An interview with GMS pitcher Michael Kalinowski
Who are you playing with in 2012?
GMS – C team from New Jersey
Why do you like the game of softball?
The competition, friendships and the memories I have of the old days and the present time.
Who is the best softball player you have ever seen play?
Too difficult to name one player: Jim Divine, Brett Helmer, Jeff Wallace, Tom White, Doug Kissane, Chip Cregar, Willie Allen, Bryson Baker, Eric Thompson, Mike Dill, Greg Cannedy, Britt Hightower, Andy Purcell.
What is your nickname in softball?
Where do you call home?
Hamilton, New Jersey
What do you do for a living?
Senior Systems Engineer
Did you play sports in High School / College / Pro?
Football in high school
How did you get your start in softball and how did you get to the upper level?
Played a tournament with Chuck Smith, then Reds' Boys/Team Illinois combined the following year and "Stick" called me to play. (Kevin "Stick" Broemmer & Robert "Reds" Moore.) In '08, Rick Lilly called and I played with Angle Inn/Easton, and in '09 with Diamond Blade/Angle Inn.
What position do you play?
P, 1B, C
What do you do in the offseason to improve your pitching?
Constantly throwing BP indoors.
What is your best piece of advice you could give an up and coming pitcher?
You should be able to throw strikes with your eyes closed; pound the strike zone! Constantly changing your grips for knuckle balls and curves, changing speeds, height and angle's on every pitch, throwing from in front of the mound and behind the mound. Don't make it easy on a batter by throwing pitches way inside or outside, keep it close and make the batter decide on a borderline pitch… I constantly watch the USSSA archive videos to see what other pitchers are doing to get batters out.
What batting grip do you use?
One finger off the bottom, two finger overlap on top
What is your favorite sports team?
What is your favorite sport other than softball?
Do you have any superstitions and if so, what are they?
I always clean a spot in the batters box for my right foot, check my batting gloves, take a breath and think, "quick hands!"
What is your most memorable softball moments?
WOW, I have a few… When Steeles' Hitmen came to Mercer County Park, NJ for a scrimmage against a local all-star team they were hitting homers into the night that just disappeared. Going to the 1996 USSSA Major Worlds in Frederick, Maryland as a spectator, watching Britt Hightower, Carl Rose, Wendall Rickard, Dave Steffan, Dirk Androff and Dan Schuck (to name a few) hit BOMBS!!! Winning the Triple Crown Worlds in Steamboat Springs, Colorado and winning MVP. Playing with Pierce Construction (Helmer, Wallace, Brownie) at the ISA Winter Worlds, thinking, "Wow, these guys hit the ball a damn country mile!" Going to the Smoky's with Resmondo as a guest (yup, they won it) after that weekend I knew some way, some how, I had to get to the Smoky's as a player; the atmosphere is awesome and everyone should get a chance to play just once! Couple years later I got there with Reds' Boys/Team Illinois/TPS we went 3-2; it's amazing standing in the box on the main field. Then a couple years later in '08, being on the mound, playing while I was hurt (torn meniscus) , finishing second at the USSSA B Worlds and making all tournament team! And then back at the B Worlds in '09 with Diamond Blade.
Is slowpitch softball a sport or a game?
At the upper level it's a sport; it takes a lot of dedication and hard work.
What is the best improvement upper level softball could make?
Limiting the major players per team, but I'm not sure on how many per team. It would have to be a work in progress…
What is your favorite non-World tournament?
Hands down, the Smoky's
What is the funniest thing you have ever seen on a softball field?
I was working in Los Angeles, and took the red-eye from Los Angeles to Detroit and then on to Orlando to play with Pierce Construction in the ISA Winter Worlds. Needless to say, I was dead-tired; we were playing a game against Ohio Sealants (I think), and it was tie-score (44-44 in the bottom of the 7th) and it was bases-loaded, and I was catching. The pitch came in, hit the corner of the plate, and went past me to the fence. The guy at third scored, and we lost the game, 45-44. Brownie, who was pitching at the time, said to me after the game, "I would've never thought we would lose that game by the guy at third stealing home." It's the only one I've got… And if you can't laugh at yourself, who CAN you laugh at?