“Yeah, I was in the show. I was in the show for 21 days once – the 21 greatest days of my life. You know, you never handle your luggage in the show, somebody else carries your bags. It was great. You hit white balls for batting practice, the ballparks are like cathedrals, the hotels all have room service, and the women all have long legs and brains” – Crash Davis.
After a fill-in stint with the Cincinnati Reds last weekend, I can understand how Kevin Costner’s character felt in Bull Durham. When you’re an announcer in “the show”, somebody else carries and sets up your broadcasting equipment, the radio booths are like luxury boxes, and the hotels not only have room service, but it’s available 24 hours a day.
By the way, when he learned that I had called three major league games over the weekend, PawSox outfielder Sean “Spike” Danielson gave me a smile and said, “Are you like, a prospect or something?”
I’d certainly like to think so Spike.
Pawtucket isn’t the big leagues, but it’s a close as it gets in Triple-A. The crowds are great, the entire operation is first-class, and I couldn’t work for better people than Ben Mondor, Mike Tamburro, and Lou Schwechheimer.
As much as I enjoyed last weekend in Pittsburgh, the last two nights at McCoy Stadium have been fantastic.
On Monday, it was great to see Woonsocket native Rocco Baldelli return to McCoy Stadium for the first time since he was a high school senior, and help the PawSox beat Toledo 2-1.
And on Tuesday, watching Daisuke Matsuzaka wiggle out of a bases-loaded, nobody-out jam (doesn’t he always?) in the 2nd inning, was the highlight of a 4-0 win over the Mud Hens.
The shutout was Pawtucket’s 6th in the first 24 games of the season (the PawSox had a total of 5 last year) and the pitching staff has has given up 1 run in its last 29 innings.
The team is 14-10 despite having scored the second-fewest runs in the league, and the biggest reason is the bullpen.
Here are some mind-blowing numbers:
The PawSox “pen pals” have a 2.14 ERA (105 IP, 71 H, 25 ER, 96 K).
Throw out the 2 runs allowed by backup catcher Carlos Maldonado in a 15-inning game on April 12th, and the bullpen ERA drops to 1.97.
Daniel Bard is getting most of the hype — thanks to 25 strikeouts in 14.2 IP (that’s 15.3 per 9 innings).
But Fernando Cabrera hasn’t given up a run in his last 10 appearances, covering 15.2 innings.
Jose Vaquedano has a 1.35 ERA, and Marcus McBeth has a 1.42 ERA.
A good bullpen makes a manager look smart, and right now RJ is looking like Einstein.
With slightly better hair.
* * * * *
Tuesday night on “Stump Steve” we played “PawSox Who Am I?” Here were the clues:
1. I was the Sporting News American League Rookie of the Year in 1981 (Steve incorrectly guessed Mike Greenwell).
2. I was an American League All-Star twice in the 1980’s (incorrectly guessed Todd Benzinger).
3. I played for 3 major league teams — the Red Sox, Astros, and Cardinals (no guess).
4. I am the manager of the Independent Worcester Tornadoes (no guess).
5. I went 1-for-3 in the longest game in baseball history (incorrectly guessed Marty Barrett).
The correct answer was Rich Gedman. After a blazing 7-2 start, Hydes falls to 8-10 this season.
* * * * *
I can’t tell you how excited I was to see that former Pawtucket standout Bobby Scales made his major league debut on Tuesday for the Chicago Cubs. It came after 10 years, 1,013 games, and 3,303 at-bats in the minors.
Bobby went 1-for-4 and scored a run in his first big league game. You can read all about it and see the highlight of his first major league hit here.
* * * * *
We have a good pitching matchup to look forward to on Wednesday as Michael Bowden squares off against 2-time National League All-Star Dontrelle Willis. If you can’t make it to McCoy, I hope you’ll join for the call on the PawSox radio network or PawSox.com. Pregame coverage begins at 6:00.
I’d love to hear from you. The address is firstname.lastname@example.org.