A First For John Marshall’s ‘Monty’

GLEN DALE – Dating back to the mid-1950s, baseball has been exceptionally good to Bob Montgomery, and he has continually returned the favor. Montgomery has seen and experienced just about everything the game has to offer, but today will be a first.

Montgomery, the long-time John Marshall baseball coach, was notified Tuesday that he has been selected to throw out the ceremonial first pitch during today’s West Virginia Power game in Charleston.

“I’ve had a couple of sleepless night. I’ve been working out 2 in the morning until 4 a.m.,” Montgomery joked. “I’ve had a terrific life.

“I never really expected to throw out a first pitch.”

While some may suggest the situation is nothing to get worked up about, Montgomery is taking the assignment fairly seriously.

“I realize I am representing John Marshall, Marshall County and the Ohio Valley anywhere I go,” he said.

The opportunity, Montgomery said, is a result of his relationship with the family of Scott Varner, a former member of the W.Va. Legislature.

“His daughter, Shayna, there’s some sort of connection there and they got me an opportunity,” the coach said. “Scott and his family have been very good to JM baseball in a lot of different ways.

“I received a Distinguished West Virginian award through Scott and Gov. (Earl Ray) Tomblin.”

This summer, like every other in recent memory has been filled with – what else – baseball for Montgomery and his wife, Sabrina. They recently attended all five games of a crucial National League Central Division showdown between the Pittsburgh Pirates and St. Louis Cardinals at PNC Park, and actually had tickets for today’s matchup with Colorado but had to exchange them for a future date with the Cardinals in order to be at Appalachian Power Park.

“This will be a lot of fun, and of course the Power is the Class A affiliates of Pirates,” Montgomery said. “With the way the Pirates are going now … and the Power also in first place right now.

“Maybe a couple guys we’ll see Sunday, we’ll see at PNC in a couple years.”

The Pirates are one of, if not the biggest, thrills in the lives of the Montgomerys. To see them doing so well and possibly on the way to the postseason, almost amounts to a dream come true.

“I love football and love going to the games, but baseball, there’s something about Americana,” Montgomery said. “I still think about that night in 1992 in Atlanta and letting Sid Bream, who I still think I could beat in a race, score.

“Sports, it’s been my whole life. My dad started me on Reds-Pirates at Forbes Field in 1955.

“Through sports we get to get away from so-called real life and everyday happenings of the human existence.”