When the PawSox arrived at Gwinnett Stadium on Sunday morning, they were greeted by an unusual request.
“Will you sign my car?”
The question came from Sox fanatic Neil “Mr. Boston” Bonney, who was born in Maine but currently lives in Athens, GA.
(photos courtesy of Tripp Miller)
One look at his 1996 Volkswagen and it’s easy to understand where “Mr. Boston” got his nickname.
His Georgia license plate reads “Fenway 2,” and the car includes several Red Sox bumper stickers.
But what really makes his ride unique are the autographs – signed with a silver sharpie on a black VW Jetta.
The hood of the car was signed by all of the players and coaches from the Red Sox Single-A affiliate in Greenville, SC (including star prospect Casey Kelly). After everybody signed, Bonney added a layer of Clear Coat to prevent the signatures from fading and scratching.
Neil has been asking the PawSox players and coaches to sign the back of the car, but is only having moderate success. It would appear that by the time some players get to Triple-A, it’s not considered “cool” to sign a dude’s car. Manager Ron Johnson, on the other hand, was happy to oblige.
Believe it or not, this isn’t the first time that Neil has used his car as a canvas. In 2000, he had the Georgia Bulldogs SEC championship football team sign his white Chrysler LeBaron.
He gave that car to a family member. And promises that the Jetta will never wind up on eBay.
“Sign my car” is one of the most unusual autograph requests I’ve seen, but I know somebody who can top it.
This past December 31st, I was the master of ceremonies at a big University of Cincinnati pep rally before broadcasting the Cincinnati vs. Virginia Tech matchup in the Orange Bowl the following night.
After the pep rally, a Bearcat fan named Bud Westendorf asked me to sign the top of his bald head.
Think I’m joking? Here’s photographic evidence.
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I was in the PawSox clubhouse on Sunday when actor Kelsey Grammer walked it.
Whoops, it was actually pitcher Paul Byrd.
(photo courtesy of Kelly O’Connor)
The 38-year-old righty, who had not been pitching this year, signed a minor league contract with Boston in early August and hopes to join the Red Sox in September. He was 4-2 with a 4.78 ERA with Boston last year after joining the team in mid-August.
After returning to the organization a few weeks ago, Byrd reported to the Single-A GCL Red Sox where he made two starts, going 0-1 with a 5.14 ERA (7 IP, 10 H, 8 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 3 K). He’s expected to make his PawSox debut on Wednesday at 12:05 in the first game of a day/night doubleheader against Rochester.
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The PawSox will try to snap a 5-game losing streak on Monday afternoon as they conclude their 8-game road trip to Charlotte and Gwinnett. I hope you’ll join us for the radio call beginning with the pre-game show at 1:45 on the PawSox radio network and PawSox.com.