This season, all the Pawtucket uniforms will have a patch on the sleeve that says 'BEN' in honor of Ben Mondor. This will officially be the coldest and most heartbreaking opening day I've ever attended. It's killing me that Jim Martin won't be the PA guy for this. I know he retired, but can't he do this one last thing? FOR ME?

Jorge Jimenez was released. Remember him from last year? Me, not really. He was like a phantom. Sure, I penciled his name in the lineup day after day, but he lacked any sizzle or snap. Forgettable.

Lenny Dinardo's out, too, but who needs all that when you have the unstoppable lefty power of Rich Hill? I'm sure Hill's not thrilled about being sent down, but I'll be glad to see him.

It's getting close...


"Knock knock." "Who's there?" "The Reverend."

I wouldn't normally do this kind of thing, but it's for KP and I owe her like a million favors and really, I have seen this enjoyable combo and I have no qualms about doing a little promo. And you know what, it involves members of the Blackstone Valley Media Club so LET'S DO IT!!!

I didn't have the heart to say that no one really reads my blog. Regardless, best of luck to Reverend Bastien and his Congregation of the Traveling Empire.

via email:

"I've enrolled us in a contest to play at the warped tour this year. I need all the votes i can muster up. So spread the word if you can or get everyone you can to vote. It only takes a minute. The reality of it too is we don't need the most votes to win. We just need enough to reach the top 100 to be reviewed to play. So a possibility is there.... thanks!"

Link so you can vote

Also, some Prov. Phoenix voting...


Ramp Champ #30: Nomar Garciaparra

Nomar Garciaparra is an iconic shortstop who played for the Pawtucket Red Sox in 1996, with a smattering of rehab-style games in 2001 and 2004. He was only 22.

It's 1996. Stand by for adventure! I'm sure the music people (God bless them, if I had to play half the crap they did I'm not sure I could live with myself) were playing Seal's cover of 'Fly Like an Eagle'. Can money pay for all the days they lived awake but half asleep? Garciaparra was standing Rhode Island kidz on their ears with his offense.

In 43 games, Garciaparra hit 16 home runs. Crazy, right? He batted .343 with a .733 slugging percentage. OPS 1.120. I mean, it was only 43 games, but still. Heady times for PawSox attendees. THIS TOWN IS FUCKING INSANE.

Two things:
1. Former PawSox manager Buddy Bailey had this to say about the Garciaparra trade in '04: ""You know the organization has done what it thinks is in the best interest to try to put the right pieces together for not only this year but down the road. And, put us in a position to win a world championship. The decisions are based on the well-being of the club and that's why GMs make the decisions." [sic] - Providence paper
2. "Nomar showed up for work with the Triple-A PawSox about thirty pounds heavier, all muscle. Hits that had gone “crack” the year before now went “woomph.” He had 16 home runs in 43 games with Pawtucket before getting hurt, and everyone knows the rest of the story." - from Mike "Mount" Ashmore's Thunder Thoughts WHAT ARE YOU IMPLYING, ASHMORE?!1!!!ONE!

Nomar Garciaparra's exquisite mural is located in the lobby of the first base tower. It does not do him justice, as he is easily one of the Red Sox players I most wanted to have intimate relations with. Yeah, I said it. So fucking hot in his day. I saw him stretching out in left field during my first ever spring training game and I almost blacked out.

Okay, see you tomorrow?


Direct quote of what Bill Lee said to me at McCoy Stadium in the year 2009

"Mas despacio, por favor!"

everything is easy

It's official. I have booked my Super Secret International League Vacation. Some people know where I am going. Most do not. People who know must not let on to anyone in the PawSox organization or any of the local media because I am planning something... Explosive. Let's just say this trip will be... The Bomb. What I'm saying is I expect my vacation will be... Dynamite. Excuse me while I listen to the Def Leppard CD containing the hit track "Photograph".

Also, expect me at the Welcome Back Luncheon at Rhode Island's most lame banquet venue. They should have it at a bar, so people can REALLY enjoy themselves. I'm only going because Bill Lee will be there. I'll bet he's got a flask! I'll bet he's the least stoned person in the facility, too!

In many ways, I am the most famous person in Rhode Island.

Oh! Oh! Is Jose Iglesias coming to Pawtucket? That would be enough for me. He can erase the memories of Travis Denker and Edgar Martinez and Chad Spann and Kris Johnson. I saw him on TV and they said he'd only started learning English a year ago. And he is just fucking nailing it. You take a foreign language for 365 days and let's see what your proficiency is. Not even close, Bud.


Ramp Champ #29: Rich Garces

Rich Garces is a right-handed pitcher who played for the Pawtucket Red Sox in 1996, 1997, 1998, and 1999. That is impressive. Give him the key to the city, Mayor Doyle! Too bad Garces is missing out on Pawtucket eventually becoming a major legal marijuana hub. What a time we live in!

Garces' first Pawtucket year, 1996, saw him pitching a little over 15 innings in relief. He got zero losses, which is more than I can say for guys like TJ Large. Garces was 25 years old at the time.

In 1997, Garces had 26 relief appearances and got five saves. I don't even think my psyche could handle watching RG trot out from the bullpen. It must have brought the house down. If only someone had filmed it.... I could loop it and watch it over and over. Here he comes!

The next year Garces only appeared in seven games, but SPACE! 1999 was another big time Pawtucket season for him. Twenty-one appearances and seven saves. With zero losses! What the fuck was I doing with my life in 1999 that I was missing all of this? Oh God, it's the year 'Smooth' came out! They're still playing that goddamn song!!! GAAAAH IT'S THE YEAR 'MEET VIRGINIA' CAME OUT! Turn it off, man, turn it off!

And that was it for Rich Garces' Pawtucket career. He missed out on the whole Division St Bridge mess.

Two things:
1. "my favorite player all time has got to be Rich Garces... every time he pitched i cracked up... he would have to take a break half way from the bullpen to the pound [sic] because he was so tired.. what a funny person." posted by 'Steinbrennerisanazi' on Talksox message board
2. The nickname 'El Guapo' originated right here in Pawtucket. You can thank Mike Maddux for that, and also thank him for remembering to bring the napkins.

Rich Garces' mural is located in the upper portion of the third base tower.

Note: TJ Large is gone. I think I knew that already but forgot.

Also: Isn't this mural project fantastic? It's a lot of work! I am doing such a great job. WITH NO RECOGNITION. I think I should be on television. Let me just take some vitamins so I can fit into my red dress...


Ramp Champ #28: John Flaherty

John Flaherty is a catcher who played for the Pawtucket Red Sox over and over and over. 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993. I can still hear Jim Martin calling his name...

Flaherty's first stint was in 1993. Wait, that can't be right. 1990. He played in 99 games and had problems with red balloons. He was 22 and put up crappy numbers. Why? Why was he not in double-A? It would be cool if you could answer my question.

In 1991, Flaherty did indeed do his time in double-A, only playing 45 Pawtucket games. OBP .257... BA .186... ZZZZZ... All of that and more in '92.

Flaherty got his work in at last in 1993, playing in 105 games and getting his best numbers in triple-A! Baby steps, I guess. He did set the record twice for fewest passed balls in a season, so you can see where his value lay.

In 2006, John Flaherty was a Boston spring training invitee and would have likely wound up BACK! in Pawtucket, but opted to retire instead. So Ken Huckaby is totally his fault. Thanks for this, JF. A lot of people thought Flaherty was a contender for catching Wake's knuckleball. It was an admittedly simpler time.

Two things:
1. "I lived upstairs from his brother Keith Flaherty when I was going to Hartwick College. John was still playing minor league ball for the Red Sox in Pawtucket. He came to visit Keith and went out for a few beers one weekend with us. John was a super nice guy, as was Keith." - comedian Paul C Morrissey
2. Flaherty was Pawtucket's MVP in 1993. "He threw out 39 of 85 base stealers (45.9 percent) and had 12 pickoffs at Pawtucket. ``He can catch and throw with anyone,'' [Butch] Hobson said." - Hartford paper

John Flaherty's mural is located in the upper portion of the third base tower, which means I have never seen it. Hie thee.


Ramp Champ #27: Carlton Fisk

Carlton Fisk is a catcher who played for the Pawtucket Red Sox in 1970, when they were a humble double-A team. He was 22 years old.

Through 93 games, Fisk batted .229 with 12 home runs. He had seven errors and ten passed balls.

Two things:
1. In the year 2000, the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations officially passed a senate resolution congratulating Fisk's admission to the HOF. Please call Tele-Times to gripe about 'our tax dollars at work'. Whereas.
2. "Almost without end." Carlton Fisk, concrete, and JD Salinger.

Carlton Fisk: Lobby. First base tower. Me. You. Wine. Crackers. Leo Sayer. Concrete. Be there.


Have fun, you guys, and try not to puke.


Ian Snell secretly wanted to be a DJ.

Ian Snell retired and I only mention this because he was one of my all-time favorite McCoy visitors. I don't usually go out of my way to talk to players, but Snell, yeah, I waited for him after the game! I wanted to ask him about the WBC!

I am surprised but not shocked about Snell's retirement. He was a complicated man.

Brendan Donnelly has also quit. And now I have a hole in my heart. Also joint swelling, stiffness and fatigue. Is it lupus?

Probably not. Probably not.


Ramp CHAMP! Mark Fidrych is number 26.

There once was a time when baseball players weren't interchangeable meathead jocks with crappy taste in music and an inflated sense of self-worth. At least, that's how I see it. (Not you, Abe Alvarez.)

Mark Fidrych was a right-handed pitcher who was a Pawtucket guy in 1982-83. He was 27-28 and out of the big leagues for good...

In '82, MF got 19 starts and went 6-8 with two complete games. On July 1st, he faced Columbus opposing pitcher Dave Righetti and it brought the fucking house down. Fidrych pitched the whole game to a Pawtucket win over the Clankees. And it was baseball nirvana in little Pawtucket for the record crowd at the old McCoy. AND I MISSED IT!!! (Watch the video, Rhode Island people. It will knock you out.)

1983 would be the last year of pro ball for Fidrych. He played in 12 games, started eight of them. His ERA was 9.68.

Two things:
1. Jesus Christ. Try reading this story about Fidrych's time in Pawtucket without welling up. Well done, Jim Donaldson.
2. DAMN! Check out a fan's remarkable account of their time at McCoy feat. M. Fidrych and the historic pitching match-up. Great stuff.

I have to stop, this is too hard. I imagine this will easily be the saddest mural profile I will do. Endless thanks to Lil' Rhody Dan for letting me use his superlative McCoy snaps. Pay your respects in the middle of the first base tower.


Ramp Champ #25: Jacoby Ellsbury

Jacoby Ellsbury is an outfielder who played in Pawtucket in 2007. He was 23 years old.

Through his 87 games in Pawtucket, Jerkberry batted .298 and struck out more than he walked (47 K, 32 BB). He stole 33 bases, placing him in a tie for second in the International League. He was tied with... Darnell McDonald! The dude in first stole 34, but it was in 118 games, so... Well, mathematically, Ellsbury stole .379 per game and the other dude stole .288. Which is a useless number because how do you steal less than one base but more than zero bases per game? I think I've made my point, though. I just expressed it poorly.

Oh, wait, Ellsbury rehabbed in 2010. Four games. He went 5-17. And, oh christ, the controversy.

Two things:
Ohkay, first of all, I LOOOOVE Jacoby Ellsbury! He is the MOST VALUABLE PLAYER on the RED SOX. And by the way, thanks (i (heart) Jacoby Ellsbury) for the email address.

And on your home page it says you were gunna keep things up to date, which you didn't! One of your pages say he's twenty three. He's TWENTY-SIX! And on one page it says he's 186 pounds, when on another page it says he's 185.

YOU DON'T DESERVE TO HAVE THIS SITE NAME! Delete the site so I can make a site called www.jacobyellsbury.webs.com, because mine would actually keeps it's promises and keep him up to date!
- source

2. When Ellsbury rehabbed in 2010, it was on Jacoby Ellsbury Bobblehead Night. It was the first time a player appeared simultaneously with his bobblehead.

And separately, but relatedly, here are some Ellsbury quotes written by ME almost four years ago now:
1. "His mom made the best fry bread..."
2. "Jacoby Ellsbury update: Ellsbury singled, doubled, tripled, and stole a base. He also scrapes his cleats cleaner than anyone on the team."
3. "Ellsbury stole a base. Pfft. One-trick pony."
4. "Bobby Livingston pitched the first complete game shutout for Louisville in three years. Jacoby Ellsbury beat out a bunt to first in the sixth inning and then got caught in a rundown. Ellsbury eluded the tag, though. Livingston had this to say: 'Jacoby's a fast guy. When I swung the tag he juked me. I tried to dive back and put my glove in front of the bag, but he beat me to it.' Wow, juked by Ellsbury!"

Jacoby Ellsbury's in the middle of the first base tower. Paz afuera!


Ramp Champ #24: David Eckstein

David Eckstein is an infielder who played for the Pawtucket Red Sox in 2000. He was 25.

Through 119 Pawtucket games, Eckstein batted .246 with 20 doubles. He hit one lonely home run.

Two things:
1. David Eckstein is the all-time Pawtucket Hit By Pitch leader (and, evidently, the International League leader as well) with 20 in one season. Second place (10 HBP) is not even close. This is what happens when you don't drink beer.
2. Please enjoy this story about Eckstein's horrible Pawtucket slump. The hitting coach was not Arnie Beyeler... It was Gary Biagini.

David Eckstein's picture is in the middle portion of the home plate tower.


Ramp... Champ? 23: Steve Dillard

Steve Dillard is an infielder who played for the Pawtucket Red Sox in 1974 and 1975. And in 1976, but they were called the Rhode Island Red Sox at the time. The plasma center is only open on Mondays and Tuesdays and Wednesdays and Thursdays and Fridays. Saturday and Sunday they're closed.

In 1974, at age 23, Dillard exploded with a mighty crash from Double-A Bristol, playing 90 Pawtucket games. He had 89 hits, 30 for for extra bases.

The next season (75), Dildo once again split time between double and triple A. Either way, he only hit one home run all told. His OBP was only .282. He struck out a lot and must have wondered how it ever got this crazy.

Okay, 1976, I see where this is going. Light-hitting infielder. That's the sad, sad truth... The dirty lowdown! Once again, Dillard batted like .230... One home run through 34 games... 10 walks and 16 strikeouts. No wonder he was called up! Fucking Jerry Remy wannabe.

Two things:
1. Steve Dillard got consecutive hits in his first two big league at-bats in 1975. No other Boston player did that until fucking Chris Carter did in 2008. I hate Chris Carter. I hate him even more because everyone else slobbers all over him. I hate him so much. Maybe even more than I hate Tom Caron. I hate Chris Carter and everything he represents. I hate his fake affected limp, like he is some kind of sports hero. Go ahead and tell me I'm wrong and what an exceptional guy he is. That will only make me hate him more. Do you know how angry it made me when he came to the park as a visiting player and they played his old at-bat song?

To paraphrase Eric Cartman: "Well FUCK YOU, [Carter]! I hope you die! I hope you fucking die!"

2. "Steve Dillard 9/9 AWESOME guy- one of the nicest managers I've seen in recent times" (source)- Dillard has done some low-level managing in recent years.

I'm not going to bother telling you where to find Dillard. Unless you can prove to me that he is remotely interesting. You know where to find me.


Ramp Champ #22: Bo Diaz

Bo Diaz was a catcher who played for Pawtucket in 1976-77.

1976 - Diaz played in 62 Pawtucket games. He batted .248 and hit four home runs.

1977 - At age 24, Diaz played in 104 games. He played catcher in every single one of them. Diaz placed first in the International League for games caught that season. I hope you find that fascinating, because it took a lot of stats sifting to come up with that. Like, you can't just look up games played by position in a minor league season.

Two things:
1. 'The Flagrant Fan' blog has a post about catchers who don't walk very often that includes Bo Diaz. I enjoyed reading it and maybe you will, too.
2. Video of Diaz talking about setting up to call pitches and receive them and other catcher jobs.

I know my 'Two Things' entries are not really Pawtucket related, but it was slim pickins.

Bo Diaz died in 1990 at age 37 while installing a satellite on his rooftop. Wicked sad. You can check out his mural in the middle portion of the first base tower.


Bobs Rodgers and Tewksbury

I used to know this guy named TJ. He was from Connecticut.

He started taking classes in Boston and one day he was all, 'Guess who's in one of my classes?'

Bob Tewksbury. Who was doing televised sports stuff for the Red Sox and really really really seemed dorky. TJ said he was really tall and raised his hand a lot.

Well, who's the dork now? Every other pitcher in the system who struggles at some point says, "And then I had a long talk with Tewks and it really helped me."

I once saw Tewks in Pawtucket wearing a leather blazer. It made me uncomfortable.

McCoy Mural #21: Manny Delcarmen

How can you resist Manny's luscious pout? The dark, hot chocolate eyes? I'll bet the girls chase him plenty! I think I'll call him and hang up when he answers.

Manny Delcarmen is a righty reliever who pitched in 45 games from 2005-2007. I thought maybe he started a few games, but ding dong, I'm wrong. MANNY DELCARMEN DID NOT START A SINGLE GAME IN PAWTUCKET!!! Maybe I am thinking of Papelbon.

In '05, Delcarmen put up a tidy 1.29 ERA through 21 relief innings. He had two saves.

Next season, Delcarmen started off in Pawtucket, but was only there for about a month before being called up. He had 19 K's though ten games.

In 2007, Delcarmen set up deep camp in Pawtucket, pitching in 20 games. Half of them were closerish appearances. His strikeout/walk ratio was 6.24. Are you surprised? I am. Especially since he was hanging out with noted failure Craig Hansen.

And through all of that, Manny Delcarmen gave up only one home run. Remarkable.

Two things:
1. Read this story again, please, because it's terrific. RJ smacks up Delcarmen! Stinko de Mayo!
Favorite food: Pizza
Favorite TV Show: Fresh Prince of Bel Air
Favorite Movie: Bad Boys 1 and 2
Favorite Musical Artist: Eminem
Favorite Video Game: baseball games
Favorite Celebrity: Will Ferrell
Favorite Hobby: candlepin bowling
Favorite City: Toronto
Favorite Sports Moment: Making my dream come true and pitching at Fenway Park for the Red Sox
Favorite Athlete: Pedro Martinez
Best Friend in Baseball: Charlie Zink and Craig Hansen

Says here that Manny Delcarmen's image is not yet a McCoy reality, so I have no location for it. Except for that little spot he has in my heart.



Brian Daubach is number 20!

I get stupid, I mean outrageous. Brian Daubach is a first baseman who played in 103 Pawtucket games: Nine games in 1999, one game in 2001, and 93 games in 2004. 2004, hmm, why does that year stick out for me?

2004 - Daubach was signed as a free agent by Boston after he went and played for Chicago and stuff. He spent most of the season in Pawtucket and hit 21 home runs in 93 games. Daubach shared his first base time with Earl Snyder. I am atremble with nostalgia and yearning.

Daubach was second on the team that year in OPS and RBI and number one in IBB, because his power was so frightening.

Two things:
1. Daubach did not expect to be sent to Pawtucket in '04, but Boston wanted a third catcher (Andy Dominique). "I was surprised. Probably for the first time in my career it snuck up on me," Daubach said. - source
2. "Daubach was voted a half share for the 30 games that he played in 2004 before being designated for assignment on June 6 to Triple-A Pawtucket. He will get a World Series ring." - Sun Sentinal

If you want to press your boobs up against Daubach's mural, get yourself to the middle portion of the first base tower.