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John Tomlinson Interview
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1.    How long have you been playing softball in the NKY,Cinci area?

I grew up playing softball with older guys in the school yards but to actually play in an organized league it has been about 20 years.

2.   Who are some of the teams you have been associated with in the past?

I started with our church team that was coached by Clyde "Soapy" Stafford that used to pitch for the Suds, then when he was no longer coaching the church team, I traveled and played for him for a little while, then I kind of started my own team in the late 80's known as the Saints. Since then I quit coaching for all the obvious reasons and started playing for a Frisch's team. I then went to a team called the Broken Toys, after that I went to Hail Tile, then to Angilo's and now I'm back where I started, coaching my own team.

3.  Okay John, first things first here. I want to say that I think you are a tremendous hitter. I like that you are a power hitter who also knows how to hit when the HRS are gone. That is almost a lost art.  The only thing that bewilders me is some of your HR totals at the end of the year in the softball news.  A year or two ago you were right up there at the #1 or 2 spot in Cincinnati HR leaders.  That I dont question. But the
totals like, (correct me if I am wrong) 200 and something or 150 something is just remarkable. Are these correct? And if so why arent you getting paid to play because  a player with that type of ability shouldnt play for fun?


I was out for awhile because of my knees and back, so I umpired because I wanted to be around the game. While doing that I watched some of the better hitters and found out if I hit them farther I wouldn't have to run as much. I started back playing with the Broken Toys and hit 99 HRs the rest of that year for them only. Then people started to notice me even though my average dropped a little and I couldn't field a position near as good as I used to. The next 2 years my son and I wanted to see how many I could hit in a year so I counted all of them no matter who I played with as long as they counted for the team. It was a way to get my family to come out to watch and involve them in what I enjoyed and also so I could start playing more. My son would go get the balls after a HR and my wife would keep the stats. After that the only reason I reported them to the paper was to get a sponsors' name in the paper. Last year and this year the totals only include my teams.


I don't get paid to play and that may be a goal of mine in the future, but a guy I really look up to, Roscoe Backus, told me that at the higher levels when you do poorly in a couple of games that there is a lot of pressure and stress put on you, whether you do it to yourself or others do it for you. Also remember, as all the guys that HR totals mean a lot to, say time and time again, that if I moved up and was hitting against better pitchers I wouldn't hit as many HR's. Although we play Freeze, Lucke Homes and some other good teams on Tuesdays and I still don't do to bad.

4. How many nights do you play and how do you determine your Hr totals?  Do you count every one you hit regardless of what team you play for or are all those Hr's with the team you were currently playing for?


I may have answered part of this in the previous question but I do play alot. This year I play double headers 3 nights a week. I play in the B league at Expressway, a C/D league at Expressway and a 3 and a 5 HR league at Rivershore. I hate to go to the park, drive 30-40 minutes to play 1 game that could be over in 4 innings. You know though I ask a lot of people that remark on my playing to much, "Why don't they play more" and they say because of my wife, to much money, or no teams to play on. I don't have any of those problems so I play when I can for as long as I can.

5.  John, I have to admit, though I have seen you play many times I havent had the pleasure of seeing the Saints play but just once. So fill me in and those reading this interview on what we should look out for when it comes to the Saints in 2003?


Well I think we are one of the only D teams to play a 5 man infield, we have great power as a team and we have a lot of versatility. The last couple of years if 1 guy was missing everyone was out of position, this year we not only have 11 guys that want to play every weekend, but if 1 or even 2 are gone we can play and not cheat ourselves by playing out of position. Actually Tuesday nights is our normal team, every other night we play just to get my subs and friends in so they can play with all the guys they enjoy being around.

6.   Are you guys sanctioned D this year?   If so, are you looking to step up because it seems they would be wasting you, with the 0 Hr rule in D.


We are sanctioned D and we will probably stay there until we win something. I would love to move up, shoot we are the only D team to play Chases Roosters last year and Dan Smith this year. I LOVE playing teams that are better than us and teams that no one thinks we can beat, to me that's the only way you get better. Then again I also stay in the lower because I want all my team to have the chance to go to a World Tournament and have a chance to tell their kids 10 years from now, how well they did. Also as a team we vote on everything that might effect our team. I really don't think I am being wasted in D, actually I think it makes me a better hitter trying to keep it in the park.


7.  Yourself having the type of raw power that you possess at the plate, to me it would be interesting on your opinion of the Superbats. (Easton Synergy, Ultra 2, etc..)   You were hitting no doubters long before those bats, so I am curious if you are for or against these bats that are so explosive?


If they make em I swing em! I think where we are at is good, Keep the low compression ball and the bats or go to the 30 dollar bats and let's hit 50 cores. I think it has to be on a National level and done at the end of the year before everyone spends money on new bats for next year. I really don't care but I don't want to go to Vegas or Florida and have teams using better bats than us, so lets set a standard and stay with it. I mean everyone stay with it, I swung a bat that was a TPS team bat a couple of months ago and It was suppose to be a 28 ounce bat now it has like a 3 1/2 ounce endload and the guy sold it to a recreational player for 150 dollars. Now that guy is hitting like a beast. Here is my top bats (my opinion)
1. Ultra
2. Synergy
3. PST
4. Fury
5. Genesis and Rage

8.  Who would you say is the Saints biggest rival?

After the City Slam fiasco I would say it is TPE, before that it was Kidwell, Clark heating
.

9.  This is a fill in the blank question.
      The biggest misconception about John Tomlinson is __________?

I enjoy only hitting.
I would love to play the field but you have to keep everyone happy and eventually after keeping everyone happy it's been to long to get back out there and still be competitive, so now I have a good enough team that I've started getting back out there.

10.   Below are a list of positions.   Without using any Saints players list by each position the player in your opinion that best fits as the best at each position. This will be John Tomlinsons 2003 All star team.

1B
2B
SS
3B
P
C
2 Outfielders
AH
Coach



Thats tough I don't know many names just faces, and I have a "D" team and a true all star team.
                    D                                                                            All Star
1B        Tony Bauereis                                                             Tom Ellis
2B        SS from Jeff Wyler (sorry no name?)                        Rob Coffey
SS       Scott from Kneflin Insurance                             Brandon Johnson
3B        Demo from Tina's                                              Roscoe Backus
P           Brian from Tina's                                                Bobby Noeth
C          Odie from NKY Extreme                                    Kevin Greene
OF        Troy from Clarke Htg                                          Darren Block 
OF        Tina's OF used to play Coed also?                          Daryl Hall
AH        Shawn from 2 and Out                                               John Steele
Coach  General Fernbach                                                      Bill Chard


11.  In your opinion who would you say is the most under rated player in the area and why?


I will have to use one of my own here sorry, I would say Brian Chase. He has always played hardball and has that kind of swing but I am gonna work on that, and the young man has so much range at second that it would be silly to play him anywhere else even though he is decent everywhere.

12.  List some good things and some not so good things that are involved in softball today?


I think to much power is given to the umpire. I am fine with the profanity rule at some parks but it always seems one team gets away with a little more than the other. I have umpired and understand the pros and cons but it is getting more and more subjective and for God's sake know the rules. Next is the cost, I have ran many different types of businesses and I know that the people are in business to make money but there has to be a happy median. One of the good things, I love to see the park owners in the park mingling and talking to the patrons. Another high note is that I think the points system and the worth bucks programs reward the people that spend more money to play in bigger tournaments instead of just going to Round Robins.


13. Below are a list of parks. Next to each one rate each park by using the 1-10 scale, with 1 being a dump and 10 being the field of dreams.

Riverstar
        5


Huddy             4


Rivershore     6


Expressway    8


Rumpke           6


Eggelston         6


Pastime Park    5



Township Taverns     3



14.  John go ahead and list me your top 5 in D.
     not including us

1.   TPE
2.   Trailblazers
3.   Tina's
4.   Cum get's um
5.   Jeff Wyler


15.  If you had to use one word describing the way the Saints play the game of softball what would it be?
 
Fun       Unless it's an NIT then it's     Underpressure


16. Below are a list of names and things relevant to yourself and the game of softball. By each one use one word that best describes each one in your opinion.


John Tomlinson                              
Competitive
NKY Extreme                                  JustHaveFunGuys
Home Runs                                     Overrated
Riverstar Park                                 TimeWillTell
Donny Fisher (Huddy Park)           Fixerupper
Softball News                                  Onesided
Tina's Softball                                  CTeam
Hitting the middle                            5man
Dan Wagner(formerly PD at Riverstar)        Vengeful


17.  John, with the way you hit, why havent you stepped up to the majors divisions?  I mean you hit with the best of them?


 
I think I've hit that in a prior question but I had 1 knee surgery done this year and expect to have the other one done at the end of this year so I can be more active on the field and the basepad, then I want to find a team that while being competitive still has a good time without all the egos flying around. Until someone in that situation calls me up I'll probably have my own team and play as high up in the ranks as the team will let me get them. 

18.  Do you have a certain sport idol? If so who is he/she?


I think in order to be your best you have to have confidence in yourself, without being a butt and I heard an interview with Michael Jordon that really hit home so I guess he is my sports idol.

19.  John, this is a new question and it is just for fun basically. So please be honest. What is your most embarrasing moment in your career of playing softball?


Well here it goes, I had just started pitching alot and faking the batter, in the middle of all this I lost my partial plate so I pitched a meat ball and when everyone was watching my outfielder retrieve the ball I reached down got my partial and put it back in my mouth, mainly because I didn't have pockets. Needless to say I was spitting mudd the rest of the game. I still don't know if anyone saw me but that was a long time ago when I actually cared what people thought of me...

20.  John this your chance to rant. This is not a question at all but a chance for you to comment on something that you may have wanted to comment on that I didnt ask. Feel free to say whatever. If you leave it blank I will assume I did my job.


I guess this is really to the softball news and all the people out there writing about softballs decline. When I see all the people I grew up with and ask them why they are not playing I get several answers but it always comes back to the economy! It cost more to play and there are less and less sponsors willing to put out the money. Companies are closing so they definantly can't spare extra money to pay for teams that the players don't work for them. Wives have to work so their time at home, they want to spend with their families, also wives don't want to get off work, cook, and run the kids so dad has to help out and can't spend all night at the park. I have even heard that the family has to share a car and it can't be sitting at the park all night. So some guys quit but most just play one or two nights a week instead of the five they used to play. Same guys, less softball at more parks come on it don't take a genius to figure it out especially with the new generation spending more of it's time in front of home video games and TV. Just ride by the neighborhood basketball courts that we grew up on, they are desolate because kids have different interests and are not playing sports.