Greetings from Buffalo on Opening Day 2009 for the Pawtucket Red Sox and welcome to the first entry on my new blog “Heard it from Hoard.”
I’m PawSox broadcaster Dan Hoard and my plan is give you an insider’s look at the team throughout the 2009 season. Feel free to bookmark this and check out the blog on a regular basis (abundant hits will make me look good).
I’m writing this morning from the team hotel in Buffalo on what looks like a surprisingly nice day for baseball. I grew up about 90 miles south of here in Jamestown, NY and did not have high hopes for this season-opening 4-game series against the Bisons. In fact, I set the over/under at being able to get in 2 out of the 4 games while spending the rest of my time wolfing down chicken wings.
Well, I’m happy to say I was wrong. The forecast for opening day is 46 degrees and partly sunny, and there’s no rain (or snow) expected for the next 4 days. I couldn’t be happier unless someone discovered the cure to male-pattern baldness.
Getting in all 4 games would be a minor miracle. The last time the PawSox opened the season in Buffalo was 2003. The Bisons won the first game 10-8 on a 29 degree day with sleet falling. Buffalo’s next 6 home games that year were postponed.
The PawSox will send newcomer Enrique Gonzalez to the mound. He’s pitched in the majors for Arizona and San Diego and appeared in the World Baseball Classic this year for Venezuela. He’ll be opposed by one of the top prospects in the NY Mets organization — 22-year-old lefty Jon Niese.
The team traveled to Buffalo last night after enjoying the annual PawSox Welcome Home Luncheon, sponsored by the Northern Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce. We took a Jet Blue flight to Buffalo which worked out nicely since there are little TV screens on the back of every seat and it allowed the players and coaches to watch the Red Sox/Rays game. Every few minutes you would hear someone say “this guy is terrible” after observing one of the balls or stikes called by the home plate umpire.
This will be my 4th year behind the mic on the PawSox radio network and at the risk of jinxing the team, Pawtucket is 3-0 on opening day during my tenure. All 3 games have featured something special.
2006 — the PawSox scored the winning run in the bottom of the 9th.
2007 — Brandon Moss hit a grand slam in his first Triple-A at-bat.
2008 — former Cy Young award winning Bartolo Colon got the start for Pawtucket and combined with 3 relievers on a 1-hit shutout.
I can’t wait to see what happens today.
I hope you’ll join Steve Hyder and me for the call. Pregame coverage begins at 2:50, with the first pitch set for 3:05.
I’d love to hear from you. The address is firstname.lastname@example.org.