As the Indianapolis Indians stretched out before their batting practice yesterday, there was a very familiar face, a very familiar unshaven face among them. Catcher Dusty Brown signed with the Pirates during the offseason and he is sharing backstop duties with Jason Jaramillo and Wyatt Toregas. Brownie made his return to McCoy this week after playing for the PawSox for all or part of the last 4 seasons (2007-10). His best season in a Pawtucket uniform was 2008, when he hit .290 with 12 homers and 55 rbi. That season, Brown appeared in 84 games.
Brown was soaking it all in as he returned to Rhode Island. “It’s weird. It’s like I never left, but it’s good to come back and see everybody. I was here for three plus years and I never once walked into the visitors’ clubhouse, so it was a little strange.” Brown, however, hasn’t really been away long enough to feel nostalgic about his return. “Since I was here so long, I haven’t really lost those memories. For me, it’s still new being in Indianapolis, rather than having it feel new coming back here, because I was here so long.”
PawSox pitching coach Rich Sauveur worked extensively with Brown and he said that one of the things that made him so good was his ability to “call” a game and the retention of information from day to day in regards to opposing hitters. Brown hoped that the latter would come in handy during the series. “It’ll be a little different. These were guys I watched hit from a different angle, not so much behind the plate, as I would with opposing teams. I think I have some extra information to offer that I wouldn’t have if I didn’t play with a lot of these guys. We’ll see how it works out, though. It’ll be weird to be on the other end of it.”
Brown and his beautiful wife, Jordan are the proud parents of an almost 2 year old son, Jude. Brown jokingly boasts that in a fight between Jude and Dan Hoard, it’d be no match. “Jude has gotten nothing but bigger and I imagine Hoard is losing some of his strength, whatever he has left. I definitely think that Jude would dominate him in any sort of physical activity.”
Brown was the resident expert on “American Idol” while he was with the PawSox. It was fitting he returned to town the same week season 10 of “Idol” wrapped up. Like many loyal fans, Brownie was not pleased with the results. “Not happy at all. I wasn’t happy with the voting. I think out of the final three (Scotty McCreery, Lauren Alaina and Hailey Reinhardt) Hailey was the best singer and she didn’t make it into the finale. I didn’t watch the final show I was so upset. I wouldn’t habve picked either finalist to win. It just shows you what the majority of America listens to and it certainly isn’t my kind of music.” Brown and I were in full agreement when it came to one person. Pia Toscano. “Yeah she got voted off in the top nine. She was probably the best singer in the competition. Casey Abrams was probably my favorite and he was voted off too early as well. I wasn’t happy with the result and if I were voting I would have voted (eventual champion) McCreery off. I couldn’t stand him every week.”
Another thing that Brown has always been known for is his luxuriant brown hair. Last season, teammate Chad Paronto discovered that Brown used a natural concoction of “Berries and such” to keep his locks shiny. Brown is in a different mind set these days. “I just cut my hair last week so I’m getting used to shorter hair. Right now I’m just going with the normal wash and dry. Maybe when it grows out again, I’ll resort to more drastic measures.”