Coolray Field in Lawrenceville, GA is only 31 miles from Turner Field in Atlanta.
It is 134 miles from Jimmy Carter’s hometown of Plains, GA.
I point out that out because PawSox manager Torey Lovullo has a connection to the 39th President of the United States: Jimmy Carter actually invited his parents to the White House.
“My dad is in country music (he produced the TV show “Hee Haw”) and Jimmy Carter was a huge “Hee Haw” fan,” Lovullo told me. “His brother Billy Carter was an even bigger country music fan. They invited my parents to the White House when they had a big country music fest and my dad and mom were able to go.”
Torey’s parents had no idea how that impacted their son.
(photos courtesy of Kelly O’Connor)
In 2001 after his playing career ended, Lovullo interviewed for a job with the Cleveland Indians. Torey was being considered for a variety of front office or on-field roles when he told the team that he wanted to manage.
“I sat down with Mark Shapiro, the general manager of the Cleveland Indians, and during the interview he asked, ‘What’s your dream?’ I told him that ‘Shaking hands with the President at the White House after winning the World Series is my dream,’ Lovullo said.
Lovullo wasn’t just trying to project confidence in a job interview. That really is his dream.
“My parents had the opportunity to go to the White House,” Torey said. “They got an invitation sent to their home in California and my mom framed that. She also plucked a cherry blossom from a tree on the White House lawn and made a beautiful framed keepsake. I saw that every day as a kid and I thought, ‘How spectacular would it be if I could ever get an invitation.’ Here I am in an industry where that is possible. They reward the best team with a celebration at the White House and that’s something that motivates me and gets me out of bed every day.”
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Nasty thunderstorms rolled through Gwinnett County, GA for much of the day on Monday and wrecked havoc on Coolray Field. The video board in right field was completely wiped out for that night’s game against Pawtucket, and the scoreboard in left field was barely functional.
Unfortunately, the power outage extended to the PawSox dugout.
Pawtucket’s scoring consisted of a 2-run double by Bubba Bell in the 7th inning and the PawSox dropped their third straight game to the Gwinnett Braves 4-2.
The PawSox are 0-7 all-time at Coolray Field, and Tuesday’s game will be their last chance for a win in Georgia in 2010.
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Now time for the Joe Nelson humorous anecdote of the day.
Joe and some teammates ordered a pizza the other night. When the pizza delivery man arrived, Nelson opened the hotel room door wearing his chicken costume.
That is what’s known as simple but funny.
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I have a new nickname for Angel Sanchez. I call him “The Copy Machine.”
Sanchez is batting .337, and of his 28 hits, I would guess that at least 20 have been singles between the first baseman and second baseman. Angel’s inside-out swing consistently produces hits that look exactly alike.
So when you hear me refer to him as “The Copy Machine” you’ll know why.
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Coolray Field is not only the home of the Gwinnett Braves . . . it is the birthplace of the Knucksie Sandwich.
The Knucksie — named in honor of Atlanta Braves legend Phil Niekro — is an open-faced sandwich with a corn muffin base, a pile of barbecue pork, carmelized onions, pickles, cole slaw, two sauces and green onions.
The chef who created the Knucksie calls it “a big mountain of goodness.”
It definitely gets the Dan Hoard seal of approval.
The sandwich was such a big hit in Gwinnett that they are now selling it at Turner Field in Atlanta.
That makes the Knucksie the first sandwich to ever be promoted to the big leagues.
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The PawSox will try to avoid a 4-game sweep when they face the Braves on Tuesday night at 7:05.
I hope you’ll join me for radio coverage beginning with the pre-game show at 6:50 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