One of the things I have always loved about my job is the friends you make and fraternity-like atmosphere around the park and throughout the league. There is a good deal of “looking out” for each other. I have always contended that they never will hold the bus for the radio guy. Tonight, I was proven wrong. I was still in the radio booth about a half hour after the PawSox had lost to Scranton, 2-1. I was wrestling with my uncooperative laptop, trying to send in various reports back to Rhode Island, when my phone rang. It was Terry Bussy. Terry has been one of our bus drivers for the last couple of seasons. An affable Englishman, we have become quite friendly. “Bussy” is a generic name for the bus driver in baseball, as in “Hey Bussy, what time we gonna get there?” There are tons of people you might not know by name, but that doesn’t preclude them from being my friend. Terry, my friend was calling to tell me the bus was about to leave. He clearly had my back.
One such guy works at the Plaza Hotel, where we stay in Rochester. He is a fixture there. Always nattily attired in a vest, tie cap, and gloves with the fingers cut off, he and I have been talking about the Celtics and Syracuse University Basketball for the last decade. We greet with a warm handshake and a “man hug” and I am always genuinely happy to see him. He seems to feel likewise. I don’t know his name. I’m positive he doesn’t know mine either. It’s OK. What’s in a name.
There’s George, the van driver, who takes me to Dunkin’ Donuts when we’re in Scranton. Countless familiar friendly faces greet me every time we check into our hotel in Durham. There’s a lovely woman who works at our hotel in Syracuse, who treats me like a long lost friend every time we are there. I don’t know any of their last names and very few first names. In my 12 years in the International League, I estimate I’ve stayed in some of the individual hotels, as many as 96 times. More than three months of my life at each of these places. I guess I see some of these friends, more than I see my real friends. During the season, these are my real friends. Talk with them. Ask about their kids. Brag about mine. Otherwise, it’s a lonely world.
Other announcers, stadium personnel, players. We’ve all seen each other. They may think of me as “Pawtucket Radio guy”. I may regard them as “Buffalo security guy”. It’s OK. It doesn’t matter. We’re all in it together. I’m ashamed to admit it, but there are so many nice people I see at McCoy Stadium on a regular basis, many who have been there a while. Just because I don’t know their names, really doesn’t mean I don’t care. We can all always use a smile, or a “what’s up?”
I feel like I’ve made some good friends this year at McCoy. “Bubbles” the batboy on the visitors’ side is a great young guy. Hardworking and sincere as the day is long. Connor, who works for Chef Ken Bowdish, is an aspiring sportswriter, whos’ work I’ve had the pleasure of reading, is a talented kid. The young lady that works with Connor, Caitlin is a sweet girl who always has a smile on her face. I look forward to my daily conversations with John Rezanski. John is a retired school principal who acts as concierge outside the clubhouse at McCoy. More often than not, we talk about baseball, family and food. The list goes on and on. Home or away, these people are all part of my “family”. They’re good people.
In the theme song from the TV show, “Cheers”, They tell us that sometimes you wanna go where everybody knows your name. That may be true, but I’m here to tell you that it’s sometimes ok to be where nobody knows your name, too.