Guest Blogger: Mike “7th Inning Stretch” Nolan

You can always find Mike on top the Thunder dugout during the 7th Inning Stretch

TRENTON MAKES BLOG — June 6, 2011

My first attempt at blogging
by Mike Nolan

Please pardon the column this week. This is the first time I have ever done anything like this, so it may seem a little shaky. I figured I would tell you a little about myself and what I want to do with the Trenton Makes Blog entry, so here goes.

What do I do in the ballpark?
I’m the usher down the first base line. I like getting the crowd involved, like dancing the “Cotton Eye Joe” with the kids in sections A and B, doing the fist pumps during the mid-5th inning break, and leading the fans in “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” from a perch on top of the first base dugout.

What got me ready for this job?
I taught for 31 years at Bordentown Regional High School. I was the Student Council advisor, Assistant to the Band Director, public address announcer for football and basketball, leader of almost all the assemblies, teacher of mathematics and computer science, and timer for all the soccer, basketball and track events. I encouraged the kids to expand their thinking by doing activities that were seemingly too big for most other groups to do. We hosted dinners, barbecues, dances, and formals. We had a Spirit Week that sparkled. We tried to get all of the students involved with our activities by having a car show for the motorheads, sports tournaments for the athletically involved, and a Battle of the Bands for the disaffected kid who had loud music emanating from his iPod anytime he had it on.

I did crazy things, like allowing the students to dress me up for the Spirit Week pep rally. Ask me about the Superman costume sometime. I tried to bring my classes to life by making the math class a conversation rather than a lecture, and I encouraged the students to interact with each other to get better grades. Ask me about making up 4 different versions of each of my tests. This is harder to do and harder to grade. I originally did this to prevent the students from cheating; however, as time went on, it became less about the cheating and more about showing students they could shine on their own. I enjoyed giving students the satisfaction and joy of conquering both mathematics and their fears.

What else do I do now that I am a retired teacher?
Baseball. When the Thunder are on the road, so am I. I don’t go on the team’s road trips, rather I go on my own. My goal is to see all the professional ballparks in America, including all the major league parks, all the Minor League parks and parks from 4 independent leagues. To date I have visited 162 ballparks, which include all of the active MLB parks, and a park in each of the 50 states. I still have 105 left to go. I figure it will take me another 7 years to complete the task. I’m sure that I will do it. By the way, if you want to see the pictures, the website is: http://www.panoramio.com/user/thebaseballtraveler.

What will I try to do with my blog entries here?
I’ve been thinking about this. I’m going to try to bring the flavor and the nuances of both our ballpark and the ballparks that I visit. If there is something you want me to cover, let me know and I’ll do the best I can.

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