Nolan Ryan’s latest find will be on display tonight when the Rangers host the Red Sox, but don’t look to the pitcher’s mound to find this prospect.
BBoy McCoy, the break-dancing bat boy, will make his major league debut tonight in Texas after spending four years spinning and poppin’ on top of dugouts throughout the minors. McCoy’s call to the big leagues comes after a recent appearance at Ryan-owned Triple-A Round Rock, where he apparently caught the eye of the Rangers president.
“Nolan suggested that we bring him up,” Rangers vice president of in-park entertainment Chuck Morgan said. “Nolan said to get him here because he heard good things about him in Round Rock.”
McCoy’s appearance at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington will cap an unlikely rise for the 21-year-old former Atlanta street performer that includes a run on the hit show “America’s Got Talent.” It was there in 2008 that McCoy, whose real name is Kenneth Paryo, met Dominic Latkovski, the veteran minor league performer and founder of BirdZerk and ZOOperstars.
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The Lynchburg Hillcats may have a tough time finding a spot in their ballpark to honor Calvin Falwell. That’s because there are few part of it available that don’t already pay homage to the team’s founder, who passed away on Saturday night at the age of 90 after suffering a heart attack on his way to a Hillcats game.
The stadium is named in his honor—Calvin Falwell Field at Lynchburg City Stadium—and Falwell’s name is displayed in center field and on the front of the building. He is honored in the stadium lobby as part of the city’s hall of fame and on another plaque in the garden area by the front gate.
“The best thing about it,” Lynchburg general manager Paul Sunwall says, “is that he got to see it all done while he was living.”
The recognition is certainly just for Falwell, who spearheaded the ownership group that brought the team to town in 1966 and worked hard to make sure it stuck around one of minor league baseball’s smallest markets.
Falwell attended all but a handful of Lynchburg’s home games this season and was a familiar face for fans in his suite. He remained team president until November 2009, passing on the duties vice president Rex Angel. Falwell ran the team’s monthly owners meetings until the past few years.
Sunwall, in his 32nd season with the Hillcats, says Falwell will be missed for more than his business acumen. “He will be missed for his presence and smile and southern hospitality. He was well liked and loved in the community.”
And it was in the community that Falwell embodied much of what minor league baseball strives to be. He opened Falwell Airport with his brother Lawrence in 1947 and worked on a number of community endeavors, including helping form the Lynchburg Little League in 1957, as well as being a regular contributor to the city’s Boys and Girls Clubs, Salvation Army and the local hospital.
“He was a very community-oriented guy,” Sunwall said. “He was very down to earth, very humble. He was never one to brag about his wealth.”
The Carolina League fell upon hard times in the 1970s as its enrollment dwindled to four teams. Falwell was one of the leaders in reviving the league.
“But for him and a few colleagues, we may not have had a league,” says John Hopkins, who has served as Carolina League president since 1984. “For me, personally, he was a beloved friend and a trusted confidante.”
Falwell was the Carolina League’s first representative on Minor League Baseball’s board of trustees and remained an officer in the league until 2010.
“He worked with four or five league presidents over the years,” Hopkins said. “There isn’t much he didn’t do.”
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