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Interview With Literacy Advance's Reader Cup Host Larry Dierker

A week from today, February 27, Larry Dierker and friends will be hitting the BlackHorse Golf Club for the 2012 Literacy Advance's Reader Cup - Larry Dierker Celebrity Golf Tournament.

The tournament benefits the non-profit organization Literacy Advance of Houston which "transforms lives and communities through the doorway of literacy." You wouldn't think it, but there are thousands of adults who are illiterate. As Larry mentions in the interview below, think about the impact that would have on you: No reading box scores, game recaps, scouting reports or even this site, let alone doing everything else in your everyday life. Through tutors, like Larry, Literacy Advance of Houston has set out to address this solvable issue.

Larry took some time out of his busy schedule to answer some questions for us about the golf tournament, the Astros and who he's keeping his eye on. But before we get to that, being a numbers blog and all, lets look at some numbers from Literacy Advance for 2010:

  • 3,415 individuals impacted
  • 747 literacy classes offered
  • Nearly 43,300 learning hours provided by volunteer tutors
  • Over 360 new tutors trained
  • 18 active partner sites
  • 20 alumni activities held
If you're looking for an excuse to take a day off and hit the golf course with the likes of: Bob Allen, Kevin Bass, Bill Brown, David Clyde, Casey Curry, Bill Dawley, Jim Deshaies, Larry Dierker, Dave Elmendorf, Bubba Gilligan, Jacob Green, Jason Grimsley, Kenny Houston, Charles Justiz, Gerald McNeil, Norm Miller, Dan Pastorini, Doug Pike, Shane Reynolds, Dayna Steele and Ellis Wyms, check out for registration information.

If you can't get the time off, or like me live out of state, but still want to contribute be sure to check out the exclusive golf shirt inspired by Larry's love of the Hawaiian shirt:

Interview after the jump.

The Crawfish Boxes: What has the new ownership talked to you about in regards to your involvement with organization going forward?

Larry Dierker: I have had several discussions with the new Astros management team about doing various things this year from visiting spring training to look at pitchers and host fan groups, to broadcasting games. Nothing has been decided yet.

TCB: What are some of the positive and negative effects you are seeing with all the changes going on through out the Astros organization?

Dierker: Jim Crane will not be like Drayton in the sense that he will work behind the scenes and allow his management team to make decisions. He will work personally, but behind the scenes, with sponsors and season ticket holders, but will not be as visible as Drayton.

The ownership change is already breathing new life into the organization. They are reviewing everything from the logo and uniforms to the "fan experience" at Minute Maid. As far as the baseball team goes, there will be added emphasis on the farm system. Anytime you make decisions quickly, you are bound to make some mistakes. However, when you make decisions slowly, you can make mistakes too. I believe Jeff Luhnow will continue to move quickly and assertively to put his print on the team. The overall plan is to build from within at first. The biggest mistake is to quit following the original plan if parts of it fail in the short term.

TCB: In your book, you said that while you were manager, your catcher would often want to walk the No. 8 hitter in order to pitch to the pitcher, and you usually overrode him in issuing the walk. can you explain how you feel about issuing intentional walks?

Dierker: I did not like to walk batters intentionally as a pitcher. My feeling is that if you have good control, you can pitch "around" the strike zone and oftentimes get the hitter to hit a pitch that is not a strike and get him out. I always had fewer intentional walks than any other manager.

TCB: What Astros player will you be keeping your eye on for the 2012 season and why?

Dierker: I will be keeping an eye on the catcher situation. I really like Jason Castro in 2010, but I also like Chris Snyder and Humberto Quintero. Most teams only carry two catchers and because the Astros have three legitimate big league catchers, they may have a trading chip. My guess is that Castro will start at AAA because he is coming back from an injury.

TCB: How many eagles, birdies and hole in ones can we expect from you on the 27th of February and have you ever hit a hole in one before?

Dierker: Using a scramble format, there will be lots of birdies and a few eagles at the LAH tournament. I have made two hole-in-ones, but have not made one in 35 years. I’m due!

TCB: Who's the golfer you need to keep your eye on at the the Literacy Advance's Reader Cup golf event?

Dierker: Jack Lightfoot is the player to watch. He’s a sandbagger.

TCB: Why did you get involved with Literacy Advance of Houston?

Dierker: I volunteered to tutor at LAH because I come from a family of teachers and it made me sad to find out that we have hundreds of thousands of adults in Houston who can’t read and write. Think about what your life would be like if you couldn’t.

TCB: What are some of the experiences one can expect participating in this event?

Dierker: At our tournament you can expect to have a good time because Blackhorse is a great course. We will have good meals, good raffle and auction items. And I only invite the most personable celebrities.

TCB: Thank you for your time and good luck on the golf course.