The Red Sox signed Dan Wheeler to a one-year contract. Good move by the Bostons. Wheeler has been a serviceable relief pitcher for the Rays, Mets, Astros and Rays again. He throws strikes and will be a good set-up man in the Red Sox pen.
When I think of Wheeler though I think back to 1997 when he was pitching for the Hudson Valley Renegades in the NY-Penn League. I was the team broadcaster and Wheeler and another pitcher named Jon Cummins got into a fight in the bullpen in Auburn, New York.
The Renegades manager Julio Garcia was mad at me reporting the fight. What should I have done? Ignored it? The fight even delayed the game for several minutes.
As for the winner? Wheeler by a decision.
Two years later, Wheeler was in the bigs with the Devil Rays. He's had an 11-year Major League career thus far and has made over 13-million dollars and counting.
Cummins? He was out of baseball after the next season, done in by an ERA over 6.
It wasn't surprising. Cummins focus wasn't on baseball. I remember the coaching staff warned him about his partying ways. They told him to concentrate on baseball and not the night life. The next night, after warning Cummins, the coaches went out for a late meal and at the tavern saw a guy singing Karaoke. It was Cummins.