- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
- TAMPA BAY buccaneersENEMY lines WHAT A RIVAL COACH SAYSJune 28, 2012
- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
•"Tomorrow I report to Pompano Beach. The first day entails only a meeting with the coaches and front office personnel. We have to make sure we are all on the same wavelength. It also gives us an opportunity to drink a few beers, tell a few war stories and drink a few more beers. Maybe we'll have time to get in 18 holes. I'm sure Joe [Klein] will have everything under control. I just hope I remember to wear shoes."—Feb. 17, 1983.
•"I hate leaving the house, but I can't wait to get there [spring training]. It's a crazy routine. Leaving home for spring training has always been, for me, the toughest part of this game. Yet after I arrive at my destination and get around baseball people, I'm fine.... I guess it has something to do with severing the security cord of home, family and friends. Then, upon seeing the other players and coaches, you realize you're not the only guy in the boat."—Feb. 17.
•"Right now a lot of things are racing through my mind. Will the players accept me? Will the team live up to my expectations? And where the hell are my cigarettes?"—Feb. 17.
•"I'm a sturdy 260 pounds.... I need to lose about 25 pounds. Looks like soup and salad for a while. The six-pack is cold, so I'll have to start tomorrow."—March 1.
The possibility remains that he will put these thoughts in a book someday—he has, in fact, consulted with a potential collaborator—but it will be quite unlike Bouton's, he says, and quite unlike anything someone who knows Rader only superficially might expect.
Not that he has become an old stick-in-the-mud. He still doesn't like to miss a chance for a little action. His penchant for mischief, for example, has left many a menu reading "Rader Vic's." In his office recently, Rader expressed dissatisfaction at the listless reading of a radio public-service announcement made by Ranger trainer Bill Zeigler on health care in hot weather. Rader persuaded broadcaster Eric Nadel to let him tape his own version for the trainer. "Hi! This is Bill Zeigler," Rader announced in a monotone uncannily like Zeigler's. There followed a riotous ad lib in which Rader as Zeigler advised listeners to wear "light and airy" clothes and to be certain after exercise to "drink plenty of beer." "That's a keeper," said Nadel.
And so, we assume, is Rader, managerial wunderkind and prankster emeritus. Well, almost emeritus.