome of what an MLB veteran was supposed to be. He always had time and patience when I had questions, taught me how to deal with the press, management, coaches, clubhouse and traveling staff and fans. I always respected Darren for the fact that he never treated me like the rookie that I was in ’93, but rather, like every other teammate on that championship team. Darren was never loud and never screamed, but when he did have something to say, everyone listened. I know I did, and because of that, I will be forever grateful to him for the lessons he taught me.” -Kevin Stocker

“To be a general manager and have a player like Darren was truly a blessing. He was the heart and soul of the Phillies, and off the field I was proud to call him my friend. We had stayed in touch until the last couple of months when I knew his struggle was becoming more serious. Darren was always upbeat and never complained. As a player, he fought until the final out. As a man challenged by this deadly disease, he fought until the final out. RIP my friend, you are now pain-free.”   -Lee Thomas

“Darren was a leader and friend who I have admired since the day I met him. He was the glue that kept a group of misfits together and ultimately led us to a championship.” -Milt Thompson

“Before each game, Darren would stand in the small runway at the Vet getting everyone on the same page before the Phillies took the field. Bad knees and all. Darren was the ultimate warrior for the Phillies. Every player who wore the Phillies uniform was his soldier. He would always say, ‘Together we will win today’s game and make the people of Philadelphia proud.’ It was a blessing for me to call him a teammate and friend. He and Jim Leyland were the two most influential people in my life.” -Gary Varsho

“Leadership isn’t manufactured or contrived. You either have it or you don’t. Darren exuded leadership on the field, in the clubhouse, throughout the organization and in public. The likes of Darren Daulton come along very infrequently.” -Ed Wade

“I am so sad to hear of another passing of one of the Phillies family, one of the best I ever had the good fortune to play with, and the biggest part of our most special ’93 team, Darren “Dutch” Daulton. I believe he was truly loved on a different level than most. He was the Captain of our chaos, the most respected player amongst his peers, and those great players who came before him. He was our rock, our leader in that clubhouse of guys in 1993. He, of course, was first locker on Macho Row-I don’t even know how it got the name, but I was fortunate enough to locker next to him, followed by Pete “Inky” Incaviglia, Lenny “Nails” Dykstra, and John “Kruky” Kruk. I say this because while he was undeniably the best looking man in Philly, people probably considered him macho. But what most people don’t know about him was that he wasn’t afraid to show his emotion. Dutch always had a big hug and a kiss on the cheek for anyone of us who he was happy with. However, when someone needed to be stood up straight, he did it and you knew it. Maybe that’s why he kept me close, I don’t know, but I’m glad he did. When he walked in a room, or on the field, he commanded it. And let’s be honest, women loved Dutch. I think that a lot of baby boys were named after him, either Darren or Daulton, just to have a piece of him. Aside from his rock star looks, he had toughness and grit that was just in your face. Ten knee surgeries couldn’t keep him from putting on that gear. I believe he caught over 140 games that year. He was super human to me. With two bags of ice on both knees before every game, he set the tone for us players that year and probably for the rest of our careers. It’s pretty hard to go in and ask for a day off with a guy like that in the locker room. His drive and tenacity to grind out every game came from his love of the game, his teammates, the fans, and our beloved owner Bill Giles, affectionately known to us as “Uncle Bill”. The memories us teammates, the Phillies organization, and the fans that were along for that ride in ’93 have, are forever burned in our hearts and minds, we’ll never forget. The monumental impact he had on nearly all of them will never be erased and probably never duplicated. One of my favorite memories of Dutch was when, one of the many times, I walked the bases loaded in the ninth with a two-run lead. He comes to the mound just drenched in sweat; it was 104 degrees on the turf that day at the Vet. I’m thinking he’s fixing to yell in my face all the things that Kruky had been screaming at me from first base. He comes at me and says, ‘Are you done ****ing around? It’s hot out here and the beer is cold in the clubhouse- let’s go!’ Well, I got out of that trouble and we won the game. He always knew how to get the best out of me and all of his teammates. Bubba, I will miss you. I will miss laughing with you and reliving all those memories from that glorious year. I will miss your big smile, open arms, with you calling out to me “Pooh” on Alumni weekends. The only comfort I feel today is that Fregosi and Vuk will be waiting for you at the gates of heaven, with a cold beer ready, and talk of how the Phils are doing. Vuk will want to know who to put the freeze on. Harry and Whitey will have the call, ‘Look at who is coming to the gate, the Captain, #10, Darren “Dutch” Daulton!’ There will be a standing ovation and Harry will lead all of our dearly departed Phillies family in his signature rendition of ‘High Hopes!’ Love you Dutch-Godspeed, and don’t give my locker to anybody else or I’m gonna be pissed!”   -Mitch Williams

 

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY PHILLIES MEDIA RELATIONS; COURTESY MLBpressbox.com

 

Phillies catching legend Darren Daulton passes away at 55 of cancer

The Phillies have announced that Darren “Dutch” Daulton passed away today at the age of 55 after a four-year battle with brain cancer.

Funeral services for Darren will be private.  In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Darren Daulton  Foundation, 1339 Chestnut Street, Suite 500, Philadelphia, PA 19107.

Born on January 3, 1962, Daulton attended Arkansas City (KS) High School. He was selected in the 25th round – the 628th overall selection – of the 1980 June draft by the Phillies. He developed into a three-time All-Star who played 14 seasons with the Phillies (1983; 1985-97), the longest tenure for a catcher in franchise history. Known throughout baseball as one of the game’s toughest players, Daulton made 143 starts at catcher in 1993, which was the most in Phillies history and tied for the most by any catcher that season. The Phillies won the National League pennant that year with Daulton’s leadership playing a significant role.

Darren Daulton (courtesy Philadelphia Phillies)

Daulton was traded to the Florida Marlins on July 21, 1997, where he would spend the final two and a half months of his playing career. The Marlins would go on to win the World Series that year and manager Jim Leyland credited Daulton’s clubhouse leadership as an important factor.

In 1992, Daulton won a Silver Slugger and led the National League with 109 RBI, becoming just the fourth catcher to win the RBI title. He is the only catcher in Phillies history with two 100-RBI seasons (109 in 1992 and 105 in 1993) and holds the Phillies single-season records for a catcher in walks (117), doubles (35), putouts (981) and double plays (19). Each record was set in 1993.

Daulton batted .245 in 1,109 Phillies games with 189 doubles, 134 home runs and 567 RBI.

Daulton received the Players Choice Comeback Player of the Year Award (1997)
and the Sporting News Comeback Player of the Year Award (1997). He was inducted into the Reading Baseball Hall of Fame (1997). He was also selected as the starting catcher on the All-Vet Team (2003) and was inducted into the Phillies Wall of Fame (2010).

“Darren was a true leader of men. The Phillies would not have gone to the 1993 World Series without his leadership,” said Phillies Chairman Emeritus Bill Giles. “In addition to being an outstanding clubhouse leader, he was also a fighter. He battled through five knee operations to become an All-Star. I really enjoyed watching him for 14 years in uniform. Darren was a super human being. His teammates loved him, I loved him like he was one of my own. In fact, he called me ‘Uncle Bill.’”

“All of us at the Phillies are saddened to hear of Darren’s passing. From the day that we drafted him until today, he constantly earned our respect and admiration as both a player and person,” said Phillies Chairman David Montgomery. “Darren was the face of our franchise in the early 1990′s. Jim Fregosi asked so much of him as catcher, clean-up hitter and team leader. He responded to all three challenges. One of my toughest decisions as team president was to approve his trade to the Marlins in July of 1997. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife, Amanda, his parents, his brother and his four children. Dutch was truly “one of a kind” and we will dearly miss him.”

Throughout most of his adult life, Darren resided in Clearwater, Fla. Starting in 2010, he spent the season in Philadelphia hosting a radio show on 97.5 The Fanatic, “Talking Baseball with Dutch,” five days a week. On July 1, 2013, he underwent surgery for resection of two brain tumors related to glioblastoma at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital. It didn’t deter Dutch, who proclaimed, “Right on; Fight on,” typical of his toughness.

He established the Darren Daulton Foundation in 2011. In 2013, the foundation’s mission shifted to raise funds for brain cancer which claimed the lives of other Phillies including Johnny Oates, Ken Brett, Tug McGraw and John Vukovich.

“Dutch” is one of the most beloved players to ever wear a Phillies uniform. He is survived by his parents Carol and Dave of Arkansas City, Kansas; one brother, Dave Jr.; of Arkansas City, Kansas; his wife Amanda of Clearwater; and his four children Zachary (27), Summer (17), Savannah (16), Darren Jr. (15), all of whom reside in the Clearwater area.

 

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY PHILLIES MEDIA RELATIONS; COURTESY MLBpressbox.com

 

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