In the movie The Cooler, William H. Macy plays a character who is so unlucky that a casino hires him to hang around its gaming tables to jinx the customers.
My pal Jon Schaeffer is the sportscasting equivalent.
Jon is one of the radio voices of the Lehigh Valley IronPigs. In his first year on the job, the IronPigs got off to the worst start in International League history by losing their first 11 games and finished the season 34 games under .500. Now in their third year of operation, the IronPigs have never had a winning record. Not even for a day.
“What do they always say, ‘Show me a good team and I’ll show you a good broadcaster.’ I’m not real big on that theory,” Schaeffer said with a laugh.
My man Jon also does basketball. In 2004-05, he was the voice of Longwood University. The Lancers went 1-30.
Four years later, he was the play-by-play man for the New Jersey Institute of Technology. NJIT also went 1-30.
They are the only two teams in Division 1 men’s history to lose 30 games in a season.
“When someone says, ‘Despite the team’s lousy record, you did a very professional job,’ I really appreciate that,” Jon said. “When your team is 23-3 – it’s easy.”
This past year, Jon tried his luck – or lack thereof – in women’s basketball as he went to work for Seton Hall. The Pirates went 1-16 in the Big East.
Schaeffer also broadcasts football games. In his two years at Lincoln University, the Lions are 4-16.
I know what you’re thinking Red Sox fans . . . is there any way we can get the Yankees or Rays to hire this dude?
All kidding aside, Jon is an outstanding broadcaster and his luck is bound to eventually change. Imagine how excited he’ll sound if his team finally wins a championship.
“I won’t be able to handle it,” Schaeffer joked. “I’ll have to take some type of pill that will make me more reserved.”
* * * * *
After Darnell McDonald and Josh Reddick were promoted by Boston this week, the PawSox called-up outfielder Matt Sheely from Portland.
It’s the second time he’s advanced to Triple-A.
(photo courtesy of Kelly O’Connor)
In July of 2007, the Red Sox picked up relief pitcher Eric Gagne at the trade deadline and sent OF David Murphy to Texas in the deal. Jacoby Ellsbury was with Pawtucket at the time and was out of the lineup with a minor injury, so the PawSox desperately needed an outfielder for a few days.
The Red Sox sent them Sheely He was 20-years-old at the time and playing for Gabe Kapler at Single-A Greenville.
Matt remembers Kapler calling him into his office and saying, “Kid. Triple-A needs a player and you’re the guy.”
Sheely says he was speechless. Then he showed up at the airport with no I.D. and had to have his mother fax a birth certificate to the airport.
This time around, Matt remembered his I.D., but a taxi ride from the airport to the team hotel that was supposed to take 45 minutes wound up lasting 3 hours as the driver got lost and needed Sheely to come up with directions.
When Matt finally got to his room he decided to take a quick nap . . . only to oversleep and miss both team buses to the ballpark.
At least his travel snafus haven’t affected his play.
In 2007, Sheely played in two games for Pawtucket and went 3-for-7.
In his first two games this year for the PawSox, Matt is 3-for-8.
* * * * *
The PawSox open an 8-game homestand on Friday night as Michael Bowden takes the mound against the Buffalo Bisons at 7:05. I hope you’ll join us for radio coverage beginning with the pre-game show on the PawSox radio network and pawsox.com.
I’d love to hear from you. The address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
And if you Twitter, you can follow my tweets at http://twitter.com/Dan_Hoard