Sox Seek Annie Savoy

1197319859Unless you’re an obsessive Baseball America reader, chances are if you know anything about the Carolina League you know it from Bull Durham. The peerless film starred Kevin Costner as grizzled veteran Crash Davis, Tim Robbins as goofy phenom Nuke LaLoosh, and Susan Sarandon as the greatest of all baseball Annie’s: Annie Savoy.

The film was letter-perfect in its depiction of small-town minor league baseball as long as you discount two literary devices. One, no player as old as Crash would have been allowed to play in the league, and two there is no such thing as a baseball groupie who looks like Susan Sarandon. Regardless, it appears the Red Sox want to buy in. The Herald reports that Fenway Sports Group is buying the Salem Avalanche of the Carolina League.

In one of my many journalistic forays before coming here, I covered the Prince William Cannons in the Carolina League. It was there that I learned the ropes of covering pro ball. Like the time a young Rick Ankiel told me to go F-myself. Or the time I conducted an interview with an entirely-naked hitting coach for Winston-Salem, who in fairness, was sitting behind his desk the whole time.

Mainly I remember trying to find a bar that stayed open after deadline in places like Lynchburg, Virginia (home of Jerry Falwell). Those were good times.

This is not the Sox first foray into the Carolina League. They had a brief, and ultimately, ill-fated agreement with Wilmington (home of the best pseudo-mascot in minor league sports, Mr. Celery.) Longtime Sox fans will also recall that the team had affiliate agreements with Lynchburg, Winston-Salem, and others in the league as well.

The Houston Astros are currently the affiliates for Salem, and are expected to remain so until 2009 when it is presumed the Sox will move in.

Salem was actually one of the more enjoyable stops on the circuit, and if you make the trip, we heartily recommend Bobbi Jo’s Pancake House.