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Bert Blyleven, Luis Tiant discuss the state of pro baseball at Fort Myers event

By Staff | Mar 23, 2023

Baseball legends Bert Blyleven and Luis Tiant shared their thoughts on the current state of professional baseball during Boys & Girls Clubs of Lee County’s annual Evening at the Ballpark fundraising event.

Held March 21 at JetBlue Park in Fort Myers, the former pitchers joined Red Sox broadcaster Tom Caron and retired Twins sportscaster John Gordon for a conversation that spanned rule changes, the World Baseball Classic, fan experiences and locker room stories. The event also featured a silent auction, raffle, dinner and an autograph session with three Red Sox players: pitcher and FGCU standout Kutter Crawford, center fielder Adam Duvall and right fielder Rob Refsnyder. Blyleven, a Fort Myers resident, pitched in the major leagues for 22 seasons and was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2011. Tiant, who lives in Boston, pitched in the majors for 19 seasons and was inducted into the Red Sox Hall of Fame in 1997.

Proceeds from the event support Boys & Girls Clubs of Lee County, which operates seven community, neighborhood and school-based clubs in Fort Myers, Lehigh Acres, Bonita Springs, North Fort Myers and Cape Coral.

Below are eight insights from the panel discussion that capped Evening at the Ballpark.

Tiant on the rise of analytics to dictate baseball decisions:

“Computers are good for business. You press a button. This is baseball. You learn to play on the field. All those numbers…. You can put them in the toilet.”

Blyleven on shorter outings for starting pitchers:

“We never had a pitch count. The hitters let us know when we were done.”

Tiant on talented pitchers who lack situational baseball knowledge:

“God gave you the ability. You have to use it the right way. You have to use your brain.”

Blyleven on not feeling nervous on the mound in big games:

“Pitching in the World Series is your ultimate goal. You want to get there. I worked my butt off to get better and better every year.”

Tiant on Florida’s warm weather:

“I was born in Cuba. In summer, it’s hot. Here in the summer… it’s brutal.”

Caron on expediting play to keep games under three hours:

“I probably lost a month and a half of my life watching Nomar (Garciaparra) fixing his batting gloves.”

Gordon on timers that speed up the pace of play this season:

“Baseball was the only sport that didn’t have a clock. Now, it has a clock.”

Caron on how the fan experience for baseball differs from other sports:

“In baseball, you’re talking about the game with people around you.”

About Boys & Girls Clubs of Lee County

Established in 1974, Boys & Girls Clubs of Lee County serve children and teens through school-based, neighborhood and community club locations. The nonprofit’s mission is to enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring and responsible citizens. After-school and summer programs focus on five core areas: education and career, service and leadership, health and wellness, the arts, and sports and recreation. For more information, please visit BGClee.org or call 239-334-1886.

Source: Boys & Girls Clubs of Lee County