Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Gettin' Away

I've often thought it would make a good book or at least an article for someone to tag along with players on their rare, in-season off days and see how they spend their time. No, not to expose debauchery, but to see the lengths -- great or otherwise -- players will go to to have some fun, wile away the time, or, in the case of Ron Villone, see their families:
He was standing down the right-field line, taking pictures of his son playing baseball. He looked like any other father watching a travel baseball game in River Vale, N.J. The difference between this father and every other parent was that he is actually a major league pitcher. He is Ron Villone.

As I watched Kyle, my nephew, play center field for River Vale on Monday night, I spotted Villone. I knew Ron Villone Jr. plays shortstop for the team. But, since his father has a full-time job with the St. Louis Cardinals, I didn’t expect to see him there. The Cardinals had a day off, so Villone traveled to New Jersey and was a picture-taking father instead of a left-handed reliever.
No, it wasn't a superhuman effort for Villone to drive the 112 miles up from Philadelphia where the Cards landed Sunday night in advance of their series with the Phillies, but it was an effort, and one which you know Villone doesn't get the opportunity to take very often during the season.

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