ALMOST LIKE FAMILY
Some random thoughts rolling around my size 8 plus cranium as I travel the roads with the PawSox…
One benefit of being on the road is that I am not currently paying close to $4.00 a gallon for gas. I’m not sure why this bugs me so much. At a store, I pay roughly the same for a twelve pack of diet sunkist orange soda. I pay roughly four times that for a twelve pack of Budweiser. And who among us hasn’t spent $2.00 or more for a 20 ounce bottle of water? Anyway, I feel like I’m getting over on someone, eight days at a time.
We spend more time together during the season than we do with our own families. As I mentioned the other day, it’s nice when you can do something different, like go to an Elton John concert. (Incidentally, should I be concerned that I haven’t received my invitation to the Royal Wedding, yet? And has Prince Charles completely given up on ever becoming King?) Although it wasn’t the same as sitting around the table with your family, we got a nice treat on Easter Sunday. PawSox team president Mike Tamburro made sure that the guys (including the radio broadcasters) were treated to a fantastic spread from Rochesters’ legendary “Dinosaur Barbecue”. More than enough ribs, chicken salmon, shrimp cocktail and all the trimmings for everyone. It is tough to always miss the holidays and milestones that occur within your family. Ben Mondor was always aware of that, and now Mike, the patriarch of this family, has continued the tradition. I tried to reach Mike on Sunday, with no luck. When I finally spoke to him to thank him on Monday morning, I told him “Reaching you was tougher than getting a hold of Harold Cooper in 1981.” Luckily, the boss gets my sense of humor.
Big upgrade in hotels in Allentown. Matt White, the CFO for the PawSox always hears the complaints when things aren’t perfect, but let me publicly tip my XXL cap for pulling the trigger on the change. We used to stay in an antiquated old place in the heart of Bethlehem (a little better than a stable). We are now at a much nicer, newer hotel that features a free hot breakfast and suite-size rooms, complete with kitchens. I may invite the guys over tonite after the game and whip up a little feast. The breakfast area reminds you of home. Guys coming downstairs as they wake up, sitting around tables and sipping coffee and talking about just about everything, except baseball. (OK, so sometimes baseball does sneak into the conversation). Discussion topics today included the awful TV shows we watched on the bus ride into town after Mondays’ rainout in Rochester. The level of attractiveness of the future Queen, Kate Middleton, and the pros and cons of youth sports. We also discussed the sanity of one of our players (No, I won’t tell you).
Several of the Iron Pigs are staying at the same hotel. Former PawSox lefty, Juan Perez is among them. Perez pitched for Pawtucket early in my time as a broadcaster. It’s always great to see your former guys. Ran into Jeff Bailey early on Monday, before the rainout. He and his girl friend were about to tour the Eastman House, the former home of the founder of Eastman Kodak. I’d prefer to remember “Bails” as the 2008 International League MVP, while a member of the Sox. I guess it happens. Guys will do ANYTHING for love. It made me a little sad. Anyway, once a member of the family, always a member of the family.