Chip Ambres Shuffles Off To Buffalo
Following Tuesday’s 2-1 win over the Durham Bulls, manager Ron Johnson called Chip Ambres into his office and informed him that he had been traded to the New York Mets. He’ll report to their Triple-A team in Buffalo where, oddly enough, Chip will face the Durham Bulls again on Friday night in his first game with the Bisons (I can imagine their guys seeing him before the game and saying, “didn’t we just see you with Pawtucket?”).
With the promotion of Aaron Bates from Portland and the activation of Jonathan Van Every off of the DL, the PawSox have an abundance of outfielders. I’m guessing that Boston traded Chip as something of a favor to him since his playing time was likely to suffer with the PawSox. He’s sure to play every day with Buffalo and is more likely to advance to the big leagues with the Mets this year than the Red Sox.
Still, trust me when I tell you that Chip will be missed.
The 29-year-old outfielder wasn’t having a monster year with a .259 average, 3 HR, and 18 RBI, but Chip is a consummate pro who set a great example for the younger players. He’s in the mold of former PawSox Joe McEwing, Bobby Scales, and Joe Thurston as a veteran who showed up every day with a great attitude and was a pleasure to be around.
Ironically, Chip played a big role in last night’s broadcast. He was interviewed on the pre-game show by teammate Jeff Natale for this week’s segment of “At Bat With Nat,” and he was also the subject of my 5th inning “Fantastic Fun Fact.”
The “FFF” involved his first major league call-up with the Kansas City Royals in 2005. Chip’s first two big league games were in Cleveland and his parents weren’t able to attend, but when the Royals returned home, his mom and dad were able to make the trip from Texas.
According to Chip’s dad Raymond, it took awhile for the reality of having a son in the big leagues to sink in. It didn’t really hit him when Chip ran on to the field or when he stepped to the plate. He knew his son was a major leaguer when he went to the concession stand and a beer was $8 bucks.
I’m guessing it was the best $8 beer his dad has ever had.
I look forward to seeing Chip again when Buffalo comes to McCoy Stadium on July 9th.
Unless, of course, he’s with the Mets by then.
* * * * *
Did you happen to see what the Tampa Bay Rays did a couple of days ago to fire up the troops? They removed the back hair of bullpen coach Bobby Ramos.
That brings to mind a former major league catcher named Mike Maksudian.
Maksudian was famous for eating insects for money in the bullpen, but I also witnessed him getting shaved from head-to-toe on a moving bus.
It was with Syracuse in 1991, and Maksudian told his teammates that he would subject himself to their razors for $250.
Former American League Cy Young Award winner Willie Hernandez immediately threw in the first $100 and the pot reached $250 in no time.
Sure enough, as the bus rolled down the highway, the players took turns shaving their formerly furry teammate. Every time the bus would hit a bump, Maksudian would wince in pain and 25 guys would erupt in laughter.
Mike only had one stipulation – that they didn’t shave his eyebrows. Maksudian said he didn’t want to scare his kids.
That’s right – he ate insects in the bullpen and got a full-body shave on a moving bus, but was concerned that his kids would be traumatized if he didn’t have eyebrows.
Sometimes you can’t make this stuff up.
* * * * *
I’m looking forward to a rare day off on Wednesday before heading to Syracuse. The handsome lad will probably run me into the ground.
Talk to you Thursday at 4:45 from Syracuse.
I’d love to hear from you. The address is email@example.com.