Events

June 18, 2014

Baseball, hot dogs and fighter jets

Tags:
Linda KC Reynolds
staff writer

F-35 Test Pilot and 461st Squadron Commander Lt. Col Drew “Growler” Allen and Lockheed Martin F-35 Site Director Michaels Glass get ready to throw the first pitch during Star Wars night at JetHawk Stadium. The love of baseball has helped them form a stronger working relationship.

 
Star Wars Night was extra special for members of the F-35 Integrated Test Force from Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., as they came to cheer for their squadron commander Lt. Col Andrew “Growler” Allen and Lockheed Martin Site Director Michael Glass, as the pair threw out the first two pitches of the evening at JetHawk Stadium.

Allen’s baseball career got off to a terrific start playing at Owasso, Okla., the number one high school baseball team in the nation. For the first time in a long time, Allen, once a star pitcher at the Air Force Academy, was on the mound again, where he managed to brush off the rust- just enough to bounce one across home plate.

Glass, a crafty lefty, hung one high and outside, that the wind caught- of course.

“It was a bucket list moment to be throwing on the pitcher’s mound of Houston Astros High-A ball team, the JetHawks, to a professional baseball player squatting at home plate. For a true baseball purist, I loved it!” said Glass.

Fortunately, their shared love of the game has helped create a stronger working relationship.

When Allen first met Glass in his F-35 office and saw his baseball paraphernalia he felt an instant bond. “You know when a guy loves baseball and wears cowboy boots, you know you’re off to a good start,” explained Allen. “There was an immediate language we could speak together.”

Lockheed Martin F-35 Site Director Mike Glass poses with his 1979 World Series bat. He also caught a foul ball during the championship game, Pittsburg Pirates verses the Baltimore Orioles. One of his greatest treasures is a Stadium seat from the old Texas Rangers ballpark in Arlington that is signed by one of the world’s greatest pitchers, Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan.

Besides aircraft, it was something else they could reminisce about and relate to. “In our organization it is inherently critical that we relate with complete trust, honesty and truth … at our level we hope to have that tone and that it flows down into the organization. If I try to relate something about flying to him that he may not understand, I try to put it into baseball terms,” joked Allen.

“Except he is a Yankees fan so that doesn’t really go over,” laughs Glass.

Glass grew up in Louisville playing Babe Ruth baseball and in high school he played American Legion Baseball. He also excelled at football but baseball was the game he loved the most.

“My father was a huge Cincinnati Reds fan and listened to every Reds game on the radio. I became a Red Machine fanatic too,” said Glass. He and his father would throw ball at least once a week until he started throwing harder than his father.

“When I was 15 he died. It broke my heart that he wasn’t around to throw the ball with me. You know when you’re a teenager and you’re too busy hanging with your friends- well, looking back I wish I would have played more catch with my dad when he wanted to.”

F-35 Test Pilot and 461st Squadron Commander Lt. Col Drew “Growler” Allen throws the first pitch during Star Wars night, at JetHawk Stadium.

The only foul ball he ever caught in his life was in game three of the 1979 World Series between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Baltimore Orioles. “Amazing! It was in the first inning and John Candelaria was pitching to Eddie Murray. Murray fouled off the first pitch and I caught it barehanded on the fly, seven rows behind the first base dugout. It was one of the greatest thrills of my life and I was captured on national TV jumping up and down like a lunatic!”

His F-35 office holds some of his favorite treasures: a bat from the 1979 Pittsburg Pirates World Series Championship and a very special seat.

“The seat is my favorite and gets lots of attention because it is so unique. It came out of old Arlington Stadium, former home of the Texas Rangers until it was demolished in 1994. It’s a brown seat whicch were the most expensive seats in its day,” said Glass. An ad in the Fort Worth paper before the demolition said 100 seats were available for $50 each and for $50 more you could get it signed by Nolan Ryan. “I chose the Nolan seat with the biggest signature of the Hall of Famer anywhere. I love it!”

When it comes to building the world’s newest and deadliest fighter, they are 100 percent on the same team; however, when it comes down to who can throw the best first pitch – there is quite the dogfight.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines March 6, 2015

News: IG: VHA misappropriated $92.5M for claims system - The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) misappropriated more than $90 million intended for medical support and compliance programs in order to build an automated claims processing system, according to an Inspector General report released this week.   Business: Gulf arms race fuels UAE push for defense industry - Soaring...
 
 

News Briefs March 6, 2015

Man charged with theft of military documents seeks release An engineer who worked for a defense contractor who’s been charged with attempting to travel to China with stolen documents on the development of advanced titanium for U.S. military aircraft is asking a judge to free him while he awaits trial. A hearing on Yu Long’s...
 
 
Air Force photograph by Rick Goodfriend

AFRL offering prize for turbine engine development

Air Force photograph by Rick Goodfriend Discover meetings to be held in Ohio on March 24-25. The Air Force Research Laboratory is leading the first Air Force technology prize, issuing a challenge to develop a small, efficient t...
 

 
Lockheed Martin photograph

Lockheed Martin P-3 Orion wing line restarted

Lockheed Martin photograph From left: Peter Hillier, Karen Eilbmeier, and Michael Spurr from the Canada Department of National Defence were on hand to commemorate the reopening of the P-3 wing line at Marietta, Ga.   Lockh...
 
 
Army photograph

Army Research Laboratory lays out science and technology priorities through 2019

Army photograph Dr. Rick Beyer, propulsion science expert, aligns a sample in a Bruker Wide-angle X-ray scattering camera at the Army Research Laboratory in Adelphi, Md. The laboratory recently released its technical implementa...
 
 
Air Force photograph by A1C Dillian Bamman

‘Iron Horse’ sets off for final flight

Air Force photograph by A1C Dillian Bamman Aircraft 62-1863 ‘Iron Horse’, a HC-130P Combat King, rests before takeoff Mar. 3, 2015, at Moody Air Force Base, Ga. Throughout its career, Iron Horse has flown for over 27,000 ho...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>