2011: A Chiefs Odyssey – Jason’s #7
#7 Do the Lombo Rock
On June 20th, the Chiefs succumbed to then 20-year-old Julio Teheran in an 8-2 loss at Gwinnett. That dropped Syracuse to 27-40 for the season. But, the buzz in the clubhouse was that a young man with notable baseball lineage was on the way to save the day. Enter Steve Lombardozzi – or, as we came to know him, Lombo.
I will give you five minutes to stop your torso from quivering. It’s catchy, ain’t it?
Steve Lombardozzi’s dad won a World Series with the Minnesota Twins in the ’80s. Sometimes, in baseball, one hears a name and thinks, “boy, I wonder if he’s related to _____” In this case, it was very obvious that Steve Jr. and Steve Sr. were kin. First, they have the same name. Major evidence. Also, they’re both infielders. And, I’ve heard they play the game rather like each other. Hard. Always.
When Steve Jr. got to the Chiefs, he was hitting .309 with the Double-A Harrisburg Senators. 23 of his 81 hits were for extra bases. It was conceivable that he would be an offensive savior. It was also possible his numbers might fade.
Randy Knorr thrust Lombardozzi into the starting lineup the first day Lombo showed up. Steve joined me on the pregame show from Georgia and told me he was “nervous.” That night, as the leadoff man, he had the first at-bat of the game. And he did this on an 0-2 count:
Lombardozzi hit in each of his first 11 games. He finished the year at .310 in Syracuse with 19 extra-base hits out of 91 total. Pretty darn consistent.
His only failing was an attempted pie to the face of Seth Bynum on TV one day. Lombardozzi sprinted from behind Bynum with a burgundy towel covered in shaving cream while Bynum was chatting with Steve Grilli and me. Lombardozzi smudged Bynum’s face with the towel, but upon looking back, realized that he used the wrong part of the towel and Bynum was clean. Bad move, rookie. Lombardozzi got creamed later.
After Lombardozzi’s arrival, the Chiefs went 39-34.
Kev, you up for shaving creaming visiting radio announcers when their teams win? How would Vander Woude feel?