Robin Ventura sat on his resort bed in Port St. Lucie, Florida, at the New York Mets spring instruction in 2000, when he obtained the period-altering phone simply call.
This was an uncommon baseball get in touch with.
It was not supervisor Bobby Valentine on the line chewing him out, nor was it a teammate inquiring for fielding suggestions. It was place audio star Garth Brooks.
“He calls me and he goes, ‘I want to perform spring instruction with the Mets,’” Ventura mentioned. “And I’m like, ‘Well, I can’t make that selection but it would be wonderful.’
“So I referred to as (Mets general public relations supervisor) Jay Horwitz and Garth arrived.”
Brooks satisfied Ventura during their college days at Oklahoma Condition. Equally were athletes, Brooks in track and industry and Ventura in baseball, and this was the initial time they reconnected in a whilst. What began as a publicity stunt for Brooks to boost the Contact ‘Em All Basis, ended up as a big key to the Mets’ pennant acquire that year. Just after a few video games with the crew, Brooks invited the team to a occasion at his property, a move that considerably enhanced crew chemistry.
“We ended up heading to the Earth Collection that 12 months and (Brooks) solidified our crew a tiny little bit,” Ventura stated. “We experienced a barbecue at Garth’s dwelling and it was gamers, loved ones and it was fantastic.
“I experienced to cook dinner the whole matter, but other than that, it was exciting. There is a large amount of men that try to remember how that meshed the complete crew alongside one another.”
Brooks’ off area contributions had been the only detail that benefited the Mets. To set it bluntly, he need to almost certainly stick to singing rather than swinging. Brooks went -for-17 in his time with New York and was afraid of the critical circumstances they put him in.
“What I liked about the Mets was they would adhere you in freaking undesirable conditions,” Brooks claimed. “I signify like, ‘Holy s—, make sure you don’t even call my identify variety cases.’”
Though he’s utilized to providing out stadiums and remaining the centre of interest, Brooks was amazed at how distinct baseball’s troubles were being. Earning get in touch with with the baseball was not impossible for him, but he mentioned the biggest hurdle was “hitting it exactly where all those men weren’t.”
Even the mundane jobs at a Main League Baseball video game were being an adjustment for Brooks.
“Everything that arrived up was a problem,” Brooks claimed. “It was a challenge to even set your uniform on proper since they have specific rules. Infinite regard for qualified athletes.”
Mets good results aside, this knowledge brought the faculty friends back again collectively. Poking entertaining at Brooks, Ventura explained if the roles were being reversed and he experienced to carry out a concert, he would do about as nicely as Brooks did on the baseball diamond.
“No, no, no no, no, no,” Ventura stated. “I really don’t even sing in the shower. That’s how negative my voice is.”