BAILEY’S BACK AGAIN
Jeff Bailey is the consumate professional and he’s back at McCoy. Bailey hasn’t played since sustaining a high ankle sprain on the fourth of July, while with the Red Sox. He isn’t sure how effective he’ll be, but is ready and willing to lead his club. Thanks to the respect he’s earned from Terry Francona, Bailey is here on a Major League rehab assignment, not optioned back. When I asked Bailey about the situation, eavesdropper Jeff Natale chimed in- “If you’re a Big Leaguer, then buy a spread.” That is a reference to the longstanding tradition of Major League players buying a postgame meal for their “less afluent” minor league teammates.
Author James Grippando is at McCoy for the Monday game with Scranton. Grippando has penned 16 novels, the latest titled “Intent to Kill”. It’s a suspense/thriller that takes place in Pawtucket and McCoy Stadium. To research for the book, Grippando spent many nights sitting in the stands watching the PawSox, among other things. “This is my sixteenth novel and I find that the best research I do is to just go sit and observe. Be the fly on the wall…I wanted to see what it was like to be a PawSox fan and be a part of this family.” A resident of Coral Gables, Florida- Grippando is a transplanted Cubs fan who feels a kinship with Red Sox Nation-”I’m a long-suffering Cubs fan. When I was a kid, you had the Curse of the Bambino, we had the curse of the goat. My father bought me a Carl Yastrzemski bat and I’ve been a Red Sox fan ever since.” Grippando really seems to have caught the essence of what a relationship between a PawSox fan and player is all about. “ PawSox players get the love. I am from Florida and we’re lucky to get 5000 fans to a Marlins game. Here, you guys pack them in. I wanted Ryan (main character Ryan James) to be a player that the local fans here in Pawtucket were really rooting for. It is ultimately a story of redemption with a great PawSox backdrop.” Grippando first came into contact with PawSox owner Ben Mondor after his niece read the book and contacted him. She wrote “My Uncle Ben would love this book. Would you please send him a signed copy?” That lead to a series of letters that eventually lead to Grippando’s appearance at McCoy Stadium. “We got together and just talked baseball, and Ben invited me here. This is the coolest “book-related” thing I’ve ever done.”