Actually, Hot Sauce will be cooking as never before. This November he and partner David Del Gallo, a local contractor, plan to open a new pizza restaurant called Saucier's Dugout. "I love pizza," says Saucier. "I used to work in a pizza joint, and I know all the secrets about making a good pie. Like knowing the precise moment to take it out of the oven. I'm an expert at that."
The Dugout will also offer beer, wine and sandwiches. The barstools will be made out of bases, with bats for legs. There will be a game room and trophy cases, featuring such items as Saucier's Tiger uniform. The autographed balls, batting helmets and photos of Kevin's former teammates have been rolling in, including an 8 X 10 glossy of Lance Parrish, his Detroit batterymate, with the message: "Keep the dough soft and chewy."
"Free and breezy" is how Saucier is playing it these days. "I feel like a tremendous burden has been lifted from my shoulders," he says. "Baseball? Naw, it's not for me anymore. To tell you the truth, I have no intention of ever trying to come back." Still, there are times....
Not too long ago, while Kevin was watching Philadelphia play Atlanta on TV, Karen noticed a faraway look in his eyes. "Kevin," she said softly, "are you all right?" "Sure," he said, recovering. "Why do you ask?"
Because everyone wants to know if there's any hurt left, any longings. "No," Saucier says. "When I think about baseball now, I remember all the good times. And there were a lot of them. Like, hey, I've still got my World Series ring, right? They can't take that away from me."
Or the fun of playing for Franco's Lounge. Recently, when an opposing runner tried to score from second on a single to left center, Saucier says, "I cut that sucker down at the plate with a perfect throw."
It was, in fact, the first good strike Kevin Saucier had thrown in a long, long time.