Public Radio fans of the Kathleen Dunn show on Wisconsin Public Radio can tune in on December 28th to hear J. D. Thorne talk about his quest to educate and entertain the public on the "10 Commandments of Baseball." The Commandments, a simple list of baseball principles, quietly became the underlying rules of behavior for baseball on all levels for almost 90 years. J. D. is scheduled to be on Ms. Dunn's show on the 28th from 10-11am central. John Munston will host the show.
J. D.'s quest began a few years ago when he was asked to speak at the Positive Attitude Development class at the Duluth Federal Prison Camp for their February meeting. Looking for inspiration, he remembered a little keepsake card among his dad's effects that listed the "10 Commandments of Baseball" that were penned by legendary MLB manager Joe McCarthy in 1921. The Commandments are not religious in nature, but espouse good ethics and habits. Most people who have been involved with baseball recall being told:
Nobody ever became a ballplayer by walking after a ball—Commandment Number 1.
You will never become a .300 hitter unless you take the bat off your shoulder—Commandment Number 2.
Always run them out. You can never tell—Commandment Number 7.
Do not quit. Commandment—Number 8.
The author, a lifelong baseball fan and practicing attorney, developed a presentation around the commandments for the inmates in Duluth. He wanted to emphasize how they could be applied to life. The four hour drive from Milwaukee to Duluth can be a scenic drive in good weather, but in the gloom of an upper Midwest winter on that February day, the author's mood swung from hopeful to fearful as he approached the correction facility. How would the speech go over with men who had heard most every angle on life's lessons? Fear turned to encouragement as the author was warmly received by the inmates and enthusiastically applauded at the end. "You don't forget those kinds of moments in life--it was such a thrill to know that I had reached folks who desperately needed encouragement."
The experience inspired the author to try it again with other audiences. He was also inspired to write a book on the subject that we publish here at Sporting Chance Press. After many months with book in tow, the author has made presentations to Rotaries, Lions' Clubs, schools, church groups and sports clubs. He has also been on a few TV and radio stations and he has been asked to speak at a couple Universities. But mostly his presentations are intimate talks from a couple dozen to 40 or 50 people. The message remains the same--the response very positive. Not a foot stomping, fist slapping get out there and conquer the world kind of message, but enthusiastic just the same. The 10 Commandments presentation offers a little bit on baseball history to set the stage and then zigs and zags between the baseball principles and entertaining stories from baseball history that illustrate them. Thorne's little trip down memory lane is one worth taking. From little leaguers to octogenarians, the author uses baseball and its many fascinating characters to promote the many positive things that come from the game. It's an antidote to the poor sportsmanship and behavior that is so common with today's players. Even in the worst of scandals, there are lessons to be learned.
Like Thorne's presentations, the Public Radio interview should be compelling. The Kathleen Dunn show can be heard on WPR's Ideas Network stations--see http://www.wpr.org/ideas/#stations for more information. See www.sportingchancepress.com for more information on The 10 Commandments of Baseball book.