On The Road With Petey Pete: Hanging With The Herd At Lehigh Valley

It’s 8:00 AM in the beautiful Lehigh Valley. I just got to the ballpark after enjoying a delicious continental breakfast at the Super 8. Grounds in my coffee? Who cares? We got morning minor league baseball on tap, and the Bisons are throwing Matt Harvey today, and I’ll be sitting right behind homeplate. First pitch: 10:30 AM, I need more coffee, hold the grounds.

Yesterday I was standing in the Bisons clubhouse before the game telling Chris Schwinden that he would definitely be getting called back up to the bigs soon, especially the way he has pitched this season. We had a really nice conversation, about the fact that having been there already, the next time would be more familiar, and he will be more comfortable, and he agreed. Little did I know, or he for that matter, that within the next 45 minutes he would be summoned to the big leagues.

I spoke with Dylan Owen who like Schwinden, I had interviewed this past winter for MMO. Dylan was pitching in Venezuela at the time, and it was great to meet both those guys in person. I congratulated Owen on his historical home run the other day, and kidded him about his home run trot. I believe he’ll step into the Bison rotation now that Schwinny has been called up, but I’ll try to get verification from Wally in a few minutes.

Speaking of Wally Backman. He was very gracious and invited me into his office for a sit-down interview yesterday. He is absolutely awesome to talk to, very candid, very engaging, a real astute baseball man. I can’t wait to bring you the interview here in it’s entirety in the future. I also interviewed Ryne Sandberg, and asked him a bunch of questions Joe D sent along to me. Sandberg is a very interesting guy, and once I get the audio from the interview to Joe, he will be writing it up into a really cool interview piece too.

I just stopped writing this to meet and chat with Ben Wagner, the voice of the Bisons. Ben is a terrific guy, and I only wish we had time to talk more baseball, but he has to get ready for his broadcast.

Yesterday I had really nice talks with: Jeurys Familia, Val Pascucci, and Jeremy Hefner. I congratulated Hef on his big league debut the other night and told him he looked so good that he had started a buzz among Mets fans. He was glad to hear that, and is a real gentleman. He talked for a while about the different towns and ballparks out west in the PCL, Texas League and Midwest League, and it was very interesting to hear his impressions on playing out there.

Well I have about a half hour of clubhouse access before first pitch so I better get downstairs. I’ll be posting pieces from this trip over the next few weeks here on MMO, so stay tuned. This is Petey Pete, signing off from the Lehigh Valley.