Baseball players are a superstitious lot. If they are going well, they will wear the same shirt every day. They’ll eat the same food for breakfast. They’ll drive the same route to the ballpark. If things aren’t going well, they’ll do anything to bust the slump. As you might know, earlier this season we handed a microphone to infielder Jeff Natale. He conducts a weekly pre-game interview with a teammate, called “At Bat With Nat.” It is immensely entertaining, and informative as Jeff can ask questions that others might not be able to get away with. Early on, his subjects enjoyed tremendous success. Roommate Sean Danielson, his first guest, went 5-6 on the day he was on with Nat. A week later, lefty Billy Traber earned a win out of the bullpen on his Natale day. Since then, there has been a shift of fortune for the guys. On the very day Chip Ambres spoke to Natale, he was traded to the Mets and wound up in frigid Buffalo. After Nat interviewed 22 year old Michael Bowden this week, Bowden endured his worst outing of the year. Michael surendered 6 runs in the first inning in a game the PawSox came back to win 8-6. My fear is that his teammates will ditch him and our “ABWN” segment will go away. Baseball is a fickle game and it is very unforgiving. Natale has an interesting style, relying almost solely on humor. After asking the guest “How it feels to be the 3d, 4th or 5th etc. person on his “show”, he quickly shifts gears and could ask, “How is it to be my roommate?” or “How excited are you to have me in the lineup?” When he asked Bowden the former question, Michael said Natale just hangs around in the room “Creeping around facebook”. Natale turned the table on Bowden ratting him out about his temper tantrum in the room, when the air conditioning stopped working for the third straight night. Natale continued by asking what it was like to be considered a “super prospect” adding his first few guests were considered “bad prospects”. Bowden was honest- “It’s a neat experience-it’s pretty sweet.” Finally, Natale asked a question that made me laugh out loud. “Michael, why are you such a square?” Bowden lost it, too. Amid guffaws, he tried to answer. “I go out, maybe once or twice a year, if I’m feeling good. If you (Natale) invited me, I might be likely to go out more often. I usually just sit in my room after a game and talk to my girlfriend.” I get a real charge out of “At Bat With Nat” and I hope the listeners do, as well. I just hope he can find a guest next week.
This week our featured guest on “PawSox Insider” was former All Star Sean Casey. Casey now works for MLB Network as a commentator. The man who is known as the “Mayor” and once received a landslide 46% of the vote when Major Leaguers were asked about who was “the nicest guy in the Big Leagues”, lived up to his billing.
Fridays’ game was a tremendous comeback win. Marcus McBeth, Rocky Cherry, Randor Bierd and Fernando Cabrera shut out the reeling Durham Bulls over the games’ final 8 innings for an 8-6 win. Shortstop Gil Velazquez summed it up succinctly- “Our bullpen did a hell of a job!”.