Dice-K, Playoff Hockey, And Wings

I’ve wanted to be a sportscaster for as long as I can remember.


As legend has it, when I emerged from the womb (with the same amount of hair that I have now) and the doctor slapped me on the butt, the infant Dan Hoard immediately said, “Oh what a blatant cheap shot!  That’s going to be a 15-yard penalty for unnecessary roughness.”


I am truly blessed to do this for a living and can honestly say that after roughly 25 years in broadcasting, I feel like I’ve never worked a day in my life.


But some days are better than others.


Like Thursday.


On a 70 degree day on April 15th in Buffalo (15 degrees above normal), I did the following:


  1. Watched Daisuke Matsuzaka pitch 6 scoreless innings.
  2. Sat in the 8th row and watched Game 1 of the Sabres/Bruins playoff series.
  3. Ate chicken wings with friends at Buffalo’s famed Anchor Bar (where the delicacy was supposedly invented on October 3, 1964).

Anchor bar re.jpg 

Now that is a great day.


It would have been even better if the PawSox had won, but after Daisuke left with a 2-0 lead after six innings, Dustin Richardson surrendered a 2-run HR in the 7th inning, and Buffalo rallied to beat Pawtucket 3-2 in 10 innings.


Broadcast partner Steve Hyder, media relations director Bill Wanless, PawSox security director Rick Medeiros, and yours truly were part of a large PawSox contingent that attended the hockey game.


Manager Torey Lovullo got 3 tickets through friends in Buffalo and brought pitching coach Rich Sauveur and hitting coach Gerald Perry.  First baseman Aaron Bates also scored a pair of tickets and attended the game with Bubba Bell.


I wasn’t surprised that Bates landed tickets.  After all, he’s dating the daughter of San Jose Sharks general manager Doug Wilson.  But Bates actually has his agent to thank for getting him tickets.


I grew up 62 miles south of Buffalo in Lakewood, NY so I was thrilled with the Sabres 2-1 victory in Game 1.  Torey Lovullo was too, after picking Buffalo to win the series.


“I’m going to say ‘Sabres in five.’ Lovullo told reporters in the dugout on Thursday.  “I know that there are a lot of differing opinions that the Bruins could come in here and whitewash the Sabres but I know that there are going to be many low-scoring games.  I know that both teams are very defensive-minded and both have great goaltending.  As far as I know, it’s going to be a great series but I have to stick with the Sabres.”


Torey was not lying when he said he HAS to stick with the Sabres.  His wife Kristen is from Buffalo and is such a huge Sabres fan that she made him promise to order the NHL Center Ice package on TV (which allows viewers to watch out-of-market games) before she would relocate to Torey’s home in California.  If Torey had picked the Bruins, it might have been grounds for divorce.


* * * * *


April 15th has passed and it appears that Alan Embree is going to be staying with the PawSox after all.  Embree pitched a perfect inning yesterday and told me he would discuss his options with his agent after the game.


Although he did not want to get into specifics, the veteran reliever hinted that he has softened his stance on extending his stay in Pawtucket in hopes of eventually pitching for Boston.


* * * * *


Boof Bonser told me that he would be heading to Boston on Friday to have his surgically repaired shoulder examined by Red Sox doctors.


Boof said he felt some pain in his shoulder and a “dead arm” in his last outing at McCoy Stadium on Tuesday.  In that game, Bonser pitched two innings, allowing 9 runs on 5 hits and 3 walks but didn’t admit to experiencing any pain until he was taken out of the game.


“He didn’t say anything,” Lovullo told me.  “I think he’s such a competitor that he was going to work through anything that he was feeling and anything that was bothering him.  He didn’t say a word until we took him out of the game after that second inning.  We went down to see how he was doing after he drove up his pitch count in the second inning – we wanted to get a good look at his face and just see what he was all about – and he said that he had a little discomfort in his right shoulder.  I don’t think it’s a major setback.  I just know that he’s in good spirits and feels OK.”


Randor Bierd will replace Bonser in the PawSox rotation and will make his first start on Sunday at Rochester.


* * * * *


With Jacoby Ellsbury suffering from bruised ribs and Mike Cameron dealing with the pain caused by a kidney stone, there is abundant speculation that Josh Reddick could be promoted by Boston.


Reddick re.jpg 

(photo courtesy of Kelly O’Connor)


Reddick is off to a slow start this year, batting just .138 (4-for-29) with one walk.  He was not in Pawtucket’s starting lineup for the first time all year yesterday.


“Red has been grinding away pretty good,” Lovullo said. “I thought about doing it a couple of days ago but he responded and got a couple of hits.  The best thing about Red is that you wouldn’t know by looking at his pace of play that he’s not hitting the way he wants to.  He’s as good as anybody we have at getting down the line, he’s laying out for balls in the outfield, he’s just doing a great job all the way around outside of getting his base hits.  That’s going to happen – we know that’s going to come.  I just wanted to give him a mental break and let him catch his breath.”


* * * * *


The PawSox conclude their 3-game series in Buffalo on Friday night at 6:05.  I hope you’ll join us for radio coverage beginning with the pre-game show at 5:50 on the PawSox radio network and Pawsox.com.


I’d love to hear from you.  The address is dhoard@pawsox.com.


And if you Twitter, you can follow my tweets at http://twitter.com/Dan_Hoard



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