Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Tuesday Sports Short: When the 2nd inning is too late

Have you ever had that dream where you are supposed to be somewhere important, then you look down at the clock and realize you are late? Then comes the revelation that you are in your PJ's. Add Atlanta traffic, a language barrier, and one confused pitcher and you have the story of Pascual Perez.

On August 19th, 1982 the Atlanta Braves called up Perez from the minor leagues. The animated Dominican born pitcher was soon to become a fan favorite in Atlanta. And it was all supposed to start against the Montreal Expos. He was penciled in as Atlanta’s starting pitcher.

That same day the 25-year-old, who spoke little English, had qualified for his Georgia driver’s license. On top of the World with a new license in hand and a major league debut at hand Perez began his commute to the Ball Park. However, as he tried to navigate his way around the Atlanta area he got lost. Perez drove around, and around, and around…

Three times Perez circled Atlanta on I-285 each time missing the exit for old Fulton County Stadium. He drove for so long that he actually ran out of Gas. Realizing that he had no money, he convinced a gas station attendant to loan him 10$.

Finally Perez made it to the Stadium, and just in time to see the 2nd inning. In his stead, Atlanta legend Phil Niekro was called on to pitch. Niekro, with his knuckleball, won the game. The following night Perez finally made his Big League Debut. He made it to the park on time, pitched all the way into the 10th inning, and won 2-1.

Perez’s teammates never let him live down the incident. In a manner typical to rookie hazing the Braves made every effort to make sure that no one else would ever forget the start that never was. The Braves players presented Perez with a brand new warm-up jacket to use for the rest of the season. The back of the jacket read: “I-285.”


Blogger Morgan said...

hey man, thanks for the comment! go vote in the new poll, haha.

13/9/05 3:24 AM  

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