THE END OF THE ROAD

     By now, the PawSox players and staff have dispersed across the country, back to their repsective homes.  Of course, many of our guys are wearing Red Sox uniforms these days, with a front row seat to the epic meltdown going on at Fenway and across the American League.  At McCoy, plans are already being made for the 2012 season.  Clubhouse manager, Carl “Goody” Goodreau surely has the clubhouses in top condition, spic and span for the winter.

     Oddly enough, my season hasn’t ended yet.  I am in Albuquerque, New Mexico for the Triple A, National Championship Game.  The Columbus Clippers, winners of the I.L. crown for the second straight year, will go up against the Omaha Storm Chasers, champions of the Pacific Coast League.  I will be the on-field reporter for the game tonight, to be aired on the Versus Network.  Game time is 6:00 p.m. locally, and 8:00 p.m. Eastern time.  Robert Portnoy, voice of the Albuquerque Isotopes will call the play by play and, brace yourself, Red Sox fans- Bucky Dent will provide analysis.  Yes Bucky “Bleeping” Dent.  Dan Hoard had jokingly wondered what it might be like if I was the sideline reporter who “flipped out” and just started smacking Bucky.  Sorry to disappoint you, Dent is actually anice guy whom I’ve had the pleasure of meeting before.  He was managing the Clippers in 2004 when I began with the PawSox.  I did a pregame interview with him on August 2.  It happened to be the 25th anniversary of the plane crash that claimed the life of his former teammate with the Yankees, Thurman Munson.  Dent was open and honest.  It was a poignant interview.  Maybe the best I’ve ever been given.

     Went to batting practice yesterday at Isotopes Park.  It’s a beautiful facility that has a definite “Simpsons” flavor to it.  Statues of Homer, Marge and the kids adorn the concourse of the park.  The name is actually life imitating art.  The name Isotopes came from a Simpsons episode written by my friend Ken Levine.  Ken is one of the most prolific comedy writers of all time.  He worked on such classic shows as M*A*S*H, Cheers, and Frasier.  In the Simpsons episode, titled “Dancing Homer”, the Isotopes broadcaster was named Dan Hoard, an homage to my man.

     While sitting in the lobby of the beautiful Sandia Resort, writing this blog, I ran into former I.L. batting champion, Wayne Harer.  Harer batted .350 with the PawSox in 1977.  Harer is with the Clippers entourage.  He does some TV work for them.

     Very strange to be doing a game tonight.  I literally know just one player on either roster.  Argenis Reyes, who played a handful of games for Pawtucket in 2010 is an infielder for Columbus.  Since I am an I.L. guy, I guess I’m rooting for the Clippers.  We’ll see.

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