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Sunday, February 23, 2014

“Gamesmanship” Kicks off RMEF Habitat Council’s Arizona Meeting

RMEF comes up a winner on the stadium scoreboard
It doesn’t take much to bring out the boy in the man. All he needs is an audience to play to and the opportunity to recall, reminisce, maybe stretch the truth a hair and then let the punch lines fly.

Two characters from America’s past-time shared center stage at an evening reception at the February meeting of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation’s Habitat Council.

David Allen
Truth be told, the common denominator or key cog in what was more accurately a three-ring circus was RMEF President/CEO David Allen. Allen is a long-time friend of former major league pitcher Rick Sutcliffe. Sutcliffe, for his part, brought along current San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy. 

Rick Sutcliffe
(via Sports Illustrated)
Fittingly enough, the setting was the pavilion of Camelback Ranch Stadium in suburban Phoenix, Spring Training home of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago White Sox. Allen was first to take to the microphone. One-liners led to punch lines and story after story about Sutcliffe’s past, both off and on the field. Sutcliffe revved up the roast by returning fire on Allen and then immediately taking pot shots at his friend, Bochy. 

Bochy, ever the diplomat, used a strategic game plan to chart his course of action, something definitely not foreign to the man who led the Giants to World Series championships in both 2010 and 2012. He worked the larger RMEF crowd that, in addition to Habitat Council members, also included RMEF board members, staffers and others.

Bruce Bochy
(via Hardballtimes.com)
“My passion is hunting. A former teammate of mine, Goose Gossage, had a ranch in Colorado. We used it as therapy for after the season,” said Bochy. “In my office in San Francisco, I’m the only manager with an elk head hanging in his office. I applaud you for what you do. It’s really an honor for me to be here.”

With the onlookers clearly on his side, Bochy then recalibrated his tactics, put Sutcliffe in the crosshairs and went in for the kill.

Bochy (left) unleashes a zinger at Sutcliffe
“There was a story in Cincinnati where Rick was having a tough day on the mound. Back then when a hitter hit a home run, all these fireworks would go off. He was getting the ball up that day and a hitter named Paul O’Neill hits a home run and all the fireworks are going off, ‘Boom! Boom!’ Then the next hitter, the next pitch, Eric Davis. He hits a home run and they’re just going off, ‘Boom! Boom! Boom!’ Smoke everywhere! You can’t hardly see! Here comes Don Zimmer, the manager. He comes out there (to the mound). He’s a competitor. Rick doesn’t want to hear it from his manager so he says, ‘What in the hell are you going to tell me now?’ ‘I’m not here to tell you anything,’ said Zimmer. ‘I’m trying to give these guys a chance to reload out there!’”

Sutcliffe, a fellow lover of the outdoors, closed with a story about the late Harry Caray. And then, looking out to the RMEF crowd and with a simple acknowledgement of gratitude, he concluded by saying, “Thank you for all you do.”

All's well that ends well

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