Wings' GM eyes relief from 12-game skid

Mason sleeping in tent in bullpen until team ends record losing streak

Minor-league notebook

August 05, 2002|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

TORONTO - "Hi, this is Dan, I'm either on my phone or away from my tent at this time."

That was the message greeting callers to Dan Mason's office last week, a message he hoped to erase by now.

Mason, the general manager at Triple-A Rochester, agreed Wednesday to sleep in a tent in the Red Wings' bullpen until they won a game. Rochester lost again yesterday, setting a Red Wings record for consecutive defeats at 12.

A master at promotions, Mason borrowed a blanket from the equipment manager and took two pillows from the couch in his office. As the streak continued this weekend, a bedding company donated a box spring and mattress.

The tent idea came from Mason's wife, Sheila, while they returned from a vacation in Cape Cod. Looking for ways to attract more attention to the team -most GMs would prefer keeping it hidden when playing this poorly - Mason accepted an unusual suggestion.

"She said, `Why not sleep over?' Before, if I did that, I'd have to get permission from her. I said, `All right, if it's OK with you.' We were confident enough in the team that I wouldn't have to do it, or it would just be for a night or two."

It has been a little more than Mason bargained for. Train tracks are located about 40 yards beyond the bullpen, and the noise limits him to short naps.

"That was one of the things I sincerely did not consider when I opened my big mouth," he said, laughing. "I thought maybe the trains would stop after midnight, but they run every 20 minutes and there's no sleeping through that. The whole ground shakes. It's like being in California.

"I guess you can say I sleep like a baby. I wake up every 20 minutes."

He also wasn't aware of the crow that shows up at 6 every morning, announcing its presence in a screeching tone.

Infielder Brian Roberts took pity on Mason and agreed to join him in the bullpen after Saturday's loss. "I know the players feel bad," Mason said. "I go down to the clubhouse before and after games, and some of the guys can barely look at me."

A group of fans sitting on the third-base side of Frontier Field sent Sheila a large bouquet of flowers during Saturday's game with a sympathy card attached. After Thursday afternoon's loss, Mason rushed home to greet her and their kids "so they'd remember who I was."

Trailing 4-3 in the ninth inning the previous night, Rochester put runners on second and third with one out, but couldn't score. The loss began Mason's unique camping excursion.

Yesterday, the Red Wings tried to end the streak against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre --- a team Mason describes as "the best in the minor leagues."

"Yeah, my odds are getting better," he said.

Mason lost his comfortable bed, but not his sense of humor.

Triple-A Rochester

The Orioles released first baseman Luis De Los Santos and reliever Justin Atchley from Rochester. First baseman Franky Figueroa was promoted to the Red Wings from Single-A Frederick, reversing a move earlier this season when he was sent down to the Keys. Figueroa was batting .257 with three homers and 29 RBIs in 48 games. ... Catchers Fernando Lunar (strained right hamstring) and Mike Hubbard (sore left wrist) went on the disabled list. Catchers Izzy Molina and Trey Salinas were promoted from Double-A Bowie. Salinas spent a brief period in Rochester this season, and also has played for Frederick. ... Josh Towers fell to 0-7 last Monday after allowing eight earned runs and 11 hits in 3 2/3 innings. ... Sean Douglass allowed four earned runs in 4 2/3 innings to take the loss Friday. ... Roberts batted .371 during an eight-game hitting streak. ... Former No. 1 pick Darnell McDonald injured his shoulder while making a diving catch on July 28 and was listed as day-to-day. ... Eddy Garabito went 10-for-18 in a four-game series against Columbus.

Double-A Bowie

Matt Riley held Altoona to one hit and struck out five over 4 1/3 innings Saturday, then gave up seven straight hits during a five-run inning. ... Outfielder Luis Matos went 10-for-17 (.588) in a five-game stretch last week. ... Former No. 1 pick Keith Reed hit his 14th homer last Monday, but another top-round pick, Mike Paradis, walked eight batters in five innings in Bowie's 5-4 loss to Reading. ... Juan Figueroa has a 3.32 ERA in three starts since returning to the Baysox from Frederick on July 22. His ERA was 27.00 in two earlier starts with the Baysox before the Orioles moved him to Single-A. ... Making his second start since being promoted, catcher Eli Whiteside went 2-for-4 with a double, an RBI and a run scored in Tuesday's 5-3 loss to Reading.

Single-A Frederick

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