Saturday, April 21, 2007

Can a midget swing a left-handed bat?

There are crazy jobs, and then there’s Jim Pfander's.

Pfander is the director of promotions for the Charleston RiverDogs – a team owned by the Goldklang Group, which counts Mike Veeck among its members. If you work for Veeck, you are going to end up doing some strange stuff.

Loyal readers may remember the note from about a week ago where Charleston was running around crazy because the midget who was going to take part in the post-game midget wrestling match was having trouble getting a flight out of Minnesota.

The Dugout talked with Pfander today for the first time since the zany midget madness. According to Pfander, the midget's plane arrived at the Charleston airport with two outs in the ninth inning.

The airport is about 20 minutes from the stadium. Pfander said an intern may have broken several speed records getting the midget to the park. The RiverDogs conducted their post-game ball tosses and other entertainment, then started stalling until their wrestler arrived. Just when Pfander through they were about to lose the crowd the midget came sprinting onto the field and into the ring. The crowd went nuts and a midget-wrestling induced riot was avoided. No one in the crowd ever knew there was a problem.

These kinds of episodes are the norm, not the exception, in Pfander's days.

The RiverDogs are holding a left-handed bat giveaway (think about it) in June. Since Charleston announced this promotion, Pfander has been receiving calls from concerned parents wondering if their right-handed hitting children will be able to use the left-handed bat.

He's got two more months worth of those phone calls to go.

Those kinds of stories are why The Dugout always gets excited when Charleston is in the running for the Promotion of the Day. Talking with Pfander is one of the best parts of the job.

Just a bit outside: The Dugout once again apologizes in advance from transgressing into the world of major league baseball, but something happened in the Florida-Washington game that needs to be noted.

Washington pitcher Matt Chico just threw the wildest pitch in the history of baseball. With runners on first and second, Chico's pitch sailed over the first-base dugout and into the stands. He missed the target by at least 100 feet. He was wide of the screen that protects fans from foul balls. Rick "Wild Thing" Vaughn and Harry Doyle would have been proud.

It's worth watching SportsCenter tonight if only to see the replay.

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