Jim Valvano loved baseball

Jim Valvano loved baseball.  The great, college basketball coach, who died from cancer in 1993, coached the North Carolina State men's team to the national championship in 1983.

I got to thinking about "Jimmy V" the other day, when I read that North Carolina State will name the arena at Reynolds Coliseum the James T. Valvano Arena.  The formal dedication is scheduled for Dec. 5.

I had the chance to interview coach Valvano in 1987, while broadcasting games for the Richmond Braves, at the time the Atlanta Braves Triple-A affiliate.  Valvano dropped into the broadcast booth, while the "Voice of the Richmond Braves" Bob Black and I were working the second game of a doubleheader between the Braves and the Maine Guides.  The game was being played at The Diamond, at the time Richmond's sparkling new ballpark that was the envy of all of minor league baseball.

Valvano talked about where his love of baseball developed and how baseball even influenced his national championship basketball team.  Fortunately, I saved the interview.

As a sidenote, The Diamond still stands today, as home of the Richmond Flying Squirrels, the Double-A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants.  This has afforded me the chance to broadcast games back at that venue, with the Hartford Yard Goats.  When I go to Richmond to broadcast a Goats game, it's like returning home.

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