Rather ironic that on the night I wrote a blog about a post-game interview experience I had with Steve McCatty, I could have used his help. (Check yesterday’s blog to get up to speed). After Louisville topped Pawtucket 4-2, I went to speak to second baseman Danny Richar. Richar, who went 3-4 with a home run, kindly consented to do the interview. As I got the signal from upstairs, Richar suddenly panicked and said “No, no, I don’t want to do it.” It was too late. Unbowed, I blurted out a question about his big offensive night. He took a second to think, then the native of the Dominican Republic, in a thick Hispanic accent, answered. Trying to salvage the moment, I figured I’d go to a little humor. “Danny” I asked. “Did you feel even a little bit badly the other night in Louisville when you spoiled Clay Buchholz’ perfect game?” Richar seemed a bit confused. He looked at me as if were from another planet. “No” was his only response. I figured it was time to cut my losses and give him his $25.00 gift card to Gregg’s Restaurant. Can’t hit a home run every time.
Before Thursday’s game at McCoy, the marching band from Portsmouth (RI) High School performed on the field. It is a field that one of their former classmates expects to grace, some day in the not too ndistant future. Ryan Westmoreland, the Portsmouth grad was the Red Sox fifth round pick in the 2008 draft. Ryan spurned a scholarship offer from Vanderbilt to sign for an unheard of amount for one selected so late in the draft, 2 million dollars. Westmoreland, highly coveted by the Boston brass has been at extended Spring Training recovering from offseason labrum surgery. The 19 year old outfielder is blessed with all the tools to be an outstanding Major League player. At 6’2,195 pounds, Ryan is considered the best position player to come out of the Ocean State since Rocco Baldelli. Baseball America rates Westmoreland as the 8th best prospect in the Red Sox organization. They call him the “best athlete in the system” and say that he colud some day be a “30-30” guy. Westmoreland will start his season at Lowell, in the NY-Penn League, but I, along with the entire state of R.I. can’t wait to see him make his way through McCoy Stadium on his way to Fenway Park His dad, Ron, is part owner of the Newport Gulls, a team in the New England Collegiate Baseball League. I grew up with Ron and his brother Jeff in Newport. Both were very good baseball players at Rogers High School (my alma mater). As I recall, Ryan’s aunt Beth was one of the first girls to play little league baseball in Newport back in the ’70s. Pretty soon, you can take the trip to Lowell and catch a rising star. If you run into his Grandfather “Mick” Hussey or his Uncle Kevin, tell them Steve Hyder says “Hello.”
Thanks to my good friend, Joe McDonald of the Providence Journal. “Joey Mac” had a nice article in Thursday’s paper about Jeff Natale and his foray into the broadcast booth. Natale sat in for Dan Hoard during his recent bout with laryngitis. Natale had been on the disabled list with an oblique strain.