Some days, especially during the offseason, I sit at my laptop and wonder what I can write about. Other days, very little inspiration is required. Today is one of the latter. Dale Carnegie said that to be an effective speaker, you should speak on something you feel passionately about. Jeff Bailey is no longer a member of the Red Sox organization. He joined the PawSox at the tail end of my first year with the club, 2004. He went from a young, part-time player to the teams’ elder statesman, respected by anyone he made contact with. Along the way, he became the MVP of the International League, and a Major Leaguer. Over the years, he and I discussed the triumphs and tragedies of being a professional athlete. Frustrations, injuries, money, opportunities and a thousand other topics on our seemingly endless bus rides, or waits in airports. “Bails” is a man of few words, so like E.F. Hutton, when he spoke, I think everybody listened. Bailey joins the Arizona Diamondbacks organization, where he should get the chance to make the big club. Jeff came up as a catcher, plays a good first base and leftfield and he can hit. It won’t take the powers that be in Arizona long to recognize what type of guy he is. A gentleman, who leads by example. As I’ve mentioned before in this blog, I’ll never forget the day Jeff earned his first Major League promotion. The PawSox were on their way back from a road trip. It was late at night and we were about to stop for a food/bathroom break. Just before we arrived at the rest area, Ron Johnson got a phone call from the Sox, telling him to tell Bailey to pack his bags and head to Fenway. Sitting near RJ on the bus, I caught wind of the conversation and I stood quietly, near the two so I could see the reaction of the the realization of a lifelong dream. It was typical Bailey. He stood there, frozen like a statue,thinking RJ was playing a joke on him. When Johnson finally convinced him it was legit, Bailey had a smile plastered on his face that was priceless. Still he stood there, as if his feet were cemented to the floor. As his teammates came by and congratulated him, it started to sink in. He was a major leaguer. No one can ever take that away from him. I went over to offer my congratulations and in typical Jeff Bailey fashion, we shook hands and he said “Thanks, Hyder.” Now he gets the chance at age 31, to become a regular in an organization that has neither the depth nor the resources the Sox have. In other words, Jeff Bailey could go to Spring Training and earn a roster spot in Arizona and play on a regular basis. No matter how long I broadcast games for the Pawtucket Red Sox, Jeff Bailey will always embody what I think a professional athlete should be.