Kevin Gray's On Baseball: The Fisher Cat rules
MANCHESTER --- Don't say 'swag' or post any thoughts on Facebook or Twitter within 30 minutes before or after the game. You might get punched by Sal Fasano or have your iPad confiscated.
Those are just some of the team rules for the Fisher Cats, according to a clubhouse note posted by the manager. The Sons of Sal, rained out in Tuesday night's series opener against the Rock Cats, may have the worst home record (8-17) in Double-A, but at least they toe the line for the national anthem.
An edited version of the Fasano edict:
1. Be on time or face a $100 fine.
2. Respect the staff, coaches, trainers, video coordinator, clubhouse manager and bus driver.
3. Respect the players around you. Be a good teammate.
4. What goes on in the clubhouse stays in the clubhouse. No talking behind people's backs or telling others about our business.
5. Be professional. You represent yourself, your family and the Blue Jays.
6. Everyone toe the line for the national anthem.
7. Wear a collared shirt. We are close to the big leagues, so look like it.
8. Obey the organization's rules about facial hair.
9. Music is allowed. Starting pitcher decides on pregame music.
10. Can't use the word swag. 'It will result in a punch of my choice,' Fasano writes.
11. 'Reminder about DUI and DWI, and how hard it is to be a Toronto Blue Jays player because you have a hard time getting into Canada.'
12. No posting on Facebook or Twitter during a game or 30 minutes before or after a game. Fine: $500. 'And I will take the phone, pad or computer.'
Fasano, named Eastern League Manager of the Year last season, had a solid answer when asked about the 'Swag Rule' earlier this season.
'I want the guys to have more substance than style. If you have a lot of substance, you create your own style. That's why that word is not used in our clubhouse. It doesn't go good to a team atmosphere when a guy has that swagger. I'd rather have the workmanlike (player) with a blue collar,' he said.
Veteran catcher Brian Jeroloman, who has played for three managers with the Fisher Cats, said the rules are nothing out of the ordinary. The 'Swag Rule' also was enforced last season, though it wasn't posted on a corkboard for everyone to see.
'Nothing big. Everyone has clubhouse rules,' said Jeroloman, who believes the Fisher Cats are showing signs of turning the corner. 'We've got a great bunch of guys. We have some young guys that have come a long way since the season started. We just need a couple come-from-behind wins to get us going and have everything come together.'
A year ago on May 30, the Fisher Cats were riding a seven-game winning streak after improving to 34-16 in the Eastern League.
This year, the team is 20-29 and in danger of dropping to last place.
Fisher Cats owner Art Solomon, known to stress over wins and losses, is hopeful the team catches fire and makes another run to the postseason.
'I always like to win. We have incredible fans here who are passionate about the team. I'm passionate,' he said. 'It's a long season. It's only May. We have talent, but we've been inconsistent. Hopefully they can pull together. We're not so far behind that we can't challenge for one of the playoff spots.'
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GAME DAY: Right-hander Chad Jenkins (2-3, 5.03 ERA), activated from the disabled list on Tuesday, will get the start tonight against New Britain. The Twins affiliate sends to the mound righty B.J. Hermsen (2-1, 2.83 ERA) at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium. Game time for 'Guys Night Out' is 7:05. Hot dogs are $1 and domestic drafts $2.
Staff writer Kevin Gray covers pro baseball for the New Hampshire Union Leader and New Hampshire Sunday News. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org..