Jordan Anstandig has played a lot of baseball in his young life. He now has a grand total of two home runs.
The first came when he was 12 or 13, he recalls, playing summer ball in a Detroit-area tournament for the West Oakland Warriors.
He had to wait nearly a decade for his second HR. It happened March 30.
The 21-year-old Alma College junior blasted a shot over the tall wooden wall in rightfield at Klenk Park, Alma’s home field, to tie a game against Albion 1-1 in the first inning. Alma went on to win 5-2.
“It was a 2-0 count and the pitch was a fastball, a little up,” Anstandig said. “I started sprinting when I hit the ball because I thought I might be legging out a triple. When I saw the first-base umpire put his arms up and give the home run sign, I went into shock.”
Anstandig regained his composure by the time he got to home plate — somewhat.
“I was so excited,” he said. “I screamed at our dugout, ‘Let’s go!’”
Anstandig doesn’t hit home runs by design. The 5-foot-7, 160-pound left-handed batter is a contact hitter who puts the ball in play.
“I swung a little harder than usual on the home run because it was a 2-0 pitch and the pitcher had to throw a strike, but it was my usual swing,” he said.
Anstandig has taken over the starting leftfield spot for the Scots (13-9) in his first season there. He was batting .258 with 15 runs scored, 10 RBIs and three stolen bases as of Sunday.
He went to Saginaw Valley State University for two years after an outstanding athletic career at Walled Lake Northern High School, where he earned nine letters in baseball, football and snowboarding.
Frustrated because of a lack of playing time on the Saginaw Valley baseball team, he was looking to transfer when a coach on his Michigan Area Braves summer baseball team informed him that Alma was looking for a player like him.
After some emails with Alma coach Jake Sabol and a visit, Anstandig made the move.
In addition to getting the playing time he wanted, Anstandig is happy about his progress academically.
He’s in Alma’s Integrative Physiology and Health Science Department as he pursues a career as a strength and conditioning coach.
Hazel Park Memories
Gordon Waterstone hasn’t worked at Hazel Park Raceway since 1996. But the track’s abrupt closing April 5 still hit him hard.
He remembers going there to watch races with his father before he was a teenager, and later with Oak Park High School friends before he became the track’s assistant public relations director in 1979.
After two years in that role, Waterstone served as public relations director until 1996. Besides being the track’s publicist, he also was in charge of marketing and simulcasting.
Some of his co-workers at Hazel Park were still employed there when they got the word of the struggling track’s closure and plans to sell the property even though opening day for the racing season was supposed to be May 4.
Now living in Lexington, Ky., and working as the associate editor of a Lexington-based harness racing industry magazine, Waterstone made it a point many times to drop by Hazel Park when he was in town visiting family and friends.
“The last time I visited Hazel Park was in January,” he said. “I was in town (the last weekend in March). I didn’t go there. I wish I did.”
With the closing of Hazel Park, which opened in 1949 at the southwest corner of 10 Mile and Dequindre, Michigan now has only one horse racing venue, Northville Downs.
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