Porter returns favor, congratulates Parcells

HOUSTON -- One of the first people to send a message to Bo Porter to congratulate him for getting the managerial job in Houston last year was former NFL coach Bill Parcells. So when Parcells found out last weekend he was being inducted in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Porter was glad to be able to congratulate him, too.

The two have more in common than their football backgrounds (Porter played football at the University of Iowa). They met in Jupiter, Fla., when Parcells would come to Spring Training to spend time with close friend, former Cardinals manager Tony La Russa. Porter was with the Marlins, who share the same facility as the Cardinals.

"He's a great mentor and I was extremely happy for him and he was extremely happy for me," Porter said. "He's going to do everything he can to support me."

Porter, who leaves for Kissimmee, Fla., on Wednesday, plans to have dinner with Parcells on Friday night before playing a round of golf on Saturday. He said Parcells may just be a frequent visitor to Osceola County Stadium this spring.

"Now that Tony is retired, I guess he figured he would join Bo in Spring Training," Porter said. "He loves to be around the game. We would talk behind the cage when he could come to the Cardinals' facility, and he was one of those guys that was in my ear, telling me [becoming a manager] was something I can do. When I got the opportunity, he was one of the first people to congratulate me. It's an honor to have him as a friend and a mentor."