While Notre Dame will not have any shortage of supporters when the Irish go after their first national football title since 1988 in the BCS Championship game January 7, it seems unlikely anyone will be more amped than Pat Salvi.
In case the name escapes, Salvi is the successful Chicago attorney who along with his wife Lindy owns both the American Association team in Gary, IN and the Schaumburg (IL) Boomers of the Frontier League.
Oh, yes, three generations of Salvi family members have been on or involved with the Fighting Irish gridiron glory, with Pat’s involvements including currently serving as chairman of the Law School Advisory Council.
But the capper is that two of Pat and Lindy’s sons are seniors on this year’s unbeaten team. Chris, who wears number 24, is a 5-foot-10 hustle guy who finally got a scholarship this season and will be on the front line when Notre Dame lines up to start the 60-minute battle against Alabama since he is a two-way regular on special teams. Will Salvi walked on just this season, but will be there wearing his number 36 uniform after serving as a scout team corner this season.
“I’m still pinching myself”, Pat Salvi told me recently, and the pride showed when he reminded that he had been to 37 of Chris’s 38 games since the safety transferred from Butler University three years ago. Each player gets six tickets for the BCS Championship, but Salvi indicated their other three sons plus an assortment of aunts and uncles will swell the family turnout to about 20 people.
Who knows what additional thrills may come from this final game, but Pat Salvi, who wrestled with my question about his biggest Irish thrill, knows Chris Salvi already has accounted for 17 tackles in his career, sprung George Atkinson III for an 88-yard kickoff return touchdown with a key block against Michigan State in 2011 and was both game day captain and winner of the game ball against Navy that same season.
Pat Salvi has passion for his baseball teams, too, including a collegiate team in Lynn, MA. “I tell Miles (Wolff, the American Association commissioner) and Bill Lee (Frontier League boss) to be more pro-active in improving the state of Independent Baseball,” he said. “We need a much higher level of criteria for ownership—credibility to get in and stay in” as well as being certain the teams are “strongly capitalized. Many (major league baseball-affiliated) markets don’t do as well as a number of Independent teams, but are worth more. Until we do this (improved criteria) the value will be diminished.”
This is an excerpt from the column Bob Wirz writes year round on Independent Baseball. Fans may subscribe at www.WirzandAssociates.com, enjoy his blog, www.IndyBaseballChatter.com, or comment to RWirz@aol.com. The author has 16 years of major league baseball public relations experience with Kansas City and as spokesman for two Commissioners and lives in Stratford, CT.)