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Mike "Taledog" Smith
First of all is it true there is a height requirement for the Sydniís squad?
I have to admit, itís an urban myth. Itís a coincidence we are all over 6í2íí except for a couple of players we use to level off our pictures.
How tall are you?
We hate to make assumptions, but do you also play basketball?
I played two years in high school but had knee surgery and decided to stay with baseball. Iíve played baseball since I was 5 and itís been my favorite sport. I even went to college on a full baseball scholarship. I played at Kishwaukee Junior College for 2 years and Southern University at Baton Rouge for 2 years. Too much time and drink...can't remember any stats.
How did you get started playing softball?
Iím from Chicago so Iíve always played 16 inch, with the big ball and no gloves. Four years ago I bumped into one of my old teammates from college and he was playing with the Chi-Town Reds so he got me involved with 12 inch and the Black Circuit.
What teams have you played with?
On the Black Circuit Iíve played with Chi-Town Reds, Ghostbusters and this year Iím with Sydniís AllStars.
We know you are not only a J/L dog on the message board, but also an Omega Psi Phi Man. Does your Board name have anything to do with that?
The name ĎTaledogí is half of my line name, since this is a family friendly atmosphere, I dropped the first portion of it.
We also see you commenting quite frequently on the non softball issues, how do you stay so knowledgeable of current world issues and why is that important to you? My major was Political Science and Iíve always been drawn to public policy and social issues. I feel a responsibility to help elevate African Americans and advance our cause whether itís in a formal or informal setting. We have a unique opportunity with the message board to communicate nationwide and I enjoy talking with the many intelligent brothers and sisters on the circuit.
We see Sydni's will be hosting their first tourney in the Chi next season, a long awaited return to Chicago softball, what can we look forward to at that tourney?
This will be a great tournament and Chicago will be out in full force to support the Black Softball Circuit. There are a lot of 12 inch teams that play in the city but they haven't experience a real BSC tournament. With the attractions and amenities Chicago has to offer, this could grow to become one of the featured tournaments every year.
What do you enjoy most about the Black Softball Circuit?
First and foremost I enjoy the competition, we have tremendous athletes competing every weekend. I appreciate the family atmosphere where we can come together and fellowship in peace without the typical stereotypes associated with African American gatherings. Overall, I enjoy seeing the many faces, old and young, having a good time and realizing we can have something of our own that is positive and prosperous.
What changes would you like to see?
Iíve seen tremendous growth this year and I believe we can get more companies to participate as sponsors. We have a lot of celebrities and athletes involved and they have associations with these organizations. It could be clothing, shoes, equipment or monetary contributions. I try to promote the circuit as much as possible and invite everyone to our website. Like they say, ďif you build it, they will come.Ē
Any shout outs?
I would like to thank the many directors and individuals who keep the Black Softball Circuit moving forward. Of course I have to say what up to all the members of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc., the tallest team on the circuitÖSydniís AllStars (including our team manager Drea) and all the players we do battle with every weekend. I canít forget our fans, especially Ms. Dat, we definitely appreciate your support. A special thanks goes to the families, especially my own, who allow us to play the game we love and support us at the parks with your cheers and words of encouragement.