As the associate head coach at Norwalk (Conn.) Community College, Patrick Vigilio enjoyed a front row seat to see Erik Bedard go from an unknown with tried-and-true Canadian roots to a bona fide staff ace.
â€śErik was a hockey player for the most part. Most kids in Canada are because they donâ€™t have high school baseball up there,â€ť recalled Vigilio in a telephone interview Friday. â€śHe was throwing in the mid 80s when he started out, but through hard work he was able to take his game to the next level, obviously.â€ť
BRISTOL, Ct. - Manager Dave Belisle considers every one of the 13 players on his Cumberland American All-Star roster a reason itâ€™s down in Bristol, Connecticut this weekend for the Eastern Regional Tournament, a reason it has an outside chance to earn a trip to Williamsport, Pa., for the Little League World Series
â€śWhat you see with this team is theyâ€™re picking each other up,â€ť Belisle said. â€śThere have been some situations where we looked like we were going to fold, but someone has picked the individuals up. Itâ€™s a team game. It just seems that one through 13 somebody contributed.
FOXBORO â€“ Tom Brady is especially glad heâ€™s not a rookie this year â€“ for a couple of reasons.
â€śNot only because their salaries got cut in half,â€ť said the New England Patriots quarterback, referencing the NFLâ€™s newly ratified collective bargaining agreement.
Rookies are also tasked with an accelerated acclimation to NFL life because of the leagueâ€™s 4 1/2-month lockout.
A week into his 12th training camp with the Patriots, Brady acknowledges that this one is unique.
LINCOLN --- Itâ€™s been nearly two months since Bruce Foster finished in a tie for second place with his brother, Jeff, at the 2011 Spartan Death Race, a 45-hour ultra-endurance test through a grueling 40-mile course in Pittsfield, Vt., but their accomplishment has still been the talk around Lincoln.
The brothersâ€™ success has also reached a point where workout enthusiasts of all ages, sizes, and abilities have asked them if they could train with them and follow the extra-tough training regimen they used to prepare for and succeed in the Death Race.
PAWTUCKET â€” It is August and baseballâ€™s various pennant races are beginning to take shape.
The Pawtucket Red Sox and their â€śparentâ€ť team in Boston are locked in battles for first place in their respective leagues. The PawSox are chasing Lehigh Valley for first place in the International League North while maintaining a slight edge on the Gwinnett Braves for the leagueâ€™s lone wild-card berth.
Former Pawtucket resident Mason Williams is leading the New York Penn League in batting average. The son of former Patriots wide receiver Derwin Williams is hitting .358 in the short-season Class A League while toiling for the Staten Island Yankees. He leads the league in hits, is tied for fourth in total bases and OPS, and has 16 steals in 42 games.
PAWTUCKET --- Edd Pedro has been a busy man these days. Very busy.
The namesake and driving force behind what will be the eighth edition of the Edd Pedro Wiffleball Tournament has been burning the midnight oil this week making final preparations for Sundayâ€™s mega-event at Slater Park.
â€śThis weekâ€™s been pretty crazy,â€ť Pedro said on Tuesday night during a break from his preparations. â€śIâ€™m up to midnight every night normally, and Iâ€™m just out in my garage working on something for the tournament.
CUMBERLAND - It's always the same. For most of his 30-plus years playing softball, nothingâ€™s changed for Kirby Murphy each time he faces an opposing pitcher.
Before he approaches the on-deck circle, he takes three warm-up swings with three different bats. He then walks near the batterâ€™s box with the bat that heâ€™s going to use and swings that three times. He then signals for a time out and takes two more swings inside the batterâ€™s box before heâ€™s ready to go.
PAWTUCKET â€“ It wasnâ€™t as if Kevin Millwood was deliberately ambiguous when asked if the veteran pitcher envisions finishing the season with the Pawtucket Red Sox. The simple answer is that Millwood doesnâ€™t have one.
â€śI donâ€™t know. Thatâ€™s kind of tough to answer right now,â€ť said a well-meaning Millwood after tossing a bullpen session Tuesday morning.
PAWTUCKET â€“ Nate Spears did more than achieve hero status after belting a game-ending two-run home run in Pawtucketâ€™s 4-3 win against Louisville Tuesday afternoon. Rewarded with his efforts with a shaving cream pie in the face â€“ courtesy of Michael Bowden, Luis Exposito and Ryan Lavarnway â€“ Spears reminded the masses that the PawSox feature contributors who may not appear on any prospect watch list, but they are just as instrumental to the cause.