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Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Clarke plays (and calls) a good game

Jim Ecker        
Chevez Clarke could have a long career as a baseball player, but he's already thinking ahead. He's worked as an anchorman for the Blue Devil News at his high school in Marietta, Ga., and he's interested in getting a college degree in communications.

"I'd like to be a commentator or a baseball announcer," he said.

The Blue Devil News is part of the visual arts program at his school. They produce regular broadcasts, and Clarke is accustomed to looking into the camera and delivering the news.

That led to a natural question: What would Chevez Clarke, the announcer, say about Chevez Clarke, the 6-foot, 185-pound outfielder and third baseman, as Clarke stepped in the batter's box?

"If I was the commentator, I would say this kid has a very good approach, plays the game hard all the time, runs on and off the field, has great hands and he's a fun player to watch," he replied.

From all accounts, he nailed the description perfectly. It's those attributes, and more, that led to Clarke's selection as an Aflac All-American this year.

"It's a dream come true," he said. "It's always been a dream to make that team. It's been a big goal for me."

Clarke, the announcer, could have said a few more things about Clarke, the ballplayer, such as the fact that he's a switch-hitter with excellent speed (6.49 in the 60), good power (seven homers this year) and a good student (3.2 GPA). He's committed to play college baseball (and study communications) at Georgia Tech, pending the 2010 draft.

Clarke has already spent time in a major league clubhouse. Two of his cousins, Jerry Hairston Jr. and Scott Hairston, play in the big leagues, and Clarke spent time in the visitor's clubhouse in Atlanta when Jerry came to town with the Cincinnati Reds. He got to meet Ken Griffey Jr. (Griffey was still with the Reds) and was introduced to Reds manager Dusty Baker. He got to hit with the Reds, too.

It was good training if Clarke makes the major leagues as a player, and also good training if he gets there as an announcer. Or both.
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