Thursday, June 21, 2012

Law Enforcement Night

Wow, what a powerful night with the Fisher Cats, who honored police officers throughout the state and raised thousands for charity during tonight's game against Reading. Before the game, I met Manchester police officer Dan Doherty, 26, who was shot four times in a March gunfight and spent more than a month in the hospital. He threw the ceremonial first pitch for Law Enforcement Night, firing a strike before dozens of men and women in uniform. He told me about the night he was shot in the abdomen, hip and leg -- after responding to a report of an armed man on the West Side -- and how he constantly deals with flashbacks. "I think about it daily, hourly. I always think about what could've happened. I'm glad to be here now," he said. "It's a special night."

Greenland police chief Mike Maloney, killed in the line of duty in April, was an honored during pregame. It was a privilege to be part of the annual Law Enforcement Night -- and the Fisher Cats again did a tremendous job organizing this event.

Fisher Cats Focus: John Stilson

I enjoyed getting to know Fisher Cats newcomer John Stilson the past couple days as we conducted pregame interviews and had a photo shoot. Anxious to see him pitch tonight against Reading. There are some legendary stories about Stilson pitching through a shoulder injury (labrum tear) and sacrificing himself for the good of Texas A&M. As a sophomore, he set programs records and led the nation with an 0.80 ERA. As shoulder cartilage began to deteriorate as a junior, but he kept on trucking. Highlights from the interview and story in today's Union Leader:

"I knew I was hurt, for sure. I felt it on one pitch. I probably should have stopped right then, but I kept going and threw threw three or four more games. It kept getting worse and worse, but that's the type of pitcher I am. I'm not coming out unless you pull me off the field," he said. 

"I went out there and tried to help my teammates. It ended up hurting me more than it helped me, but that's all in the past. Everything happens for a reason. I'm just thankful the Blue Jays gave me this opportunity."

Asked if it's fair to say he was overworked by Aggies coach Rob Childress, Stilson made sure he didn't throw the skipper under the bus. "(College coaches) are in a tough spot. They either have to win or they get fired. They have to win ball games to make a living and support their family. I understand. It was also my choice to go out there and pitch."

Get this: Stilson once threw about 30 pitches against Dartmouth at Coral Gables, Fla., waited through a 1-hour rain delay, and returned to the mound. Later that night, he pitched in relief, earning a save as Texas A&M beat Miami. That's essentially three separate appearances on the same day! Hello.