Saturday, September 1, 2007

Consider me a Dave Bresnahan fan...

I love minor league baseball….I really do. A few years ago, I claimed my dream job would be “Minor League Baseball Baron”. Owning a minor league baseball team in small town America and peppering the games with zany promotions would be a dream come true. I’d be a poor man’s Bill Veeck, without all the smoking and Minnie Miñoso apperances. (Actually, I would totally let an old guy pitch a few innings per year. Pascual Perez or Oil Can Boyd are the leading candidates.)

As long as the team is doing well, I would imagine that the baseball baron would be a bit of a local celebrity…and that’s fine with me. I’d want to roll with the local heavyweights, like the charismatic/annoying used car dealer or the guy who played Division II college ball back in the day. When they go out, these are the people who get a little extra butter on their grits, no charge. That said, if I was a baseball baron and the team sucked, I’d probably get a little extra spit in my grits as well. That is not a good thing.

The reason I love minor league baseball has a lot to do with hijinks like this:

Tater toss

Yahoo’s Jeff Passan tells us about the story of Dave Bresnahan, and the potato toss caper which took place 20 years ago yesterday. (I must say, when I first read the 20 years ago part, I thought to myself “Wow….what a prankster. The mid-70s must have been great.” Then I realized that 20 years ago was 1987. That wasn’t that long ago. I am getting old.)

Sorry, back to Dave Bresnahan. You can read all the awesome details in the story, but the short version is this: Dave Bresnahan was an ultra light-hitting (.149) catcher for the Double-A Williamsport Bills. [GO BILLS!] As the season was winding down, he decided to smuggle a peeled potato out on the field and attempt to pick-off a runner on 3rd with it. He purposely threw the ball away, and tag out the advancing runner with the real ball, which was still in his glove. In my opinion, it’s genius.

The result? The runner was awarded home. Bresnahan was pulled from the game and fined a whopping $50. The next day he was released by the organization….which isn’t really surprising considering he was hitting a buck forty nine.

Now THAT is going out in a blaze of glory. (Internet rumour suggests that Jon Bon Jovi was inspired by this incident when writing the song of the same name.) The season was winding down, and I would imagine that Bresnahan knew he wasn’t going to make the bigs. So, he decides to line up one last caper

Fast forward 20 years. Bresnahan claims that people still ask him about the potato every day, (he’s probably big in Idaho.) He’s got his own bobblehead! How great is having that kind of novelty, harmless notoriety? It’s a much better legacy than just being known as a catcher who couldn’t hit.

If I were a minor league baseball baron, this type of behaviour would totally fly on my team. It would be rewarded with Applebees gift certificates and good seats on the bus. That is unless we were in a pennant race….then you’d be punished by having to wash my Cadillac…I would DEFINITELY drive a Caddy.

1 comment:

  1. haha that's kinda weird that's my uncle haha


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