PUTTING ON THE FINISHING TOUCHES
McCoy Stadium has started to come to life this week in anticipation of Thursdays’ season opener against the Rochester Red Wings. On Monday, Manager Arnie Beyeler was getting situated in his new office in the PawSox clubhouse. He’d take time out to greet the players as they filed in after their trip north from Fort Myers.
Second baseman Nate Spears joins the PawSox after spending the entire Spring with the parent club. Spears even accompanied the Bosox to Houston for their final tuneup. Nate is an extremely likeable guy who I first met in Florida in the Spring of 2010. He starred for the Portland Sea Dogs last season, hitting .272 with 20 home runs and 82 rbi. Spears makes the transition from Portland to Triple A with Beyeler. Also had the chance to say hello to new pitchers, Randy Williams and Matt Fox. Williams, 35 and Fox, 28 are veterans in their first season with the Sox. Those two were off for a game of catch as clubhouse manager, Carl “Goody” Goodreau put the finishing touches on the clubhouse and fitted guys with their uniforms.
Trainer John Jochim, in his second season with Pawtucket, was setting up shop. Jochim tends to all the medical needs of the players. He and his intern, a young man named Carlos, who will eventually head to the Dominican Republic to work with Bostons’ entry in that league, were heading off to the store to stock up on supplies.
On Tuesday, the PawsSox will hold their annual media day. Reporters from all around “the Nation” will come into McCoy, some of them for the only time all year, and pepper the players with questions. The men will pose for photographs, sit for interviews and, weather permitting, take batting practice. Prior to the media day festivities, Arnie will hold a team meeting and President Mike Tamburro will address the club. One thing Mike always stresses, is courtesy to the fans. We recognize that PawSox fans spend their hard-earned dollars at McCoy, and should be treated respectfully. Starting Tuesday, I try to recognize our guys by my own, self-imposed “face test”. My goal is to be able to name all the guys by just looking at their faces, not their jersey numbers. Sometimes it takes a couple of days. I met a lot of the fellas at Fort Myers, so I think I have a pretty good feel for who’s who.
Wednesday, we load up a bus and head to Kirkbrae Country Club in Lincoln, R.I. for the annual Welcome Home luncheon. It’s always a classy event and a really nice way to begin the season. I have the privilege of introducing the team to the gathered fans and conducting a Q and A session with my partner, Dan Hoard. Our “guest” is Arnie Beyeler.
Opening Night is Thursday and after a two game series with Rochester, we will take a 7 day road swing through Buffalo and Syracuse. Arnie broke the horrible news to me today. The bus leaves McCoy Saturday at 5:15…A.M. That’s early, no matter how you slice it.
Anyway, it’s all good stuff and we are all very excited for this 2011 season.