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Stewart makes the call

Dontrelle got a call from his boyhood hero.

Marlins pitcher Dontrelle Willis grew up idolizing Dave Stewart, a 20-game winner for four straight years with the Oakland A's and the Most Valuable Player of the 1989 World Series.

So when Stewart left a message two weeks ago asking Willis to give him a call, well, it was almost too much for him to handle.

"I don't think he can ever realize how much he meant to me and my family, but you don't just call your hero. You don't just call Michael Jordan,'' said Willis (5-1), who leads the league in victories and starts tonight at Dolphin Stadium against San Diego's Greg Maddux.

Told about Willis' reluctance, Stewart said quietly: "I wish he'd get over that.''

But Stewart, 50, understands. Like Willis, he was an African-American kid who grew up in Oakland, Calif. One of his childhood idols was Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Sandy Koufax, whom Stewart said he was fortunate enough to talk to as a young pitcher coming up through the Dodgers organization.

If you are interested, read the whole thing.  It is only a good thing that a fellow Black Ace is looking to establish a dialogue with Willis.  It would give him someone to talk to who understands where he is from and what he is going through.

It is true that Stewart is now an agent, but I don't think there is ulterior motive in him calling.  I think Stewart is just a guy from the old neighborhood who has been there before and wants to converse with the one who is doing it now.

Give him call Dontrelle, you will be glad you did.