Love of The Game

10/12/18 @ Irma’s Cafe
Michael and Patricia Velez; plus,
Michelin Tranquil, Patricia’s mom.


Love of the Game

Once in a while, if you’re lucky, you get to meet someone who personifies Love of the Game as their second reason for breathing, after taking care of love for family. Yesterday I was fortunate enough to meet one of those rarefied jewels of humanity. And I shall always be grateful for the opportunity.

On Friday, thanks to an invitation from Dr. Sue Hepler, my old friend and colleague from our graduate school days at Tulane in New Orleans ~ and half century Houstonian since those early times, I must add ~ I had lunch at the wonderful Irma’s Mexican Restaurant north of Minute Maid Park at 22¬†Chenevert with Sue and her friends, Michael and Patricia Velez, and Pat’s mother, Michelin Tranquil. All are originally from Brooklyn, New York, but now live in Houston.

Michael Velez, 32, has never stopped playing baseball since childhood, growing up in Brooklyn as an ardent Mets fan. He has continued to play baseball somewhere every year since. He spent this past season playing right field and some center field for a club called Los Indios of the locally based, but curiously (to me) named Mexican League at various municipal field sites in the Houston area.

Now, at age 32, and in apparently full recognition of the fact that passing age “30” doesn’t exactly add luster to the baseball playing resume’ of anyone, Michael would like to move up the baseball ladder with some organization that’s active in the Houston baseball arena, if at all possible. And yes, Michael is very aware that Yuli Gurriel of the Astros made the Houston-move-up step at around the same advanced age, but that his case was based upon a baseball record of having been one of the big professional stars in Cuba before his arrival in Houston.

Michael Velez is grounded in reality. He knows that the Gurriel prospective doesn’t exist for him at the same level in the same way. He’s just hoping that someone with Houston baseball connections will learn about him and give him a tryout for their 2019 team. I have never seen him play and don’t even know his season or career stats. It’s a little hard to do a good job of baseball research in detail while you’re jabbing a fork continuously into a beef fajita salad.

All I know for sure is ~ if Michael Velez’s playing ability is anything close to the grades I give him for character, intellect, social communication skill, and apparent physical fitness, he’s definitely worth any fair baseball-minded consideration. He may be a great scout, coach, manager or front office candidate in training too ~ even if he’s not yet thinking that far into the future. I don’t know his thoughts, nor am I able to speak for him. I wasn’t there at lunch to take or build his resume’. I just was impressed by him.

If you are attending this coming Monday’s SABR meeting, Michael Velez will be there as my guest for you to meet. We should be arriving by 6:30 PM.

If you are not a member of SABR, or simply will not be there, you may contact Michael Velez about baseball 2019 job possibilities by phone, or e-mail, as listed here:

Phone: 510-688-0215


10/12/18: Lunch at Irma’s Cafe
Drs. Sue Hepler and Bill McCurdy
Old friends and colleagues from their Tulane University Days

Now let’s go, Astros! ~ Beat those Red Sox tonight! ~ And that deep level wish springs directly from my personal Love of the Game!



Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle


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