Open letter to the B.A.S.S. Nation

About the author

Don Barone

Don Barone

db has been in the reporting biz for over 30 years, won some Emmys and other awards, but is proudest of his four-decade marriage, his two kids and the fact he founded Tackle The Storm Foundation to help children.

Dateline:  B.A.S.S Nation Championship


In all my dealing with baseball, that’s the only stat I remember.


B.A.S.S. Nation dudes, that’s the only stat I want you to remember as well.


It’s a long forgotten stat pulled out of the grass roots history of Major League Baseball…pulled out from the minor leagues.


Darn close now to a 100 year old stat.

Some, if not most, will argue what I say next, but I think it may be THE most important stat in the history of Major League Baseball.

It was the career stat of some unknown kid in the minor league who combined with the .231 managed to hit exactly 1 Home Run.


If it was up to me, .231 would be the number I would put on EVERY B.A.S.S. Nation boat.

.231 may in fact be the ultimate number in the grass roots of any sport, and to be clear I believe the Nation to be the grass root of our sport.

This is an Open letter to all the .231’s out there, to all the B.A.S.S. Nation members, to all the 56 guys here from the Nation fishing for a chance to compete in the Bassmaster Classic.

Think, .231.

And know deep within your heart, that all things are possible.  That no matter how humble the beginning, the ending can be glorious.

The ending, can be magic.

Magic like it was for the unknown kid who hit the .231 in his minor league career.

And who grew up to become,

Babe Ruth.

“…you just call on me brother…”

Personally, the Nation Championship is one of my favorite events to cover, I’ve been to every one since I started this gig back 5 or so years ago.

And when my time is done here at B.A.S.S. the Nation Championship will be the last event I will cover, and I believe that is how it should be.

I love to cover this event because it is the only sport I have ever covered that gives the ordinary Joe’s a shot at immortality in the sport…an ordinary Joe can win this event and then go on from here and in a few months time hoist the Bassmaster Classic  Championship trophy above his head.

This isn’t some kind of elaborate Fantasy Camp here, this is Bassmaster Classic Boot Camp.

And trust me all you folks who tune into this Nation Championship thing here, this isn’t a free ride, those dudes out there competing beat a lot of other dudes to get here.

They have earned the right to be here.

And from here, all things are possible.


“…when you need a hand…”

So, check this story out, true cross my heart stuff.

Don Barone

I take that there panoramic shot that you’re looking at of the B.A.S.S. Nation laying down the rules meeting, took me four tries to get the stupid effect to work, so when it did I was pretty happy about it so I hit the button on my Galaxy phone that somehow gets the photo up on my Facebook page ( and before I get back to the hotel and in bed to watch MNF…I get this comment under the photo:

“I wish all bass fishermen had the chance just to make it one time to the national championship and know you may be one that goes to the Bassmaster Classic.”  Randy Ladner

I’m thinking that’s pretty cool so I do my Facebook due diligence and “Like” it then pour me a Sweet Tea, grab a hunk of Pepper Jack cheese and crawl back under the covers and start watching the pre-game blah blah blah waiting for the game to begin.

Several hours later I wake up to a squished mound of Pepper Jack Cheese in my bellybutton and a gymnastic thing on the tube.

Didn’t see one down of the game.

But, I remember, of all things, what the dude wrote on my Facebook page about the Nation panoramic photo so I brush off the Pepper Jack and get up and write this comment:

Randy what you wrote, think many people feel that way, doing a story now and would love to use the first sentence of what you wrote in the story for Bassmaster-dot-com...let me know if that's okay with you.

Swig of Sweet Tea.

Back to bed.

“…we all need somebody to lean on…”