I worked for the Rio Grande Valley WhiteWings baseball team (now the Harlingen WhiteWings) as the Director of Media/Community Relations during the 2001 season. It was an interesting and difficult season to work for the WhiteWings and to be quite honest, I didn’t like Harlingen very much. One season in the Valley was plenty. But I still had fun and wouldn’t trade it for anything.
One afternoon before we headed to Edinburg for a game against the Roadrunners, we were sitting around the office shooting the breeze a little bit with our team’s manager, Boston Red Sox hall-of-famer and one of the greatest characters I have ever known, George “The Boomer” Scott.
Once a great player for the Sox, The Boomer was a gruff, overweight, old school kind of a baseball guy from Mississippi that unfortunately had some health problems and was never well liked by his players. No matter, he was still hilarious in his own, understated way. I can still here him walk into the office and yell at me “HEY BIG MAN,” I don’t think he ever knew my real name. “YOU FIND A PITCHER FOR ME YET?”
When we traveled the 30 miles to Edinburg for games we rented a couple vans for the team and a pickup truck for Boomer instead of the usual sleeper bus. But we noticed that Boomer was picking up the equipment and leaving at 11:30 or noon for a game giving him a good two or three extra hours to get to the ballpark. We were curious as to why he was leaving so early for ballgames and he explained that he had been going to a barbecue place in McAllen for lunch and to take it easy for a little while before the game.
“The owner of that place is a total asshole,” piped in our assistant GM, John. “They have good food, but he doesn’t sponsor us and is always a jerk when you talk to him.”
A silence settled over the room and after a long pause, Boomer, in all sincerity, broke it in the only way that The Boomer – keep in mind he’s a big, old school, Mississippi born African-American – could….
“Whell……Ah don’t go dere to find out that the man is an ass-HOLE. Ah go dere… for da CHICKEN!”
And with that….we lost it. I think I laughed for half an hour straight.
You’re the man Boomer, wherever you are. You might be the only reason I have any positive memories of my time with the WhiteWings.