Former Tech star Matt Murton Safe in Japan

March 12, 2011

By Matt Winkeljohn
Sting Daily

Matt Murton is in Japan, and although I was unable to reach him by phone or e-mail Friday in the wake of the earthquake and tsunami that rocked that nation, Georgia Tech coach Danny Hall tweeted that the former Yellow Jacket baseball star and his family are safe.

I will keep trying to reach Murton, who last season set a Nippon Professional Baseball record by registering 214 hits in a season (in 144 games) while playing for the Hanshin Tigers. That broke the mark of Ichiro Suzuki.

Interestingly, the last time Japan was hit by a natural disaster of grand scale, it was the Great Hanshin earthquake, or Kobe earthquake, of Jan. 1995.

At that time, Murton, now 29, was in middle school and still a few years away from beginning his career at Tech, which ended in 2003.

If you have questions you’d like me to ask Matt in the event I reach him, send them to stingdaily@gmail.com.

There was considerable thought given to writing about Iman Shumpert today, but given the Jackets’ early exit from the ACC tournament, rampant curiosity surrounding the basketball program, I decided to hold off. I don’t think he’d have much to offer right about now.

A better idea might be to try and speak with Iman a little down the road on his thought process about possibly leaving Tech a year before his eligibility expires.

There is enough going on with the Jackets to put together a fine slate of stories next week as the women’s basketball team will find out Monday where it is going and who it will play in their fifth straight NCAA tournament bid.

Also, softball coach Sharon Perkins is closing in on 200 career wins, the baseball team opened ACC play Friday with the first game in a three-game series with Maryland, at home.

I’m going to try something different soon, go a little Charlie Sheen on this.

Typically, Jon Cooper and I gather material for most Sting Daily stories by visiting campus for interviews, attending some but not all games, and doing phone interviews.

Sometimes, there is a lot going on in Tech athletics. Sometimes, there is not.

There is always more going on – even in the dead of summer before football practice begins – than what you see in Sting Daily or anywhere else. Usually, however, it takes going after it to write about it. Jon and I don’t have the day-in and day-out freedom of schedule to do that. We’re busy in other ways.

The NBA postseason, for example, is about to take a little more of my time, and Jon is ramping up with the Atlanta Braves, MLB and other duties.

But I’ve wondered recently just how different the flow of information and story ideas might be if I were omnipresent on The Flats.

So somewhere in the next two weeks, I’m going to plan to spend an entire business day (say from about 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.) in the Athletic Association offices. Generally, I’m never around more than 20 minutes at a time anywhere from one to three times a week – not including games.

And I’m going to write about much of what I come across. Some of that may be in story form, most is likely to be in a kind of notes and quotes format.

I’m not going to surprise anybody. I won’t talk to everybody that day.

But I’ll bop around, speak with some coaches, some athletes, some administrators, perhaps go to a practice or two, or a game.

There will be no agenda going in, but if you have some ideas or specific questions, send them to stingdaily@gmail.com.

No promises, but let’s see what happens.

Remember, stingdaily@gmail.com.

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