No Meeting Next Tuesday
There is no meeting on April 11th. On April 18th, our speaker will be Jun Reina, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Capitol Public Radio.
Recap of the Meeting of April 4th
Reported by Nancy Teichert
Two Homers in His First Two Games
Baseball was the theme for Tuesday’s Sons’ Day. The starting lineup included our own local favorite, national league player John Bowker, grandson of Rotarian Jack Bowker (Retired/Real Estate), who hit home runs in his first two games playing for the San Francisco Giants, the first player to ever do so in the franchise history.
Grown-up and little sons and grandsons were greeted by tables set with Easter colors and candy treats, including Cracker Jacks and peanuts. The appetizer was nachos. Main courses were hotdogs and hamburgers. Mik Miklaus (Broker/Integrity Mortgage) was the coach/organizer for Sons’ Day.
Greeting the boys were Justino Santana (Non-profit Business Development Manager/eFundraisingConnections), Bobby Reed (CEO/Capitol Tech Solutions) and his son Eli, and Surender Singal (Retired/US Army Corps of Engineers). President Linda Geery (CFO/California Lawyers Association) welcomed everyone. Photography was provided by Past President Diane Woodruff (Retired Chancellor/California Community Colleges). Brody Whitten, grandson of Mik Miklaus, led the Pledge of Allegiance. Then, John McIntyre (Chief Philanthropy Officer/Mercy Foundation) led us in a rousing rendition of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” The Thought of the Day was given by John Schiff, grandson of Past-President John Frisch (Real Estate). Jack Whitten, grandson of MIK MIKLAUS, acted as Sergeant-At-Arms. NANCY TEICHERT (Writer/Retired Journalist) was our Pulse Reporter.
On a long table at the east end of the room were some of the prize baseball collections of Mik Miklaus, Bill Shubb (Federal District Judge), and Past-President Bob Miller (First US Credit Union) including baseball cards, photographs, bobbleheads, and signed baseballs. All sons and grandsons were given baseballs autographed for them by guest speaker John Bowker.
Kerry Wood (CEO/Sacramento Region Community Foundation) was the meeting sponsor and urged Rotarians to participate in the Big Day of Giving, which is May 4th. The foundation has inspired philanthropy to the tune of $137 million dollars since 1983.
Elfrena Foord (Arata Brothers Trust) featured April birthdays, starting with the founder of Capitol Tech Solutions, President-Elect Nominee Bobby Reed, whose two sons play baseball. He and his wife, Erin, remember the day they met somewhat differently. He first saw her at a bar the night before she and her friends joined his friends for a float down the American River. She prefers to say they met on the river and not in the bar.
Jim Relles (President/Relles Florist) is another April birthday. A Rotarian for 38 years and florist for more than 50 years, Jim was accompanied by his son Colby, who is taking over the florist business founded by Jim’s father in 1946. A fun fact about Jim is that he once delivered a unique bouquet of 216 red roses with 2 white roses to an original member of the Journey band when they appeared in Sacramento.
Birthday boy Gary Bazlen (Business Development Vice President/Ampac USA) is the former operator of Nicholas Optical. He retired from his 78-year-old business in 2017, and worked for three years at the Sugar Bowl ski area. A little-known fact about Gary is that he and his wife, and his parents, and his son, all got engaged to be married at Vic’s Ice Cream shop.
During club announcements, Eli Reed, son of BOBBY REED, reminded members that there are still foursome golf teams openings and sponsorships available for the upcoming Golf 4 Kids tournament on May 12th, with a social event and auction afterward at Fairytale Town. “Remember, it is for the kids,” said Eli.
President Linda urged members to participate in Rotary’s District Assembly on April 22 at Elk Grove High School.
Former major league player John Bowker said his family was surprised when he agreed to speak to the club because he is shy. So, his sister, Michelle Bowker, a television sports producer, interviewed her sportsman brother. A graduate of Rio Americano High School, John went on to play all or parts of parts six seasons with the San Francisco Giants, Pittsburg Pirates, and Philadelphia Phillies, and then in the Nippon Professional Baseball in Japan for the Yomiuri Giants and Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles. He also played in Mexico before finishing his playing career with the Sacramento River Cats. He’s now living in Monterey and coaching the Carmel High School baseball team.
Michelle Bowker recalled how, when her big brother was growing up, he would hit tennis balls over his home, then his neighbor’s house, and then a third house from their home. Arden Park neighbors returned buckets of balls.
“I always loved pretty much every sport,” said John. “I always felt like baseball was a little special. There’s nothing like hitting the sweet spot.”
Bowker was playing with a summer league in high school when a coach for Long Beach State spotted him and gave him a tryout. His father, Brite Bowker, got nervous watching him at bat and would look away, and then ask how he played.
The Giants drafted John in 2004, during his junior year at Long Beach. “No way! I was super excited,” he said. “I just love baseball.”
Michelle said that after being drafted by the Giants, her brother had to work his way up through the minor leagues before making his major league debut. While playing in AA leagues, Bowker recalled, he ate grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner and lived with ten people in a three-bedroom apartment.
One day in early April of 2008, he was told to be at the stadium in Fresno, where he was playing for the Giants’ AAA farm team, by 7 a.m. He thought the coach wanted him to work on his swing, with which he’d been struggling a bit. Instead, he found a car waiting to take him to San Francisco to join the Giants. Michelle said her brother played in 111 of 162 games that season, and in the offseason worked out and practiced. Regardless, in 2009, John said, he found himself back in AAA ball in Fresno. He was called back up in early July, and arrived at AT&T Park to find his name in the Giants’ starting lineup in left field.
Past President Walter Dahl (Partner/Dahl Law) ended the meeting with the Smile for the Day. He said he asked Bowker how professional players keep in touch. “We touch base from time to time,” Dahl said.
(Photos from the April 4th Meeting, courtesy of Past-President Diane Woodruff)