I write this blog as our bus bounces down route 95 south, headed for Allentown, Pennsylvania and a first round playoff series with Lehigh Valley. I am a good speller, so I apologize if there are typos. As I said, the bus is bouncing.
We left at noon on Tuesday, 31 hours before game one is scheduled to start. I emphasize the word “scheduled” because there is rain, and a lot of it in the forecast. Obviously, nothing we can do about that, but it could throw a huge crimp into plans. Not sure if things get pushed back a day or if we’d play a doubleheader. I’ll keep you posted.
The bus is quiet. There’s a movie playing. More background noise than anything else. Most guys are just finishing up the sandwiches they bought at Quiznos’ or Subway, before boarding the bus at McCoy. Our drivers, or “bussy’s” as they’re known, are the same two guys we’ve had all season. Terry, an affable Englishman with a proffesorial look. About 5’9 with glasses and short “salt and pepper” hair. His counterpart is Dan. Dan is, quite literally, a giant. About 6’5, a power lifter and body builder type. Shaved head and several visible tattoos. They are great guys and have grown to become part of the gang as the season progressed.
Trainer John Jochim, as always, seems to be doing some work on his laptop. Manager Arnie Beyeler is peering up ast the movie “We Own the Night”. Hitting instructor Chili Davis is chatting on his cell phone. As I survey the rest of the bus, guys are sleeping, doing crossword puzzles, playing cards or just staring off into space. It’s about a 5 hour ride, so we should arrive around dinner time. It is daytime so not a lot of guys are sleeping. When we travel at night, a lot of the time, players are spread out across the aisle or even along the aisle. That makes it extremely difficuklt for anyone, especially a middle aged radio guy to make his way back to the “facilities”. You have to leapfrog over sets of legs. Sets of valuable legs. My recurring nightmare is tripping and landing on an important set of legs, maybe breaking one and effectively ending two careers at the same time. His and mine.
Rain has started to fall steadily as we are now about an hour south of Pawtucket. The windshield wipers have an hyonotic effect, hopefully, not on bussy, Dan. Speaking of Dan, let me acknowledge my partner of the last 6 years, Dan Hoard. Dan is done with the PawSox and off to Cincinnati for good. Being in the playoffs without him is bittersweet. It would have been fun to share the quest for the Governors’ Cup with my friend. I doubt I will ever have a better partner. Pretty much impossible.
The PawSox went 10-6 against the Iron Pigs this season, so nothing to be afraid of in Allentown. The winner of our series matches up with either Columbus or Durham for the Governsors’ Cup. It’s been over a quarter century since they hoisted the Cup at McCoy. Hopefully, we are on our way to ending a 26 season drought.