Well, it’s Friday night in Rochester and I’m sure if I thought about it, I could come up with a few other places I’d rather be. But tonight Kevin Slowey is pitching against Jeff Niemann so this figures to be a very interesting match-up. But that’s not why I’m blogging [the equivalent of asking me to drag a razor blade over my eyeball]. I just finished an hour-long discussion with Joe Altobelli, the radio of voice of the Red Wings. He’s an icon up here, both from his playing and managing days. I’m working on a story for our Cracked Bats series that will run some time in the next few weeks about the Altobelli-managed team that won the 1971 Junior World Series and we had a wonderful conversation about that year. But we also spent quite a bit of time talking about his career, the players he has managed and played with and I came away very impressed. Alto is a wonderful man with a great bunch of stories to tell. I hope the people in upstate New York realize how lucky they are to have him here. He’s adopted Rochester as his home city — he’s actually from Detroit — and spoke so glowingly about it I may have to come back. Probably the coolest part of the conversation was when my cell phone rang and I looked at the number. It was Don Baylor calling. I had touched base with him earlier in the day to talk about that ’71 team because he was on the club. I got to know Don when I was covering the Mets and he was the hitting/bench coach. He’s another great guy but that’s a blog for another day. Anyway, when I saw who was on the phone, I handed it to Alto and had him answer it. The two obviously hadn’t spoken in a while and it was great to know that I helped facilitate their little catching up session.
Anyway, that’s my blog. Rochester is underrated as a city and has changed my whole impression of the Rust Belt here in upstate New York. I had lunch at the famous local joint The Dinosaur Barbecue with the team’s media relations director Chuck Hinkel and its director of broadcasting Josh Whetzel. Nothing beats a good barbecue, especially on Memorial Day weekend. Have a nice holiday everyone.