A GREAT view of the field at AT&T Park in Chattanooga during their pre-season open house!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Neil Fiala 1981 Reds and Cardinals

Neil Fiala spent a little time playing for the Reds and the Cardinals.

I asked him recently about his playing time with the Cards, as he is a St. Louis guy.

Neil told me that playing for his home town Cardinals was a great experience. He says that being around the people he grew up watching, and then being coached by them was exciting.

He mentions that he feels more proud of playing for his home team now than he did when he actually played for them. He says that, when he was playing, he was more concerned about the game, and what had to be done. looking back, he says that he had a really good time.

I asked him about being traded to the Reds.

He said that the trade was good and bad. It was bad leaving St. Louis, but it was good going to one of the best teams in the NL. He says that he really enjoyed his time with the Reds, but nothing beats playing in your hometown.

Mr. Fiala let me know about his time at Triple A. He mentions that he played for the AAA Cardinals in Springfield, which was nice because he was close to St. Louis, and family and friends could come to the games.

I asked about his time with one of my favorite teams, the Indianapolis Indians in 1982. he tells me that Indianapolis was a large city that provided a lot of support to the Indians. They had a lot of big crowds for games there. I asked if he has been back to the new Stadium (Victory) but he has not.

1982 was his last season in baseball, though he did go to spring training in 1983 with the Reds Triple A team. He was going to be a utility player, but he decided it was time to move on.

he says that he has never regretted that decision, as he has been able to enjoy time with his wife and daughters, and to coach at the college level.

Concerning coaching, Neil has been the baseball coach at Southwestern Illinois College for 18 seasons. This year will make 19!

He also managed the Frontier League's River City Rascals from 2000-2001. he says that that was a very busy time. Between his two teams, he was involved in over 175 games a year! He was also the home bench coach for the Gateway Grizzlies, helping out Danny Cox.

Neil says that he is focused on his one team now, and is excited about the upcoming season!

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