**First off, click on the following link to a sports reporter's blog that has an audio clip embedded of an interview with another Cannon Falls player...a 37-year old slugger on the Bears' amateur team.Robert Burr: The comeback kid
The link is: Nilsson's Notebook
By: Ryan Nilsson, The Republican Eagle (out of Red Wing, MN)
At 41 years of age, Robert Burr credits his experience and accumulated knowledge for the success he’s had with Cannon Falls this season after a one-year retirement.
However, baseball acumen alone cannot explain Burr’s performance Aug. 7 in the Region 3C playoffs.
Burr is a carpenter at the Flint Hills Resources’ Pine Bend Refinery in Rosemount, Minn., and arrived at the ballpark exhausted.
“He walked in and he just said, ‘My body feels like crap,’” Bears catcher Taylor Pagel said.
In his first start of the year Burr proceeded to pitch into the 10th inning against St. Patrick, exceeding his previous longest outing by four innings.
Burr allowed two runs — the Irish scored as a result of a wild pitch and an error — and he said he threw 126 pitches.
“I hate losing,” Burr said. “I do everything in my power to win. I don’t care. I hate losing.”
“Even if I’m not feeling good or pitching that great I usually find a way to correct things or make things good enough that I keep my team in the game,” he said.
The Bears went on to win the game 3-2 in 13 innings. Cannon Falls, which entered the playoffs as the lowest seed, won four consecutive one-run games to advance to the Class C state tournament as the region’s top seed.
It plays Brainerd at 1:30 p.m. Sunday in Gaylord.
“He gives every last bit of 100 percent,” said Burr’s brother and teammate, Rich. “He doesn’t give up. He goes out there and he’ll do all he can for as long as he can.”
Burr has been an integral member of the Bears’ postseason staff. He has appeared in three games, totaling 18 innings and 12 strikeouts. Burr has compiled a 1.00 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP.
His teammates tell stories of his determination.
In 2000, Burr tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. His doctor informed him he couldn’t do any further damage so Burr continued to pitch.
Rich Burr started to chuckle as he recalled what happened when his brother had to run to first base on the bad knee for a cover play.
He caught the ball from the first baseman, stepped on the bag and collapsed to the ground because his knee gave out.
“You come out from the dugout to go talk to him to maybe switch it up on the mound,” Rich Burr said. “He yells at the person, ‘Get back in the dugout. I’m not going anywhere.’”
The Bears were revived in 1986 and Burr joined the team a year later. He has attempted to step aside several times, but each year he rejoined the team a few games into the season. He retired after the 2007 season to spend more time with his three children.
It turned into a sabbatical.
Rich Burr mentioned that the Bears could always use pitchers and when Burr resumed throwing he said his arm felt good. One month into the season he came out of retirement again.
“It’s something in a guy’s blood,” Burr said of baseball. “You spend that many years and that many days on the ball field with a lot of guys that are a lot of fun. Especially when you get to play with your brothers and good friends. I’ve always enjoyed playing baseball. It’s a tough game to try to quit.”
Burr throws four pitches — fastball, curveball, changeup and slider — on a regular basis and uses a screwball on occasion. He relies heavily on changing speeds.
“I never throw the same pitch twice in a row the same speed,” Burr said. “I may throw a curveball twice in a row, but it’s not gonna be the same curveball twice in a row.”
His assortment of pitches can confound hitters and catchers alike. Earlier this year Pagel couldn’t determine which pitch Burr wanted to throw.
“Gave Bert fastball,” Pagel said. “Nope. Didn’t want fastball. It was one of the times when I couldn’t figure him out. Curveball? Nope. Didn’t want curveball. Slider? Nope. Didn’t want slider. Changeup? Nope.
“The batter calls time. He had shook five or six times and the batter said, ‘He can’t have that many pitches.’ I said, ‘It’s Bert.’ He’s like, ‘Yeah, you’re right. He does have that many pitches.’”
As for next season, Burr was noncommittal.
“I’ll worry about it next year,” he said.**Get your Jaguars Discount Card!
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