A couple of months ago, Aaron Bates and Bubba Bell were hanging out with Bubba’s host family in Portland when somebody tossed out the following question: If you could trade places with anyone in history, who would it be?
Bates came up with his answer immediately – Michael Jackson in the mid-80’s.
Needless to say, Bates and Bell were recalling that discussion on Friday after learning about Jackson’s death.
Bates says he picked Jackson in the mid-80’s because at that point, the King of Pop was at the peak of his career and his personal life seemed eccentric but not creepy. Aaron figured it must have been incredible to sing and dance in front of 100,000 adoring fans and have young ladies faint at the mere sight of you.
As a personal tribute to Jackson, Bates plans to wear one glove while playing first base.
I never made it to a Michael Jackson concert, but I did see him perform live at halftime of Super Bowl XXVII between the Dallas Cowboys and Buffalo Bills at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.
I was covering the Bills at the time for WTVH-TV in Syracuse, NY and I must admit it was pretty cool. The game was a clunker as the Cowboys beat the Bills 52-17, but Jackson’s performance was amazing. You can see it here.
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Speaking of concerts, a day game on Thursday in Norfolk gave Paul McAnulty, Clay Buchholz, John Otness, and trainer Greg Barajas the opportunity to attend a Kenny Chesney concert that night at the Virginia Beach Amphitheater. Paul has a connection in the concert promotion business and was able to score prime tickets in the third row in front of the stage. Knowing that manager Ron Johnson is a huge fan of country music in general and Chesney in particular, the guys couldn’t resist a little taunting – they took photos of Chesney in action and their proximity to the stage and e-mailed them to RJ immediately.
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Norfolk is one of several minor league teams that has kids run on to the field as the player’s take their positions before the national anthem. While the anthem is played, a kid stands next to each of the nine players on the field.
The Albuquerque Isotopes do the same thing, but the tradition got an unexpected twist during Manny Ramirez’s recent rehab stint. Before Manny’s 2nd game with the Isotopes, the kids who were supposed to stand next to the second baseman, third baseman, shortstop, and right fielder blew off their guys to stand next to Manny in left field.
It sure doesn’t seem like kids are bothered by Manny’s use of steroids does it?
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I hope you had the opportunity to listen to “PawSox Insider” on Saturday afternoon when we spoke with former PawSox standout Bobby Scales.
Bobby made his major league debut with the Chicago Cubs this year after 11 years and 3,303 at-bats in the minor leagues. Scales recently returned to Triple-A Iowa, but did well enough with the Cubs that he is likely to return to Chicago in September if not sooner.
Hyder and I were thrilled when Bobby got promoted to the big leagues and both reached out to congratulate him at the time. We were not the only ones to do so.
“I had to get a new cell phone,” Scales told us. “There were so many text messages and phone calls that it literally fried my phone. You try to be a nice guy and treat people the right way, but I had no idea so many people liked me and respected me. No words can describe how much that meant to me.”
I look forward to sending a text to his new phone when he returns to the Cubbies.
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ESPN The Magazine recently listed the top selling jerseys in minor league baseball and four International League teams made the Top 10: the Durham Bulls, Toledo Mud Hens, Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs, and . . . Pawtucket Red Sox.
Congrats to the PawSox Director of Merchandising Eric Petterson on a job well done.
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It’s a Clay Buchholz night at McCoy Stadium as the PawSox open a 6-game homestand against Syracuse and Scranton/WB. If you can’t make it out to the games on Saturday or Sunday, we’ll have TV coverage throughout Rhode Island on Cox Cable. I’ll join Bob Montgomery for the call beginning at 6:00 on Saturday and 1:00 on Sunday.
I’d love to hear from you. The address is firstname.lastname@example.org.