The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO


July 28, 2013

Schremmer: Patek a class act

A quick rant through the week in sports:

• For the first time in my life, I felt tall. The credit for my mood on Thursday goes to 5-foot-5 Fred Patek. The former Kansas City Royals All-Star shortstop gave this 5-foot-7 sportswriter a respite from straining my neck during interviews.

• More than that, Patek is a class act and a great baseball guy. Visiting Joplin as the first base coach for the Blue Springs American Legion team, Patek was kind enough to take five or six minutes and talk baseball.

• Patek has no shortage of baseball stories. During his years with the Pittsburgh Pirates and the California Angels, he teamed with Hall of Famers Roberto Clemente, Willie Stargell, Bill Mazeroski and Rod Carew. During his three All-Star appearances he was teammates with the likes of Reggie Jackson, Carl Yastrzemski, Brooks Robinson, Jim Palmer and Nolan Ryan.

• And of course, Patek got to witness firsthand the development of Hall of Fame third baseman George Brett when they were infield mates on the Royals. Early on, Patek said Brett’s inconsistent hitting and fielding made him wonder if the third baseman had a future in the big leagues. Patek said Brett’s determination and work ethic helped him transform into one of the all-time greats.

• Let’s hope young Kansas City Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas follows Brett’s example of work ethic and develops into an All-Star caliber player. Royals manager Ned Yost points to Andre Dawson, Robin Yount, Barry Larkin, Mike Schmidt, Ryne Sandberg and Brett as examples of great players who had relatively slow starts to their careers.

• But work ethic and determination don’t always equal success. Comic actor Jason Sudeikis, who is best known for his years on Saturday Night Live, told David Letterman on Thursday night about pursuing his basketball dreams at Fort Scott (Kan.) Community College.

• Sudeikis told Letterman how he got a hold of a series of Pistol Pete Maravich instructional tapes. “I figured I would do these exercises and drills and I would crush his scoring record,” Sudeikis said. “It didn’t work out. Not yet at least. I got three-and-a-half years of eligibility that no one’s asking about.”

• Lasting only one semester with the Greyhounds, Sudeikis fell short of basketball stardom. But at least the comedian left FSCC with some humorous tales.

• Sudeikis shared with Letterman how the basketball players used to split the arena with the rodeo team. “We shared the same trainer,” he said. “So I would go in there because I jammed a finger or my manicure got messed up. And the rodeo guys would come in with a popped lung or an eyeball that popped out.”

• Football season is rapidly approaching. The MIAA Media Day is slated for Aug. 5. It should be another competitive and exciting year in the conference.

• Missouri Southern has a good opportunity to start the season strong with Central Oklahoma, Northeastern State, Lincoln and Southwest Baptist as its first four opponents. The four teams combined for a 10-32 record last year.

• Pittsburg State is two years removed from winning the NCAA Division II national championship, but their best offensive player (wide receiver John Brown) and best defensive player (linebacker Nate Dreiling) from that 2011 team remain on the roster.

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