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Monday, January 27, 2020

Orange Coast College baseball coach John Altobelli died in Kobe helicopter crash

A single bouquet of flowers sat on home plate as dozens of Orange Coast College former and current baseball players and coaches, and their family members and friends filed into Wendell Pickens Field on the school’s Costa Mesa campus Sunday.

Under ominous gray skies, with an early afternoon chill in the air, they hugged each other tightly, cried on each others’ shoulders and prayed together as they tried to come to grips with the tragedy that claimed their baseball coach Sunday morning.

John Altobelli, 56, who guided the Pirates to four California community college state championships and racked up more than 700 victories in 27 seasons at Orange Coast, was among the nine victims in the helicopter crash that killed former Lakers star Kobe Bryant.

...

Altobelli was named national coach of the year by the American Baseball Coaches Association in 2019 and Orange Coast won state titles in 2019, 2015, 2014 and 2009. Yet what brought him the most joy, Johnson said, was seeing his players move on to Division I programs. Approximately 10 Pirates off last year’s state championship team received scholarships to four-year schools.

 

QLE Posted: January 27, 2020 at 12:23 AM | 32 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: college baseball, john altobelli, obituaries, rip

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   1. Jose Is Absurdly Chatty Posted: January 27, 2020 at 09:31 AM (#5919500)
The Athletic article about Altobelli is unlocked for non-subscribers.

Altobelli coached the Brewster Whitecaps from 2012-2014 which included a year with Aaron Judge and Jeff McNeil. His son is a scout for the Red Sox.
   2. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: January 27, 2020 at 09:40 AM (#5919502)
His wife and his 13-y.o. daughter, who was a teammate of Kobe's daughter, were also killed in the crash. Just terrible. I read elsewhere that he has another daughter, as well as a son who is a Red Sox scout, as mentioned in #1.
   3. Howie Menckel Posted: January 27, 2020 at 10:04 AM (#5919514)
ESPN's Jeff Passan spoke to Mets star Jeff McNeil, who played for [John] Altobelli in 2012, when Altobelli managed the Brewster Whitecaps -- a collegiate, summer baseball team in the Cape Cod League.

"He's one of the main reasons I'm still playing professional baseball," McNeil told ESPN of Altobelli.

McNeil said he had a poor first two years at Long Beach State. His coaches there asked Altobelli to bring McNeil to Brewster anyway.

"He took a chance on me, kept me the whole summer. Him taking that chance on me, having me on his team, got me drafted," McNeil said.

"He made you believe in your ability. I remember when we first got to the Cape, he said, 'You're here for a reason. You've just got to believe you can do it. If you want to steal, steal. Play your game. Do what you guys want to do. Enjoy it. Have fun with it. This is gonna be one of the best summers of your life.'"
   4. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 27, 2020 at 11:01 AM (#5919544)
The Athletic article about Altobelli is unlocked for non-subscribers.


The URL in your post is showing as: http://xn--its-mo0ah/ . That probably isn't what you had intended to post?

I think this is the correct one.
   5. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 27, 2020 at 11:03 AM (#5919549)
"He's one of the main reasons I'm still playing professional baseball," McNeil told ESPN of Altobelli.


Altobelli also coached several future major leaguers at OCC, including Marty Cordova, Donnie Murphy, and current Mariners reliever Brandon Brennan.
   6. wjones Posted: January 27, 2020 at 01:54 PM (#5919632)
Was wondering if he was related to Joe, but since it hasn't been mentioned I guess not. That's the first thing I thought of when I heard the name.
   7. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: January 27, 2020 at 02:09 PM (#5919639)
   8. Jose Is Absurdly Chatty Posted: January 27, 2020 at 02:28 PM (#5919652)
Thanks Vlad, not sure what happened there.
   9. "RMc", the superbatsman Posted: January 27, 2020 at 09:09 PM (#5919776)
And that, folks, is why you'll never see my fat ass in a helicopter.

RIP.
   10. QLE Posted: January 29, 2020 at 12:55 AM (#5920120)
   11. chisoxcollector Posted: January 29, 2020 at 08:51 AM (#5920134)
This helicopter crash has really messed me up. I grew up in Orange County as a Sonics fan, but the Lakers were always my #2, and I always loved watching Bryant play. The free throws after his achilles injury are one of the most enduring memories of my basketball fandom.

Also, I was a student at OCC, where I debated playing baseball for Altobelli but decided my time was better spent elsewhere, as I knew I wasn’t talented enough to make a career out of baseball.

The only “celebrity” death that has hit me like this on a personal level was Gene Autry. I had met him many times as a teenager, and got to hang out with him in his office at Angels Stadium a couple of times.
   12. Greg Pope Posted: January 29, 2020 at 09:50 AM (#5920142)
Wasn't Kobe kind of a jerk? He forced his way to the Lakers after being drafted out of high school. He was called "uncoachable" by Phil Jackson. He feuded with Shaq, who by all accounts is one of the nicer people in sports. He gave himself his own nickname. The number switch seems kind of douchey to me, especially once they retired both of them. He cheated on his wife, and was accused of rape in the matter.

   13. Manny Coon Posted: January 29, 2020 at 10:27 AM (#5920147)
He basically got out of the rape charges by having his army of supporters publicly harass, threaten and shame the victim until she chose not to testify. It was pretty vile and in his statement released after civil settlement he admits she never verbally consented, which seems like a minimum standard if the act involves choking and a level of roughness that causes bleeding.
   14. chisoxcollector Posted: January 29, 2020 at 10:46 AM (#5920154)
I certainly won't defend Kobe against any of the charges above, but calling Shaq one of the nicest people in sports is quite the oversell. I've met him numerous times, and he was one of the most arrogant pricks I've ever come across in sports.
   15. Greg Pope Posted: January 29, 2020 at 10:56 AM (#5920157)
calling Shaq one of the nicest people in sports is quite the oversell. I've met him numerous times, and he was one of the most arrogant pricks I've ever come across in sports.

OK, I'll grant that. I've never met him.
   16. Jose Is Absurdly Chatty Posted: January 29, 2020 at 11:25 AM (#5920167)
Based on the stories that have come out both of how he dealt with fellow players and with people behind the scenes it seems pretty clear that Kobe Bryant was a very good guy.

Of course he also raped someone. Some of the stuff Greg outlines in 12 while not a great look is not a big deal to me. I think it’s pretty par for the course for an hyper competitive athlete. The rape thing though...I mean man that’s not something to be ignored. The thing that has been getting me about the stories have been the gushing about him while just ignoring that. Yeah, you can say it’s just one moment in an otherwise exemplary life but...boy that’s a big honkin’ moment.
   17. Greg Pope Posted: January 29, 2020 at 11:44 AM (#5920173)
Yeah, I've just noticed how they keep talking about how great of a family guy he was. I certainly don't expect them to bring up the cheating and the rape, but you don't have to gush about his family life. Although I also understand that with his daughter also perishing the crash it might be a requirement to report on family. Probably not an easy line to walk.
   18. eric Posted: January 29, 2020 at 11:59 AM (#5920176)
While I was surprised to hear that Kobe died, I was ultimately indifferent due to the usual reasons some people are conflicted about him. Hearing that three kids died, along with most of a family, was heart-breaking.

Sounds like there was no recorder box on the helicopter. Given that it was an experienced pilot flying in weather conditions that had grounded most other helicopters, I wonder if there was some, er, pressure to just fly anyways and get people where they needed to go.
   19. Greg Pope Posted: January 29, 2020 at 12:08 PM (#5920182)
Given that it was an experienced pilot flying in weather conditions that had grounded most other helicopters, I wonder if there was some, er, pressure to just fly anyways and get people where they needed to go.

Yes, it certainly could be anything from the pilot thinking "I know what I'm doing, I'll tell them it's not a problem" to Kobe saying "Don't you know who I am? Get this chopper in the air!".
   20. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: January 29, 2020 at 12:18 PM (#5920185)
The thing that has been getting me about the stories have been the gushing about him while just ignoring that.

Yeah, I've been surprised by the number of my friends or people I follow on social media who have posted these gushing tributes to Kobe. This includes women who are usually very outspoken on issues of gender discrimination and sexual assault, some who are survivors themselves. I'm not saying that everyone needs to talk about the alleged assault in this moment, but I wouldn't have expected such people to write glowing memorials to him either. It's like there's some collective act of amnesia going on. I haven't commented on it and am not looking to question or take away from anybody's sense of loss or mourning, but it is an interesting phenomenon that I've been thinking about. If I was closer friends with some of them or had a chance to discuss it in person, I'd probably ask them about it.
   21. eric Posted: January 29, 2020 at 12:23 PM (#5920187)
I'm not saying that everyone needs to talk about the alleged assault in this moment, but I wouldn't have expected such people to write glowing memorials to him either. It's like there's some collective act of amnesia going on. I haven't commented on it and am not looking to question or take away from anybody's sense of loss or mourning, but it is an interesting phenomenon that I've been thinking about.


Dying is a great career move. Look at Michael Jackson.
   22. Red Voodooin Posted: January 29, 2020 at 12:41 PM (#5920193)
I certainly don't expect them to bring up the cheating and the rape, but you don't have to gush about his family life.


Why? It appears he had a family life worth gushing about. And moreover, I think the rape incident is being brought up quite frequently, perhaps not in every homage written about him, but it certainly is being mentioned very noticeably almost everywhere. There's no "collective act of amnesia" going on like #20 suggests. Far from it. If you had no idea the incident had occurred, or had forgotten about it, you've certainly been reminded plenty of times in the wake of his death. It's an undeniable part of his legacy (as it should be).
   23. Greg Pope Posted: January 29, 2020 at 12:50 PM (#5920196)
but it certainly is being mentioned very noticeably almost everywhere

I'd have to disagree with this. My wife constantly has shows on like Access Hollywood, Extra, the Today Show, etc. So I've been subjected to a ton of Kobe coverage. I haven't heard it mentioned once. And she watches plenty when I'm not around and she didn't even know about the rape incident until I told her.
   24. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: January 29, 2020 at 01:14 PM (#5920202)
Why? It appears he had a family life worth gushing about.

The people I'm surprised by are mostly posting about his athletic achievements, not his family life. I don't want to call anyone out here but that's what I've seen.

And moreover, I think the rape incident is being brought up quite frequently, perhaps not in every homage written about him, but it certainly is being mentioned very noticeably almost everywhere.

I have a pretty "woke" group of friends and I've only seen two people mention it.
One person also made an oblique reference to him having grown as a person over the years. I'll ask my wife (not a basketball fan and may not remember the original case) if she has seen anything about it later.

Anyway this is supposed to be a thread about Altobelli so I don't really want to derail it further.
   25. Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: January 29, 2020 at 01:17 PM (#5920204)
but it certainly is being mentioned very noticeably almost everywhere

I'd have to disagree with this. My wife constantly has shows on like Access Hollywood, Extra, the Today Show, etc. So I've been subjected to a ton of Kobe coverage. I haven't heard it mentioned once. And she watches plenty when I'm not around and she didn't even know about the rape incident until I told her.


The sexual assault has been at least mentioned in virtually every Kobe article I've seen. I wouldn't expect it to get much play on Extra or in facebook posts.

Zach Lowe's Kobe podcast had two female journalists on it, one of them being Rachel Nichols. She acknowledged the rape and other (smaller) missteps that I did not remember - apparently Kobe refused to join fellow players in the support Trayvon Martin movement. Nichols said that Kobe genuinely tried to educate and better himself after all of his mistakes. I think it's okay to acknowledge that Kobe (probably) did a very horrible thing but also tried to become a better person. He was a complicated person, like many of us are.
   26. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: January 29, 2020 at 01:39 PM (#5920212)
Kobe and the other adults on that copter got to experience basically everything in life. The 13 year olds are the tragedy.
   27. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: January 29, 2020 at 02:02 PM (#5920220)
Kobe and the other adults on that copter got to experience basically everything in life. The 13 year olds are the tragedy.

Certainly the deaths of the 13 year-olds are heartbreaking. Kobe's also got 3 other daughters who will live the rest of their lives without their father. The Altobellis have two other kids, one still in HS. This kind of stuff happens more often than we'd all like to think about, but it's still terrible (not that you said it wasn't).
   28. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 29, 2020 at 04:49 PM (#5920310)
Dying is a great career move. Look at Michael Jackson.


Or Paul McCartney!
   29. The Honorable Ardo Posted: January 29, 2020 at 04:55 PM (#5920316)
Funny, I compared Kobe to John Lennon - which is eerie on many levels. Lennon died suddenly and senselessly at 40; Kobe was 41. Both pushed the boundaries of their art to new frontiers during their "primary" careers and were doing unique, fascinating things in their putative "retirements". But then you have this quote from Lennon:
I used to be cruel to my woman, and physically – any woman. I was a hitter. I couldn't express myself and I hit. I fought men and I hit women. That is why I am always on about peace.
And, towards the end, he, too, gained positive press for being a "Great Dad" to Sean.
   30. chisoxcollector Posted: January 29, 2020 at 05:50 PM (#5920338)
And, towards the end, he, too, gained positive press for being a "Great Dad" to Sean

Poor Julian.
   31. the Centaur Nipple Paradox (CoB). Posted: January 29, 2020 at 06:23 PM (#5920344)
I used to be cruel to my woman, and physically – any woman. I was a hitter. I couldn't express myself and I hit. I fought men and I hit women. That is why I am always on about peace.


Wow. I'd never read that quote ...
I'm going to have to take a while with that one, and I'm not even a huge Lennon fan ...

From the Wiki:

In a 1980 interview in Playboy with John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Lennon, when asked about the song, said that the song's lyrics came personally from his own experience abusing women in relationships in the past. He states: "It is a diary form of writing. All that 'I used to be cruel to my woman / I beat her and kept her apart from the things that she loved' was me. I used to be cruel to my woman, and physically – any woman. I was a hitter. I couldn't express myself and I hit. I fought men and I hit women. That is why I am always on about peace, you see. It is the most violent people who go for love and peace. Everything's the opposite. But I sincerely believe in love and peace. I am a violent man who has learned not to be violent and regrets his violence. I will have to be a lot older before I can face in public how I treated women as a youngster."

   32. Banta Posted: January 29, 2020 at 06:30 PM (#5920346)
What's wild in what's supposed to be "this political climate" is that there isn't a larger discussion about the rape in the mainstream traditional sources of media. Actually, that's probably expected. The balance of media throughout Kobe's life apparently yielded a positive verdict, so the coverage complies to that largely. Mass media can't handle complexity because it will alienate key demographics.

Lennon really is a pretty great comp, but it's a different era (as far as media goes, I mean...) and frankly, Kobe's sin is much more clear cut, or as well as it can be lacking a criminal conviction.

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