Touching Base with John “Nut & Honey” Honell

Correspondent John Honell is a longtime contributor to the Tribune, and well-known throughout the San Gabriel Valley. He knows the area’s history, coaches, and always seems to have insider information. He will share some of it with his “Touching Base” pieces that will run from time to time.

Back at the plate
Just returned from “A taste of St. Louis.” That is an annual street event staged by downtown restaurants with the Arch in the background. Good, cheap ($2 for an appetizer sized sample) food is something I’ve never been able to pass up. Former Diamond Bar star, Jim Edmonds has a steak house in St. Louis called, remarkably “Jim Edmonds Steakhouse.” He has been traded to the Cubs (much hated in St. Louis) but his steakhouse serves a super horseradish Bar-B-Q sauce. Even though the Cubs – Cardinals rivalry is longer and more intense than the Dodgers – Giants, Edmonds received a standing ovation on his first trip back. (I used to think the Angels would have been better off getting rid of Tim Salmon and kept Edmonds. The Angels were right and,
once again, I was wrong. To touch all the bases, click thread

First Base
The Cameron Avenue rivalry will be renewed this week when the West Covina Bulldogs visit the South Hills Huskies in the San Antonio League opener for both teams. This is a dog eat dog game that just screams for a “trophy to the winner.” Anybody want to donate a Dog Bowl? (Being on the Huskies sidelines during a playoff game taught me to hate “Who Let the Dogs Out. ” Maybe the two bands could get together at half time to play the song? In current parlance, it would be “a teachable

Second Base
Head coaches Mike Maggiore and Steve Bogan, of West Covina and South Hills respectively, are both graduates of Edgewood High School. That school disappeared when it merged with West Covina in 1988. Their teams have faced each other every year since Maggiore took the reins in 1997 when he inherited a team that had gone 0-10 and was struggling to win a game in the Sierra League. Bogan was a member of the selection panel that chose him for the job. The two coaches remain close even though the rivalry betwen the schools seems to become more intense with each passing year which brings up something else they have in common.

Home run:
Both try to practice, and not just talk about, their deep Christian faith on and off the field. When fans sit in the stands and say certain kids should be “kicked off the team” because of their attitudes, Bogan and Maggiore don’t give up on the kid, they try harder. They try to teach kids it isn’t about hurting the other guy (team), it isn’t just about themselves, it is about doing the right thing and not hurting yourself. (team) These are lessons that, hopefully, can be carried on in their life, long after football is over. Do they save them all, no but it is no wonder parents want their kids in those programs.

In one of their early matchups, the Bulldogs Josh Miller, only a sophomore, was ejected from the South Hills game. An obvious talent, Miller had “authority” issues both on the field and in the classroom. Maggiore turned him around. Miller saw the light in the classroom and earned a full ride scholarship to the University of Washington. He is now a Deputy Sheriff in the San Joaquin Valley. (talk about doing a 180, those “fans” thought he would be on the other end of any Sheriff connection. When Miller got to UW , 1997 South Hills grad Matt Rogers, an offensive lineman, took him on as a project. Rogers took his lessons from Bogan and helped Miller become a three year starter on defense.

Blown save:
Rogers was a starter on the Huskies (did he choose UW so he didn’t have to change the banners in his room?) Rose Bowl squad but he earned his claim to fame when he was a finalist on “American Idol” in 2004. He had no problem confronting Simon Cowell and gave back as good as he got. That is the only time I’ve ever watched the show but did get the impression Paula Abdul was hoping Matt would punch Simon. Paula had good sense back then. (Not punching Simon qualifies as a blown save but, I still think Rogers
would have won if he had sung, “I Love This Bar” instead of “Amazed”)

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email