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Cal Bailey

Cal Bailey

Welcome to “Second Guess” Tuesday.

Here are the opinions du jour.

n Imagine Lewis Grizzard in a baseball dugout.

That was Calvin Bailey.

He was the sharpest, shrewdest, savviest baseball coach I ever encountered. Basically, the veteran West Virginia State University coach taught me everything I know about the game.

But Bailey also was one of the funniest people on the planet.

We will miss him on both counts and oh so very many more because, sadly, Bailey died Sunday at the age of 77. It is an immeasurable loss.

The wit and wisdom of this man was legendary.

Bailey was a native of Spencer and he loved two things in particular – the game and the land. Bailey was happiest when he was either sitting in a dugout or sitting on the seat of his tractor.

There are way too many stories and anecdotes about Bailey to tell. So, I will share just one.

One day I casually mentioned to Bailey that I was interested in driving down to Bluefield to write about old Bowen Field where the Bluefield Orioles of the Appalachian League played. It originally was built in 1939, was destroyed by fire in 1973 and rebuilt.

Anyone who ever had seen old St. Cloud Commons in Huntington, basically had seen Bowen Field.

Anyway, Bailey said he wanted to join me. So, off we went. He entertained me all the way down the turnpike, of course, right up until we got to Bowen Field and discovered the game had been cancelled.

It didn’t faze Calvin.

Instead, he came up with the idea that since we already had driven down, we should attend the Princeton Rays game in nearby Princeton. The Rays are the Appalachian League affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays.

So, we did.

It was a memorable trip with a memorable man.

The next morning I happened to walk around to the passenger side of my white car only to discover it was covered with a brown stain. I had forgotten Bailey was a fervent chewer of tobacco.

We laughed loud and hard about that.

There are people who come into our lives that make such an indelible, such an immeasurable, such an immortal impression on our lives, it never goes away.

Calvin Bailey was one of those people.

I am smiling right now just thinking about him.

So long, Cal.

n Danny D’Antoni has made a habit of signing walk-ons who truly contribute to the Marshall University men’s basketball program.

Well, he has done it again.

Spring Valley High School standout C.J. Meredith has accepted the opportunity to be an invited walk-on for the Thundering Herd. The 6-foot-6 Meredith was the Mountain State Athletic Conference’s Player of the Year for 2019-20, after averaging 25.9 points.

Meredith will assume former Charleston Catholic star Robby Williams’ spot on the roster, after the point guard decided not to return to Marshall. He will join guard Luke Thomas, Fairland; guard Ty Sturm, Cabell Midland; and forward Devin Collins, Chapmanville.

Meredith is expected to be red-shirted in 2020-21.

“Again,” said D’Antoni, “a program’s growth happens in layers – good players, good role players, good teammates. And all need to be good representatives of the university and team. It creates a loyal fan base and helps Marshall.”

That mantra certainly has worked for D’Antoni.