Sunday, April 6, 2008

Tales From the Can

Last night, it was my great good fortune to be at a wedding where I was seated next to a gentleman whose son had recently spent a couple of seasons playing for the Brockton Rocks, an independent minor league team whose best-known player was the much-loved Oil Can Boyd. Boyd, as you might know, was a righthander out of Meridian, Mississippi, went about six-four, 150 pounds, and pitched for the Red Sox back in the 1980s. And his name was Oil Can.

Anyway, this gentleman's son, whose name is Brad, was going up to bat in his first game for the Rocks (and I make no claims as to the accuracy of this story, as I am just relating what was told to me), and Oil Can called him aside and said, "Changeup on the first pitch."

Brad said to him, "What are you talking about? Nobody throws a changeup on the first pitch."

"Rook, I've been playing this game longer than you've been alive," Oil Can said. "Changeup on the first pitch."

So Brad went up to bat, sitting on the changeup on the very first pitch, and sure enough, that's exactly what he got. He blasted it for a home run (which, in reality, I doubt, though I don't doubt that he got a hit).

Next time up, Brad turned to Oil Can in the dugout and asked him what kind of pitch he should be looking for. Oil Can simply responded, "One tip per game."

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