Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Marshalltown School Official Brad Clement Provides Excellent Commentary On Cable TV Games. Hey, Someone Get The Shovel--He's Needed To Do Some Digging

I mentioned in a recent column that I enjoyed the work of versatile play-by-play announcer Larry Morgan on the MediaCom telecast of Kerry Wood's rehab game for the Iowa Cubs.

I also thought commentator Brad Clement did an excellent job while working with Morgan.

I've liked Clement's work in the past, and he was at the top of his game when Wood was turning in an unimpressive 85-pitch performance.

Someone who knows everything that happens in Marshalltown, and seems to know anyone who has lived in Marshalltown, is Mark Robinson [lower photo].

So I asked Robinson, who now lives in California, what he knows about Clement. Here was his reply:

"You mentioned that you had watched the Iowa Cubs play on local cable-the annual Kerry Wood rehab game--and that a fellow named Brad Clement was doing the color commentary. Sounds like there were a good number of Iowa folks in attendance at No-Name Park to drink up those $5.75 beers.

"Brad Clement is the father of Jeff Clement, the Marshalltown graduate who is now in the Seattle Mariners farm system, picked No. 3 overall in the 2005 draft out of Southern California. Brad also did commentary on local cable for the state baseball tournament this past summer.

"Brad is a member of the Iowa High School Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame [2004] and is now the principal at Miller Middle School in Marshalltown.

"The elder Clement graduated from Newton High School in 1971 and played baseball at Mesa Community College for two seasons. He became the baseball coach at Marshalltown High School in 1980 and remained in that position for 14 seasons, winning three state titles and 5 district titltes. He was Iowa High School Baseball Coaches Association Coach of the Year twice, in 1985 and 1986.

"In 1996 he managed his son and the Marshalltown Little League All-Star team to a berth in the Little League World Series, where they beat the American East team that eventually lost to the Far East team in the title game.

"Six years later, Jeff surpassed the national home run record for preps [75] and led Marshalltown HIgh School to another state championship under manager Steve Hanson. Jeff, who is a catcher for the Class AA San Antonio Mariners affiliate, pitched all seven innings in the title game played on the Marshalltown diamond.

"Jeff was drafted in the 12th round by the Twins out of high school. Hi"s camp perfomances, apparently, drove his stock down. He attended USC for three years and garnered several awards, including the national title of Freshman of the Year. After three years, he was again eligible for the MLB draft and was drafted third overall with a huge financial bonus.

"Jeff began his pro career with a Fall League Arizona affiliate. He then was shipped to a team in Everett, Wash., for all of four games before heading to Class A Appleton, Wis., where he performed very well.

"Clement began this season with Class AA San Antonio. He batted 5-for-5 with three doubles in one game earlier this season. It was reported on May 6 that Jeff endured two surgeries. A torn meniscus was repaired and a bone chip in an elbow was removed. He will be sidelined for up to two months.

"He was batting .288 at the time of his surgery. Mariners manager Mike Hargrove is optimistic, calling the surgeries nothing more than 'maintenance.'

"I sure hope that is the case. just announced that he is the 20th-most likely minor league prospect to make it to the show. Those odds are pretty good, in my opinion.

"Take care and keep writing, Ron.

"Best regards,"

Mark Robinson

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: I knew Mark Robinson would come through when I had a question. I also contacted Larry Morgan about his broadcast partner, and he came through, too. These were Morgan's comments: "Hi Ron, I'm a little behind on your columns. However, I always get around to reading them all and always enjoy them. I appreciate the kind words about me. I look forward to reading it. I work with Brad on both high school football and Iowa Cubs baseball for MediaCom. He has also worked on MediaCom's state high school baseball championship telecasts. To answer your question, yes, he is still a middle school principal in Marshalltown. He's a great guy and I know you would like him. Hope to see you soon. -- Larry."]

* * *

Strange things occasionally happen at our Wednesday sportswriters' lunches.

A guy today wondered why there was no mention in the morning paper about defensive tackle Chad Hennings [flat-top haircut] being named to the College Football Hall of Fame.

"The story was in the paper," another guy said. "I saw it."

We even asked the waitress at the Chinese restaurant if she had a paper so we could check out who was correct.

"No," she said, making it sound like the Register was something from a foreign country.

I later checked to see if the Hennings story was in the paper.

I couldn't find it.


The 6-6, 291-pound Hennings was born in Elberon, Ia., and played football at the Air Force Academy before going to the Dallas Cowboys. He deserved special mention in these parts.

Oh, well.

* * *

Even though I continue telling people that a severe, sudden-onset case of memory loss prevents me from having absolutely any recollection of someone named Mike Gartner, I keep getting questions about him.

Here's the latest e-mail, from "Wondering in Wellman:"


"Have you heard the rumors about Michael Gartner giving Bowlsby a bad time and running him off? The story was that Gartner thought Bowlsby should have given the Regents a heads-up on the firing of Jim Zalesky, then refused any attempt to keep Bowlsby when Stanford offered him a job. It was reported by KCJJ radio last week and I thought it was bullshit, but now I'm hearing otherwise. Just wondered what you've heard over there. I know Gartner and Skorton had a poor relationship, and that might have cost us a president. Now an AD has been tossed into the picture. You know better than I how Gartner wheels and deals. This guy might be dangerous to the Regents institutions . . . I'll let you know if I learn anything more definitive over here . . ."

"Wondering in Wellman"

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: Dear Wondering, here's what I wrote a few days about this strange episode: "There are always a lot of interesting rumors and true stories making the rounds in Iowa City. When it comes to Iowa City, the truth is usually better and stranger than the rumors. One of the latest stories concerns outgoing University of Iowa athletic director Bob Bowlsby. Longtime Hawkeye booster Barry Crist forwarded me a story that Pat Harty and Ryan Suchomel wrote for the Iowa City Press-Citizen. The story detailed a report that had been carried on Iowa City radio station KCJJ. The Press-Citizen story, said in part: "University of Iowa officials are denying a radio report that a deal to keep Bob Bowlsby as the UI athletic director was quashed by Iowa state Board of Regents President Michael Gartner. Gartner also denied the report, but the owner of KCJJ, the station that aired the news, said it was standing by the story....." The KCJJ report: "KCJJ has learned that an attempt last month by outgoing University of Iowa president David Skorton to keep UI athletic director Bob Bowlsby at the school was apparently rejected by Iowa Board of Regents chairman Michael Gartner. According to sources with close ties to the Iowa athletic department, Skorton had worked out a deal in principle with Bowlsby to remain at Iowa, which would then match the offer that was made last month by Stanford. Well, that deal was nixed by Gartner, who showed no interest in keeping Bowlsby at the UI. Gartner was apparently upset that Bowlsby had hired former wrestling coach Dan Gable as an assistant under new head coach Tom Brands without clearing the deal with the regents first." At the time, my comments were these: "If the story was on KCJJ, it must be true. I believe everything I hear on KCJJ. Frankly, I wish Bowlsby was staying at Iowa. He's been good for the university, which needs him more than Stanford needs him. As for Gartner, I have no idea who he is. As I have said often, a case of severe, sudden-onset memory loss prevents me from remembering who he is or was -- something I stressed to an eager-beaver reporter from the Press-Citizen who contacted me twice a while back to ask about Gartner. A number of my friends tell me I am a very fortunate man to have such unique memory features. Of course, I already knew I'm a very fortunate man." Final note: That's my story, and I'm sticking to it].

* * *

Hey, give me [and everyone else] a break on this newspaper mess about a search for a new Des Moines school superintendent.

Let's call in The Shovel already to get to the bottom of this ridiculousness. The stories are starting to sound like they wouldn't be good enough even for the Roosevelt Roundup.

Yes, even though the Register's Tom Witosky did a fine job today explaining how the Dowling High School athletic director got his you-know-what in the e-mail wringer and now should be fired, he [The Shovel, I mean] needs to take over the superintendent beat.

That superintendent story can't get much more childish in the paper, can it? Dana Boone or Daniel Boone, Boone's Farm or whatever Boone it is who's been screwing things up down there needs to take a lesson from The Shovel and find out how to get the candidates' names in the superintendent search.

You don't wait for a handout news release from the school board. You don't just wait for a press conference. You call people around the nation who know where the good superintendents are, and which of them might be candidates for new jobs. It's the same way we used to get the names of football coaches and athletic directors who might be coming to Iowa or Iowa State.

Dana Boone or Daniel Boone or Boone's Farm even wrote something about a "secret knock" that was necessary to enter a room.

You've gotta be kidding.

Shovel, where are you when we [and your bosses] need you?

* * *

Former Iowan Gordy Scoles checked in with this e-mail:


"We spent Friday, Saturday, and Sunday visiting friends in Salem, S.C. Actually, our friends live on Lake Keeowee, which is 20 minutes from Clemson, S.C. Larry and Jane Gabe [our friends are graduates of UNI [actually, State College of Iowa] who retired five years ago and now live on this beautiful lake in what is called the 'upstate' of South Carolina. That's not what I'm writing you about. We watched Clemson, which was ranked No. 7 in college baseball, sweep a three-game series from Florida State [No. 13], in one of the best sports weekends I've ever been involved in. Clemson has a beautiful stadium, a great team, and the environment was fantastic. The students were gone, since school ended over a week ago, but the size of the crowds, starting with Friday night were 5,200, 5,470 [full house], and 5,100. Tickets costs $3.60 per game [season ticket rate], or $10 regular price. We were so impressed with the fact that colleges in this part of the country have taken advantage of a great sport by building nice facilities, hiring excellent coaches, and recruiting great players. The result: one of the greatest sports weekends we've ever spent. If you ever get a chance to go to an ACC or SEC baseball game, jump at it!"

Gordy Scoles

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: Sounds great, Gordy. It might be tough, though, to tear myself away from the 38-degree weather, with strong winds out of the north, we get for baseball around here in the spring].