BACK WITH MY BOYS
There is something very comforting being back with the ballclub. Familiar faces, old and tired jokes and just the everyday rhythm of the season. The off day, Wednesday, was made special, thanks to the generosity of PawSox owner, Ben Mondor. Mondor gave Torey Lovullo a wad of cash to take the entire team out to dinner. Fortunately for me, I was included. We went to the LongHorn Steak House and the entire team and staff dined on ribeyes, sirloins, chops and ribs. Of course appetizers, sides and for those who could handle it, dessert was included. We always get the same reaction from players who are new to the team. “You mean Mr. Mondor does this just to be nice??” We always tell them the same thing.”Absolutely!” Stuffed to the gills, the fellas retreated back to the hotel for a good rest. I guarantee you, there is not another guy in baseball that does what Ben does for us.
Back on April 20, the Red Sox traded lefty, Andrew Dobies to the White Sox for a player to be named later. On May 6, Dobies pitched for Charlotte, against many of his former teammates. Dobies retired the first two hitters he faced before walking, in succession, Bubba Bell, Josh Reddick and Daniel Nava. Dobies was promptly lifted from the game. Nava was surprised his friend and former teammate was so wild. “That is so unlike Andrew.” Nava said. “His control is usually much better.” Nava said the two became well acquainted while they were rehabbing in Fort Myers, last season. Nava said Dobies told him he was excited about getting a fresh start “There are so many opportunities in the Chicago organization.” That was the message Dobies gave Nava. Nava added that Dobies was a great guy and a hard worker and that his wildness on Thursday was an aberration.
Had an entertaining lunch today with Dan Hoard and Daniel Nava. Nava was extremely enthusiastic as he described the differences between lower level minor leagues and the International League. “Like night and day.” For my money, and I think strength coach Mike Roose would agree, Nava is the most highly conditioned athlete on the team. At least in the top two or three. Well toned, and muscular, Nava says that compared to his father Don, age 56, he’s a slouch. “My dad is in unbelievable shape. He’s a physical trainer and he looks great.” A clubhouse phenomena has been born of Daniels’ admiration of his dad. “Ever since I was a little kid, my father could make his pectoral muscles ‘dance’.” You’ve seen the body builder types who can make their chest muscles move up and down. It’s, for some strange reason, very entertaining. Nava says he has been perfecting the move himself, for years. He says that a day doesn’t go by without one of his teammates asking for a command performance. When a veteran tells a rookie to do something, they must comply. As “Larry the Cable Guy” might say…”That’s funny. I don’t care who you are!”
Adam Mills was hoping for a triumphant return to Charlotte, where he starred collegiately at UNC-Charlotte. Mills looked great early on but the Knights eventually got to him, beating the PawSox, 6-3. Mills had the chance to go to the home he owns and relax a bit with teammate TJ Large. Large described the idyllic setting. “Beautiful home with lots of land and a creek running behind the house. It’s really nice.” While they were in the back yard the pair took archery practice. It was a first for Large. “He set up a big target. It was fun.” Luckily, no William Tell action was involved.