Bewitching and pitching

October means pumpkins, Halloween and the World Series.

This week’s American Legion Tango Alpha Lima podcast touches all those bases with scary stories, the details of co-host Ashley Gorbulja’s Halloween costumes (yes, plural) and a special guest who played American Legion Baseball and Major League Baseball.

Steve Woodard, who played for American Legion Post 52 in Hartselle, Ala., discusses his experience in Legion ball, the major leagues and the broadcast booth.

“We played a lot of games and it was very competitive,” he says. “If you pay attention to it (American Legion Baseball) and you watch it, it’s more of a team game. That goes back to the military guys being a team. It’s a team effort. American Legion is more of a team game than the others.”

From 1997 through 2003, he pitched for Milwaukee, Cleveland, Texas and Boston in MLB. Now, he serves as a television analyst at ESPN, including covering the American Legion World Series.

Woodard recalls his major league debut when he was the starting pitcher versus one of his childhood idols, Roger Clemens. “It was one of those historic moments,” he says, noting he set a major league record for a game score by a debuting pitcher. Over eight innings, Woodard struck out 12 while only giving up one hit and a walk. “I ended up beating Roger Clemens, 1-0, in my debut. I guess it was all downhill from there.”

Later this week, the 2022 American Legion World Series champions, Post 70 from Troy, Ala., will be at the World Series. The team will participate in a Play Ball event before being guests at Game 2 between Houston and Philadelphia. Both teams have a strong contingent of former American Legion Baseball players like Bryce Harper, Justin Verlander and others.

“I love American Legion Baseball,” Woodard says. “I wouldn’t be where I am at today, never would have had a chance to play in the big leagues. I owe a lot to American Legion Baseball.”

Check out this week’s podcast to soak in all these nuggets and more. It’s among more than 150 Tango Alpha Lima episodes available in both audio and video formats here. You can also download episodes on iTunes, Google Play or other major podcast-hosting sites. The video version is available at the Legion’s YouTube channel.