September 10, 2008
As Matt Cassel's first start for the Patriots draws near, media outlets across the country are rushing to cobble together profiles of Tom Brady's replacement.
What's interesting is that some of them are relying heavily on one of Cassel's biggest athletic achievements — playing a key role on "The Earthquake Kids," the 1994 Little League team from Northridge, Calif., that made it all the way to the LLWS after an earthquake leveled many of their homes.
Our own Steve Henson of Yahoo! Sports covered that team's run for the Los Angeles Times, remembering that "MLB was on strike, so the 'Earthquake Kids' were the biggest story in LA."
Because seeing all the Caselmania brought back the memory, Steve did some digging and found the article he wrote after Northridge beat Springfield, Va., to win the U.S. title.
The subject of the lead? None other than Matt Cassel.
From the LA Times, Aug. 1994:
WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. — His team had reached a mountaintop, winning the championship of the United States, and all Matt Cassel wanted to do was roll down a hill. His jersey was untucked, his pants were stained with brick dust and his face was abeam. The Northridge first baseman had singled twice and made a sparkling defensive play in the team's 3-0 victory over Springfield, Va., Thursday before 20,000.
Yet 30 minutes after the game, he felt like any other 12-year-old boy. A steep, grass hill leads from the team dormitories to the field, the kind of hill a kid likes to roll down crazily, then crawl back up.
"I knew things were going to work out today," Cassel said, grabbing teammate Matt Cunningham around the neck and playfully wrestling him to the ground.
Steve also remembers Jack Cassel, Matt's brother and a current Astros pitcher, as "being about 14 at the time and having a girlfriend on his arm the whole time." In case you missed it, make sure to check out Nick Friedell's great post on the Cassel brothers from yesterday.