Monday marked the thirtieth anniversary of the start of the longest game in baseball history. It was at McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket. Dave Koza, who had the game winning hit in the thirty third inning threw out the ceremonial first pitch. Standing behind the plate was retired umpire Denny Craig, who called balls and strikes on that fateful night, three decades ago. Over the weekend, Pulitzer prize winning author, Dan Barry was at the park, also throwing out a first pitch and signing copies of his new book, “Bottom of the 33rd”. Mondays’ game did not bear any resemblance to the celebrated contest of 1981 (Thankfully). The PawSox won their fourth straight game, beating Syracuse 5-1 in nine innings. More good pitching for Pawtucket was the order of the night again as starter Matt Fox, Clevelan Santeliz and Michael Bowden shut down the Chiefs. Santeliz left with a back issue after an inning and two thirds. Hopefully, it’s nothing serious. He’s been fantastic.
The PawSox played a little long ball as Josh Reddick and Tony Thomas both hit home runs. Ironically, that same duo teamed up for the pre-game interview. Reddick is following in the footsteps of former Pawtucket players Bobby Scales (Weighing in with Bobby Scales), Jeff Natale (At Bat with Nat), and Chad Paronto (Hangin’ with Chad) as the “third member” of our broadcast team. each has distinguished himself with their once-a-week look inside the PawSox clubhouse. Reddick did a great job with Thomas, especially for a “maiden voyage”.
Lars Anderson had a 3-3 night, raising his batting average 60 points. In one incredible at bat, he faced Henry Rodriguez of Syracuse, who consistently was clocked at 100 mph on the stadium radar gun. H-Rod topped out at 101 with his heater. Lars seemed unfazed, doubling against him in the seventh. Surprisingly, he offered little insight when asked what that experience was like. “It’s fast, man. A tough at bat.” He offered even less when he was asked if it was different than what he and his teammates usually see at the plate. “Yeah, it is.” Wow. What a wordsmith.
Earlier in the day, lefty Felix Doubront made his return to McCoy. He and Hideki Okajima switched roster spots. Oki was terrific while he was with the PawSox. He did not allow a run in 5 innings, although he did let an inherited runner score in his last appearance. Doubront was coy aboout what his role might be with the PawSox, as was manager Arnie Beyeler. Both claimed not to know what the Red Sox wanted to do with him. Felix gave a politically correct response. “I don’t know, man. For now, I’m going to be in the bullpen…they’re going to figure it out this week.” Doubront says he feels fine and is no worse for the wear. “Right now I feel good. My elbow’s good. I need more innings to get totally into shape.” Stay tuned.