CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — Illinois Baseball held their annual Hot Stove banquet Saturday afternoon at the iHotel in Champaign. The 2020 team was introduced to fans, while former Major League Baseball manager Buck Showalter highlighted the event as a guest speaker.
Showalter spent 20 years in the MLB as a manager with 4 different teams, winning more than 1,500 games. His message to young baseball players is to simply “have fun”.
“You’re only young once. I see these guys that play baseball year round on all these travel clubs, you don’t see many of them that successful in the big leagues,” says Showalter. “You can get burnt out on anything. It’s a great game if you’ll expose the great things about our game. They’re the disciples of our game carrying it forward and I just want them to enjoy the game. If you’re kids not having fun at it, they’re not going to like it.”
Other events of the evening included a silent auction with items like a Drew Brees and Bret Favre signed jerseys. A Jon Bon Jovi guitar was also auctioned off. The first practice of the season for Illinois Baseball will be Friday, January 24th.