The old adage is that “you never get a second chance to make a first impression” is true. Even so, the 2009 PawSox have made a tremendous first impression on this observer. Start with pitching. Enrique Gonzalez, Michael Bowden, Kris Johnson and Clay Buchholz have been very good and instrumental in the 3-1 start for Pawtucket. The reigning pitcher of the year in the International League, Charlie Zink (14-6 in 2008) has yet to take the mound for the PawSox. The bullpen has been terrrific. On Sunday, the gang combined for 10 and a third shutout frames. Carlos Maldonado, a catcher, was called upon to pitch in the fifteenth inning against Buffalo. “Maldo” who was the hero of Saturday’s 1-0 win with a solo home run gave up a two run blast to Nick Evans as the Bisons salvaged a game in the 4 game series.
I am truly lucky. I have a job that I absolutely love. The management of the PawSox, Ben Mondor, Mike Tamburro and Lou Schwechheimer make it very easy for Dan Hoard and I to do our jobs. Manage Ron Johnson (RJ) has created an atmosphere that allows Dan and I to be a part of the team. When you spend as much tiume as we do with the young men that we travel with, you can’t help forging relationships with the guys. In my six seasons with Pawtucket, people like Kevin Youkilis, Dustin Pedroia and Jon lester have made lasting impressions on me. Youk, for the way he never gave up, no matter how many times he was sent back to the minor leagues. Pedroia, for the unparallelled confidence he exhibits on a daily basis and Lester, for the courage and dignity he showed while battling cancer. You get close with other guys as well. Guys who will never play a day in the Majors. Former PawSox righthander Tim Kester, an I.L. All-Star in 2004 comes to mind. We have remained in contact over the years and still stay in touch. I tell you this for a couple of reasons. #1- It is the best part of my job. Getting to know these guys helps create a better broadcast, but more importantly, It humanizes them. For me and the listener. We eat in the same restaurants, ride the same busses and revel in the wins and agonize over the losses over the course of the summer. I’ve been fortunate to share “non-baseball” conversations with our guys, too. Stuff that never reaches the air I know Dan and I share the same philosophy when it comes to the broadcast. I learned from Dan many years ago about such things (a blog for another day). #2- When you care so much about something, it hurts when things go wrong. That is why I’ve been affected by the death of Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart. I never met the 22 year old hurler, I wouldn’t have known him if I saw him, but to see the dreams of a man,his family and his entire community go down the drain because of the thoughtless act of another, saddens me greatly. I cherish every time RJ makes a joke about me. I look forward to every bus ride, and I hold a warm spot in my heart for every player, coach and manager I deal with. Let’s remember Nick Adenhart, pray for his family, and pray that this type of tragedy never comes any closer to us than it already has. I hope you enjoy my random thoughts and ramblings and I welcome your feedback.
Over the course of the season, I will rank my favorite meals/restaurants for you. So far, so good.
#1 Anchor Bar Buffalo, N.Y. (They invented the Buffalo Wing…’nuff said)
#2 Dinosaur Barbecue, Rochester N.Y. ( I’m eating healthier- chicken was good, but not as good as the ribs)
#3 Chef’s Italian Restaurant Buffalo (always a winner)