Friday, March 30, 2007

To preview this year’s club, I’ve broken the team down positionally into categories of how they can best benefit me. I believe this is the best and most relevant way to preview any team.

4. Which member of the current coaching staff is most likely to become my best friend?
Billy Hatcher: the author read that one time when Billy still played for Houston, he broke his bat during a plate appearance and super balls came spilling out all over the field. When asked why he was a cheater, he explained that it was all a big misunderstanding. See, he had borrowed the bat from relief pitcher Dave Smith, who, because he gets so many at bats, had taken the time to hollow out the inside of the bat and fill it full of super balls. He was suspended for 10 games, but wow, that sounds like the type of guy with which I’d like to become friends. But I’m sure people who hit .750 in the World Series have plenty of friends already.
Jerry Narron: unfortunately, I’m just not sure Jerry has time for friends. He manages the best professional organization for 162 games a season, coaches girls varsity basketball (Rosewood High School basketball rules!), and meets with Josh Hamilton during his free time to remind him not to use cocaine. But I’m going on record right now to say, I’m willing to make the effort. I don’t live in Cincinnati, but I’ve got some miles saved up. I could come out there this summer and stay with your family or if you don’t have enough room I could just sleep in the clubhouse with the most famous name in clubhouse management, the Stowes (pictured below). It will be fun.

Bucky Dent: because I am also ashamed of my Irish heritage, I respect the fact that Bucky took the initiative and changed his name from O’Dey to Dent. But with my fragile ego, and general distrust of others, I’m not sure I could handle all the massholes who his image still gives the blood lust. Sorry Buck.

Mark Berry: third base coach Mark Berry’s loyalty to the organization is without reproach. He has served the Reds for 24 years, working in a variety of capacities (player, minor league manager, bullpen catcher, bench coach) and he’s in luck, because I’ve always wanted to be friends with a third base coach. I can just picture being at the game, Dunn’s on second and Berry looks over with a questioning grin, like “should we really do this?” I smile and nod my head. There’s a weak grounder to the right side of second. The ball’s behind him, so Dunn relies completely on his third base coach, who is waving him home. The big leftfielder rounds the bag and is halfway down the line before he realizes that the ball never left the infield and he’s going to be out by 25 feet. He’s comes to a stop in the middle of the baseline and is tagged out. Berry would shrug his shoulders, like “oops, my mistake,” and turn around to me and we’d all laugh, not at Dunn, but at the fact the team can continue to give runs away because the Cubs are in town. It would be hilarious.

Brook Jacoby: while I would certainly like to be friends with the new hitting coach, I know that once he sees my approach at the plate (I liken my stance to a cross between Julio Franco and Craig Counsell but with more bat movement, generating no power to all fields) it would prove to be too burdensome upon the friendship.

Dick Pole: 2007 marks his 19th season as a big league coach and 15th as a professional pitching coach, serving previously with the Cubs (1988-91), Giants (1993-97), Angels (1999), Indians (2000-01) and Expos (2002). But seriously, the name Dick Pole is about the greatest I’ve ever heard. If there was ever a name which should grace a postseason achievement award, this appears the most deserving. I genuinely hope to some day become friends with Dick Pole.

Tom Hume: on bullpen coach Tom Hume’s bio it discusses the money he has raised for the Shriner’s organization (over the last 7 seasons he has donated $23,700, $50 for each victory and save for the bullpen). I’ve always wanted to be a Shriner and envied those who are, but the fact that I own no fez, am not 90 years old, and have never been a fan of the circus, has proven prohibitive. But I have a hard time believing that the organization would retain its exclusivity when considering the application of the best friend of a generous donor. That and his glasses make him look friendly.

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