Thursday, July 31, 2014

On the Beat with Chicago Bandits Assistant Coach Roman Foore

The Johngy's Beat-Justin's World joint coverage of the Chicago Bandits continues today here with an interview with Assistant Coach Roman Foore.  Last Friday, over on Justin's World of Softball at Bandits Interviews: Parts 3-5, he featured my interviews with Foore, Emily Allard and Sara Moulton.  Justin's
Assistant Coach Foore has an extensive and successful softball background, including playing and coaching at high levels.  He has played for the United States Men’s National Fastpitch Team.  He has coached at Appalachian State and the University of St. Thomas, as well as Eagan (MN) High School and independent fastpitch teams.  He is a valuable member of the Bandits organization.
Coach Foore was very approachable even before the interview.  After talking to him, I can tell he enjoys what he does, including still being active on the fastpitch softball scene.
I wish I could make it to more games to talk more at length with Coach Foore.  For now, I will be happy with this season being a great start into more coverage in the future.  My interview with Coach Foore can be found at Roman Foore Interview.
To learn more about Foore and the Bandits, go to ChicagoBandits.com and then go to a Bandits game.  The Bandits are a great organization and the games are a lot of fun.
Roman Foore and me in Rosemont, IL-June 2014.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Flash Forward to Flashback Weekend

Next Friday, I will be ensconced in all things horror at Flashback Weekend.  The yearly convention will be held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Rosemont from Friday, August 8 through Sunday, August 10.  That's 3 days of horror coolness.
The featured attraction is Robert Englund in Freddy makeup.  Englund alone is awesome, adding the Freddy makeup makes this a rare and awesome event.  You will not get this opportunity again.
Additional guests include Traci Lords, Zach Galligan, a reunion of Children of the Corn, a reunion of Phantasm, a concert by he stars of Phantasm and much more.  Local celebrities Svengoolie, Dann Gire, Nick Digilio and Kitty Zombie will also be appearing.  Literally, everywhere you turn will be something horror-ably interesting.
This is an annual "must" on my convention calendar.  Over the years, I have met so many great celebrities at Flashback, including Adrienne Barbeau, Kane Hodder and my all-time favorite Roddy Piper.
Piper had his son Colt with him.  Having met both several times, I had the pleasure of having a bit of a real conversation with both, despite the lengthy line.  That's just the kind of guy Piper is.  He makes sure everyone goes away satisfied.
This is also the type of convention Flashback Weekend is.  It just has that small convention feel to it, while still having big names, exciting events and interesting attractions all over.  I haven't missed one yet and I will be there again next weekend.
Go to FlashbackWeekend.com to get all of the info and updates.  Then, make sure you go to the actual event.  Flashback Weekend is a winner!
Roddy Piper and me in Rosemont, IL-August 2011-ish.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Celebrity Jersey Cards #184 Belinda Carlisle & Jane Wiedlin

This is a regular series which attempts to combine my lifelong passion for baseball cards with my semi-professional interest in celebrities.  The Tampa Bay Rays are in last place in the AL East, but lately, they have been improving and are on the go or based on today's cards, maybe that is the go-go.

A native of Los Angeles, CA, Belinda Carlisle co-founded the Go-Go's (originally called the Misfits) with a few of her friends, including Jane Wiedlin.  The Go-Go's were one of the most popular bands of the 80's, although Carlisle embarked on a solo career in 1985.  The Go-Go's would later reunite in 2001.  Carlisle is throwing out the first pitch for her Celebrity Jersey Card.
Jane Wiedlin was actually born in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, but attended college in Los Angeles, where she met Carlisle.  Wiedlin ventured into acting during the Go'Go's break.  I am assuming she wore the Rays jersey for a concert in Tampa, because I know of not other connection.  In any case, I like the symmetry with Carlisle's card.  I also like seeing a guitar on a Celebrity Jersey Card.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Friendly Encounters: Robert Anthony and Billy Corgan

This is a weekly series featuring friends meeting celebrities.

Billy Corgan and Robert Anthony are definitely two of the most important people in Resistance Pro Wrestling's history.  I dare say that with the Baron brothers, they would comprise the Mount Rushmore of R Pro.
Billy is the Creative Director of R Pro.  With the Baron brothers, Billy got R Pro off the ground and flying high.  He had the vision and he has made it a reality (and a reality tv show, if you pardon my pun).
"The Ego" Robert Anthony is an R Pro original.  He started from the ground and worked his butt off to become one of the most popular and successful wrestlers in the company.  He has held the Heavyweight title and has been a tag team champion (with Jocephus Brody).
I have watched these men up close.  I have seen all they do.  I have witnessed how much they care.  It has been a pleasure to be a part of the company and to know both of them.
How fitting is it that the picture of them is at center court at the United Center, where Michael Jordan ascended to greatness?  Someday, both Billy and Ego will be inducted into the R Pro Hall of Fame and I plan on being there for the induction.  Until then, I will just continue to enjoy the ride.
Billy Corgan and Robert Anthony in Chicago, IL-January 2013.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

On the Beat with Brittany Cervantes of the Chicago Bandits

Justin's World of Softball and Johngy's Beat brings you the second interview of our joint coverage of the Chicago Bandits.  I talked to hot-hitting Brittany Cervantes after a recent game at The Ballpark, home of the Bandits.  That interview can be found at Brittany Cervantes Steps into Justin's World.
A product of the University of Kentucky, Cervantes became the only player in UK to hit at least 10 home runs in each of her four seasons.  The third year player has improved each season.  Cervantes was playing the outfield when we talked, but she has since played mostly at 1st base.
I enjoyed my first interview with a professional softball player.  Cervantes was fun and personable.  My only problem was when she mentioned her fandom of the Los Angeles Kings.  I know she is a California native, but she will eventually turn to the Blackhawks if she stays in Chicago long enough.  Seriously, Cervantes was very cool.
Cervantes looks to have a bright future on and off the field.  She is currently an Assistant Coach at Loyola University in Chicago.  Learn more about Cervantes and the rest of the Chicago Bandits at ChicagoBandits.com.
Brittany Cervantes and me in Rosemont, IL-June 2014.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

On the Beat with Chicago Bandits Manager Shane Winkler

As I previously mentioned, Justin of Justin's World, contacted me a while back about doing some joint coverage of the Chicago Bandits.  Justin's World is "Your #1 source for Division 1 and professional softball news, articles, opinion, interviews, and more!"  Now it is also the home of my interviews with the Bandits.
I wanted to start with the man in charge, Manager Shane Winkler.  Winkler played baseball at Butler University, followed by a couple seasons in the minor leagues.  Two of his managers in the minors were former major leaguers Buddy Biancalana and Tom Browning.  When his playing career ended, Winkler started coaching.  His journey eventually lead him to the Bandits.  You can hear about Winkler's career and much more in the interview at Shane Winkler Steps into Justin's World.
Did Winkler step into Justin's World or did he find himself on Johngy's Beat?  Thanks to Justin reaching out, Winkler and the rest of the Bandits will be stepping into Justin's World and on Johngy's Beat.  That's double the coverage!  Justin and I hope you enjoy the coverage as much as we enjoy immersing ourselves in the Bandits.  Stay tuned, because it has only just begun.
Shane Winkler and me in Rosemont, IL-June 2014.

Friday, July 25, 2014

On the Beat with Jori Parys of the Chicago Bliss-07/12/2014

Chicago Bliss rookie Jori Parys is a versatile talent and I am not just talking about football.  Jori has a budding musical career, having performed many times, including singing the National Anthem at a Bliss game.
The youngest member of the Bliss, Jori has shown her maturity in her patience as she learned the Bliss system.  Listed as a lineman, she has appeared in one game, rushing for five yards on her only carry.
When she is not donning the pads for the Bliss, she can be found honing her musical skills.  You can hear some of her songs (and download them) on JoriMusic.com.  I have listened to all of her songs and right now, I think "Favorite Hello" would be my favorite, although I seem to flip-flop.  They are all excellent and I have them in my iPod.
Getting to know Jori and to learn about her music has been a real pleasure.  Big things are ahead for this young talent.  Jump on the Jori bandwagon now and enjoy the full experience.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Teens 2 Teens Update Featuring Mike Matheny

It has been a while since I wrote about Teens2Teens, a wonderful organization dedicated to helping struggling teens. Teens 2 Teens is all about forging friendships and guiding teenagers through the rough patches they face.  
I first heard of Teens 2 Teens through John Schenk, who was in his teens at the time, but had already started making a difference in the lives of other teens.  I have had the pleasure of watching it grow from an idea to a full-fledged reality and beyond.
John's journey to this point actually began in the fifth grade.  His sister had a kidney transplant and John, wanting to do his part to raise money, started an online business selling sports memorabilia.  John learned a lot about business and met a lot of great athletes and contacts.  Unfortunately, this did not help John when he was lost in despair upon entering high school.
John's story could have taken a tragic turn right there.  Through the grace of God, with intense therapy and the interaction in a youth group, John emerged a strong person with a mission.  In his words, he wants to give others in need the opportunity "to take part in a community of faith and encouragement."
This story impacted me greatly.  John had made a friend and supporter for life.  Like a lot of others, I struggled as a teen.  I wish T2T had been an option for me.  More important, I am glad it is an option for teens today.  I have been more than happy to help spread the word on this great organization.
Recently, John contacted me and gave me an update.  Things are going very well with Teens to Teens.  T2T is growing and that means more teens are being reached.
John told me about a new T2T project.  In his words, "We've recently started a video series, which will aim at offering hope and inspiration to teens who are suffering. Mike Matheny was kind enough to be the keynote speaker at our gala (Winter Gala at Ambruster Great Hall) this past January, so during the evening we sat down and put together a brief interview with him."
Currently the manager of the St. Louis Cardinals, Matheny retired after 13 seasons as a major league catcher.  His playing career was cut short due to a concussion.  I always liked and respected Matheny and now even more so!
Matheny's interview can be found at Teens2Teens.org, specifically at Mike Matheny's Testimonial.  While you are there, check out all of the other great work that Teens 2 Teens is doing.  I am no longer a teen in need, but there are plenty of interesting things, inspirational bits, lessons to be learned and more at Teens2Teens.  They are making a difference.
Mike Matheny and John Schenk in St. Louis, MO-January 2014.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

On the Beat with Michael West at Days of the Dead Indy 2014

Author Michael West is a JohngysBeat.com staple at conventions.  We continued that trend at the recent Days of the Dead convention.
West was promoting Hades Disciples, his newest book and the second in the Legacy of the Gods series (Poseidon's Children was the first).  West describes the series as multi-genre, consisting of dark fantasy, horror, sci-fi and more.  It sounds interesting to me.  I am not just a fan here.  I bought my copy and will be reporting back here in the near future.
Aside from the usual questions about his current and future projects, I had a little fun with West.  I asked him about his weapon of choice, as well as what scares him.  His answers surprised me just a bit.
I really like West.  He is friendly and forthcoming with info.  He is interested in promoting his work, without being obnoxious.  He is the perfect con guest and interview subject.  I will always go to him for an update interview (and no, that is not what scares him the most).
After you watch the interview, check out ByMichaelWest.com and the Michael West Facebook page and follow Michael West on twitter.  You can also look forward to more West interviews here.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

On the Beat with Resistance Pro Wrestling at "Deliverance"

Resistance Pro's "Deliverance" was another great night of entertainment.  As usual, JohngysBeat.com was there to enjoy the evening, but also to record some fun interviews with the stars at R Pro.
I started the night by interviewing C Red.  Despite being the successful manager of da Soul Touchaz and one of the fascinating R Pro broadcasters, this interview focused mostly on R Pro's Positive Outreach Program" (POP).  C Red discussed the origin, growth and future of POP.
We finally got Lucy Mendez back for an interview.  Recently voted "The sexiest Female Wrestler in the Midwest," Mendez discussed that award, her love of the St. Louis Cardinals and more in this fun exchange.
JohngysBeat.com's Special Correspondent Jonathan McMahon took the interview spot by landing Jake O'Neill.  This, too, focused mainly on the POP program.  O'Neill also talked about his future in R Pro.
The Slobberknockers have been part of R Pro in various roles since the beginning.  They finally got a shot in the ring (against the tag team champs, no less) and we talked to them immediately after their match.  This is emotional, inspirational and fun.
Andy Derer of The Andy Derer Show is a fan of R Pro and a frequent visitor.  We talked to Derer about his work, his interest in R Pro and more.
Justin King was not scheduled for an interview, but that did not stop him from making his presence felt here.  King interrupted a conversation between Dere and me and also an interview with returning ESV superfan Matt Parker.  King is angry and he let us know about it.
Speaking of ESV superfan, ESV himself (Eric St. Vaughn) took Matt to task over his lack of support over the last several months.  ESV demands a lot of himself and those around him.
This is just a slice of the fun I had at R Pro at "Deliverance."  Next Friday, I am heading out to "Mob Rules" to get more interviews and have more fun.  Sat tuned to the Resistance Facebook page and the JohngysBeat.com Resistance playlist on YouTube for all future R Pro interviews.