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Timmy Barker Interview
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1. Tim, you have been involved in softball in this area for 35 years.  That is an accomplishment that doesnt happen very often. Over those 35 years who are some of the most notable teams you have played with?



Timmy Barker: A:
Log Cabin
Taylor Bros. Construction
Rockcastle Motors
F & C Athletic
Palmer Trucking
Rick's A. C.
Riverside Paving (50 & Over)



  2.    35 years in the game, you have to have accomplished some nice goals during your career. Let the readers know a little about Timmy Barker. List some of your accomplishments you are most fond of?


    TB: A:

2 Time All World Selection
16 Time All Northern Ky Team Selection
1 Northern Ky Player of Year
5 KY State Championships & 4 KY State Runners-up
2 Metro Championships: 1 Major Open with F & C Athletic(only No. Ky. Team to ever win it) and 1 Industrial with G.E.
7 NIT Tournament Championships & 3 NIT Runners-up
1 Divisional World Tournament Runner-up
1 Divisional World Tournament 3rd Place
1 World Tournament 4th Place
32 Time Divisional World Tournament and 2 Time World Series Participant
Northern KY Sports Hall of Fame Selection (For Baseball & Softball)
Current Nominee for Greater Cinti Softball Hall of Fame

  3.  Tim, you are playing with your 50's and over Super Major team Riverside Paving. I have noticed also you have been playing with Tina's Softball which is a good number of the 2002 Ricks AC team. Are you playing with them fulltime now?

TB: A:

I'm playing with them full-time in both of their leagues.  As for tournaments, I'm playing with them whenever my 50 & Over Team isn't playing or when my 12 year old son's Select Baseball Team isn't playing.  Mark Knue & the Tina's players have been very gracious and understanding of my situation.  I'm very grateful of this (they are a great bunch of guys who I love being around and playing with).


  4. What happened to Ricks AC last year? Why the breakup?


       TB: A:


That was my decision(my mother-in-law and brother-in-law were the sponsors).  After we lost so many key players from last year's team, I didn't feel like we would be able to compete with the top 2 or 3 "C" Teams on a regular basis like the Rick's A.C. Teams were always able to do.  Another big factor though was that I was turning 50 and had the opportunity to play with Riverside Paving's 50 & Over Super Major Team and have a chance at winning a World Title (that's the one thing I haven't accomplished in softball yet).  Since the 50 & Over Team plays the majority of it's tournaments from July thru October, it gives me the opportunity to make most of my son's league games & 12 tournaments (some of which are out of town).  That is very important to me plus I'm one of his coaches.  It had nothing to do with bad attitudes or team chemistry.  Although the last 2 year's Rick's A.C. Team wasn't nearly as talented as most of the teams I've played on, they had very good team chemistry and you couldn't find a better bunch of guys.  I was asked to play with Angilo's/No. Ky.Com and strongly considered it but I would have had to miss too many of my son's games.  The 50 & Over team and playing with Tina's when I can works out best for my situation.


  5.  Tim, for all of the young players who may be reading this, what advice would you give them on staying in the game for 35 years? What does it take? Are there some do's and dont's that maybe you  would recommend?


       TB: A:


The biggest thing obviously is to keep in good shape which I've been able to do.  To play the game competitively as long as I have, you have to really have a strong love for the game and be able to play with the pain that comes with the many injuries, bumps & bruises you get along the way.  It takes dedication and the ability to play with and succeed against the younger players.  I've been very fortunate to not only play on some great teams but also with several guys who have become life-long friends.  You need to become a student of the game and love it(not just play it).  After the game is over when we're just hanging around drinking a few beers, I still watch the other games (I always have).  I pretty much know the strengths and weaknesses of other teams and players by observing them so much.  All these things help in staying in and succeeding in the game for so long.



  6.  This interview is going to be quite different "question" wise. Its not everyday that I can pick the brain of a 35 year veteran.  I think this would be an interesting question to ask you .  Tim, if you could "program" a player to make him the player that you wanted him to be. What would you give him.  This would be Timmy Barkers robo player. In simpler terms, what are some qualities in player that would catch your eye.  What impresses you in a player on the field?


    TB: A:



The most important quality to me has always been consistency over the long haul.  That is always what I have strived for.  I want guys who I can depend upon on a regular basis (not guys who get hot for a few games and then revert back to normal).  I've been fortunate to have played with and against many great "clutch" players so that is another important quality I would look for.  I don't want someone who gets scared or intimidated when the game is on the line.  I also would want a player who is very good at both sides of the game (offense & defense).  No matter how great you are, there will always be times where your offense may drop off a little bit.  When it does, you can help your team just as much by playing great defense.  Also, individual speed is a great asset I would look for.

7. On the flipside of the last question. What really makes you just shake your head about some players? You know what qualities do you hate about some players?


     TB: A:



I don't understand the "in your face" attitude of many (not all) of the younger players of today.  I see many of these players play on a regular basis and their "wolfing" sure outweighs their accomplishments on the field.  I see guys scream & grunt  when they hit a ball out of the park when it isn't that big a deal anymore with the high-tech bats.  I grew up respecting my opponents and have always tried to play that way unless something was done that was considered dirty or out of line.



8.  With your knowledge of the game, has coaching ever crossed your mind? If not, why not?


     TB: A:


I have thought about coaching when I'm done playing, but I don't see that "last" game coming, at least not yet.  I plan on playing until I can't compete at a high level anymore.  I think I would be a fair person to play for as a coach, but I would expect desire & dedication out of my players.




  9.   Tim you have seen trends come and go throughout your career.  15 years ago I cant remember anybody playing 3 man outfields or pitchers doing flips and acting like circus clowns on the mound. Those are just some things I am talking about, when it comes to changes throughout the league over the years. But now the trend which has been going on for some time is loaded bats. We went from TPS singlewalls to Demarini's to bats with shells on them like Worth EST's and now we are in the age of composite bats. These bats in my opinion play the game for us. 
What is your opinion on these type of bats that come with built in homerun power?
TB: A:
I, like many other older players, feel the bats are way too lively today.  It's not only just the home runs but the line drives are a problem too.  I see too many line drives go past the pitchers as well as the infielders before they can even turn their heads or move their gloves.




  10.  If there was one thing you could change about the game of softball today, what would it be?
TB: A:
Again, it would be the hot bats of today.  However, I don't know what a "happy medium" would be.  You don't want to take too much of the offense out of the game as it is mainly a hitter's game.  However, I would like to see more defense put back in the game like there used to be.  I love watching great defensive plays as much as home runs any day.  You just don't see may great plays by the shortstop in the "6 hole" or behind 2nd base anymore because you just can't get there fast enough.  You also don't see many runners being thrown out anymore because the outfielders have to play everyone so deep now.




  11.  List some good things and some not so good things about the game of softball today?
TB: A:
If you like high scores, you definitely would like the game as it's played today.  I would personally like to see it a little more balanced between offense and defense like it used to be.  There are still plenty of good things about softball today though or I wouldn't still be playing it.  It's a great thing if you're on a good team with a good bunch of guys(you spend so much time with them).  There's still nothing like the feeling of getting a game winning hit or when the last out of a big tournament occurs and your team has just won it.  One bad thing I would like to see change is players not personally attacking umpires verbally.  I don't see anything wrong with arguing with them as I have been known at times to do that with the best of them.  However, I have tried not to attack them personally.  I have seen players verbally abuse umpires who were their friends off the field.




   12.  Timmy today there are some notable problems that effect the game of softball. If you were the say "commisioner" of the league, what would you do to fix the problems of the game.
TB: A:
I still think players jump teams too much during the season and also play down in class too much.  I never played anything other than "A" and "B" until I turned 40 years of age.  I see so many  talented young players playing in classes lower than they should be (especially when you go out of town to play in Divisional World Tournaments or World Series).  However, classifying by player rather than by team is a very difficult if not possible thing to do.  Obviously, the hot bats need to be toned down to put more defense back in the game.  I would favor that more than making the balls into mush where they won't go anywhere (that really turns off players).





   13.  Go ahead and give me your overall Top 5 in NKY Softball as of May 1st 2003.
TB: A:

   1.  Red's Boys
   2.  Angilo's
   3.  Basebandits
   4.  J-Law Construction
   5.  Nasty Boys


  14.  Below are a list of positions. Without using any of your current teammates, fill in these positions with the best players in your mind who could fill them. This would be Timmy Barkers All star team for 2003.
TB: A:
1B  Ron Peters (not sure if he istill playing though)
2B  Donny Hankinson
SS  John Slover/Mike Hartfiel/Steve Dinser
3B   Steve Klutte
P      Jim Perry
C      Tim Wolfe
2 Outfeilders    Mike Cook,  Brian Sandlin
AH    Kevin Hall, Paul DeMoss
Coach  Mike Hartfiel 


15. In the same vein of the last question. Instead of todays players, I would like you to list the best players that you have ever seen play in your 35 years of softball. This would be your Alltime Hall of Fame team.
TB: A:
1B  Jerry Wells (Rockcastle Motors-No. Ky), Mike Ballinger (Fisher Bros.-No. Ky)
2B   Rich Gallagher (Transport Oil-Wisconsin)
SS   Rick Linz (Numerous Teams-Cinti), Karl Nageleisen (Rolling Hills Lakers-No. Ky)
3B    Mike Sullivan (VIP Limousine-Cinti)
P    Rick Pinto (Snyder's of Detroit), Jim Burbrink (Numerous Teams-Cinti)
C    Rick "The Crusher" Schearer (Taylor Bros. of Texas)
2 0utfeilders   Mike La Fever (Rockcastle Motors-No. Ky), Bill Schlessinger (Century Tire-Cinti)
AH  Bruce Meade (Best Home Run Hitter of all time in my opinion)
Coach  Mr. Snydor of Snydor's Softball Club from Detroit (the best all around team I have seen over the years)


16.  This is a fill in the blank question.
         The biggest misconception about Timmy Barker is_____?
TB:A:
That I am strictly a pull hitter.  Although I do get the majority of my hits to the left side, many players that haven't played with me don't realize how many hits I get to the middle and right field (just ask the guys that do play with me on a regular basis).  Also, many people that didn't see me play between 1970 and 1994 don't realize the kind of outfielder I was and throwing arm I had.  I tore my rotator cuff (on my throwing arm) away from the shoulder bone and had to have it surgically reattached with Titanium Screws which stay in for life.  I'm back playing the outfield again but obviously can't throw like I could before the surgery.

17.  
Below are a list of softball parks in the Area. By using the 1-10 scale with 1 being a field of dreams and 10 being a dump, rate the following parks and try and add some input on the reasons behind your ratings.

TB:A:

Huddy Park  5. Donny has done a good job and is trying to make things better. 



Rivershore   4.  Great scenary & outfields are nice (love playing there)




Riverstar   8.  Never did like the place and haven't seen much improvement since it opened.





Green Mountain    10.  Only played there once or twice which was too many times.





Township Fields and Taverns  6.  Only played there a handful of times.





Rolling Hills      4:  The field conditions were good (not great) but the crowds, atmosphere, and level of competition was great.    




Expressway Park    3 :  Not nearly as nice as many of the great complexes around the country I've played at but the best around here by far.





Rumpke      6.  Not bad fields but other than the Metro, I never liked playing there.





Eggelston   5.  Fields just OK but like the scenary.






Pastime Park     7.  Fields always seem to be too rough.





18.  Below are a list of names and things relevant to yourself and the game of softball. By each topic list one word that pops up in your head first when it comes to each one.
TB: A:

Miken Ultra 2    Unbelievable
Huddy Park      Memories
Ricks AC            Family/Championships
Kenny  Clark     Competitor
Earl "the pearl" Rutherford  Unique
Timmy Barker    Consistent
Mark Knue           Laid-back
Home Runs         Over-rated
Bill Chard             Dedicated
Don Bolte (Green Mountain)  Don't know him


19. Who in your opinion is the most under rated player today?

TB:A:
It would be hard to say who is the most under-rated player today, but a guy in my opinion who is under-rated especially offensively is Paul DeMoss(formerly of Goodtimers/Hooters and now with Tina's).  He's my kind of hitter (extremely consistent and great in the clutch).



20.  Tim, if you retired tomorrow,  how would you like people to remember Tim Barker as a player?
TB:A:
I would hope people would remember me as a very consistent (offensively & defensively), successful player who always played as hard as he could and got the most out of his ability.  Also, as a winner who played on a lot of great teams that won a lot of championships.  As a player who was able to still play at a high level even at the age of 50.  And lastly, as someone who respected the game of softball and the people I competed against.


21.  This is the first interview that I have done that has went over twenty questions. I just have so many questions to ask you my friend. For this question I would like to ask you which league do you prefer, ASA or USSSA, and why?
TB:A:
I have always preferred USSSA.  Being primarily a line drive hitter, I prefer the lower arc limit.


22.  And finally Tim, what is youre most rememorable moment in your 35 years of softball?

TB:A:
Since I've played for so long, it's almost impossible to pick just one.  In my first big national tournament back in 1971 ( I was 18 years old), I had 14 straight hits against great competition from across the country to start the tournament.  Also, being on the only No. Ky Team (F&C Athletic) to win the Major Metro, being a 2 Time All World Selection,  being  inducted into the No. Ky  Sports Hall of Fame, and being nominated for the Greater Cinti Softball Hall of Fame, rank right up there also.
I'm also very proud of the fact that I hit .700 for the season 2 years ago at age 48 and was named team MVP of Rick's A.C..