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Travelin’ Man Rick Medeiros Hits the Road for the PawSox

Rick Medeiros (left) with PawSox Principal Owner/CEO Larry Lucchino. Photo courtesy of Louriann Mardo-Zayat.

The PawSox take on Gwinnett Friday, May 17th at 6:00pm ET on YurView, Cox channels 4 and 1004 in Rhode Island.

Luckily, the phone call came when it did.

“Otherwise, we would have passed by Baltimore,” said Rick Medeiros, PawSox senior director of fan services.

It’s Sunday night on May 5. The mission: safely transport the PawSox equipment from McCoy Stadium to Norfolk, Va., site of an upcoming three-game road series. The mode of transportation is a Penske truck that’s a distinct bright yellow. Driving this important vehicle that’s stashed with bats, gloves and uniforms is Medeiros, who never seems to have a bad day while on the job.

Around 8 o’clock, Medeiros received an urgent call from PawSox clubhouse manager Josh Liebenow.

“He said, ‘Rick, I have good news and bad news. You’re either going to love me or hate me,’” said Medeiros with a whimsical smile that’s easily detectable despite the presence of his paint-brush mustache.

It turned out that Pawtucket right-handed pitcher Ryan Weber had been called up to Boston. The fly in the ointment was that Weber’s baseball belongings were in the rear of the Penske. The Red Sox were on their way to Baltimore, hence was it possible, feasible, and doable for Medeiros to drop off Weber’s equipment at Oriole Park at Camden Yards?

The alternative? Finding an all-hours FedEx store and shipping Weber’s gear to Baltimore. To Medeiros, that option was immediately deemed a last resort.

“I’m not saying anything bad about FedEx, but they don’t have any skin in the game of whether or not it gets there,” said Medeiros.

Rick Medeiros, Senior Director of Fan Services. Photo courtesy of Louriann Mardo-Zayat.

He shared a brief laugh with his buddy Kenny Estrella, who accompanies Medeiros on road trips whenever the PawSox fly the friendly skies while the equipment is transported via Penske. When the PawSox travel to divisional rivals such as Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and Syracuse, the equipment is instead loaded under the bus. The original route to Norfolk now needed to be re-calculated. Normally, the trek from McCoy Stadium to Norfolk’s Harbor Park takes 10 hours by truck. This time, a detour in the name of Ryan Weber was required.

“This is something we’ve never done before,” said Medeiros, who since 2004 has served as the chauffeur of PawSox equipment. “We’ve been in Connecticut and told to wait there because so-and-so got called up. Another time, we made it as far as Warwick.”

The original game plan called for Medeiros to veer off after safe passage across the George Washington Bridge. Now, the Penske would continue on I-95 and drive into the heart of the Beltway, which was never the intention. Alas, those best-laid plans had gone up in smoke.

Photo courtesy of Louriann Mardo-Zayat.

“Literally if that call [from Liebenow] came five minutes later, we would have been off the New Jersey Turnpike. Then we would have had to make a big loop around to get to Baltimore,” noted Medeiros.

Luckily, Weber’s equipment bag turned up quickly upon pulling up to Camden Yards.

“It was up in front,” said Medeiros. “Sometimes digging in the Penske is like digging for quahogs.”

Normally, Medeiros isn’t at ease until the equipment is unloaded and placed inside the ballpark. With a scheduled off day before the first game of Pawtucket’s series in Norfolk, there was some flexibility afforded. Before getting back on the road, Medeiros and Estrella received a late-night tour of the Orioles’ home park.

“There are always great memories and great experiences from the road,” said Medeiros. “All told, it was probably a two-and-a-half hour addition to the trip.”

The first long drive of the 2019 season included Medeiros and Estrella hustling from Norfolk to Gwinnett, Ga., where the PawSox played this past weekend, before embarking on a 19-hour trip with a final destination back home at McCoy Stadium. Just like on the drive down to Norfolk, the PawSox had a built-in travel day that made Medeiros’ task of returning to Pawtucket a little less strenuous.

“Coming home, we hit some traffic where everything was at a standstill. Then we hit some torrential rain,” said Medeiros. “It’s nice to travel during the day because you see all the beautiful scenery. Traffic-wise, it’s better traveling at night.

“Even though the Penske isn’t an 18-wheeler, I pretend I’m driving one,” added Medeiros, his tone a mixture of playful and serious. “The Penske is so reliable.”

The always-outgoing and accommodating Medeiros is the man with a thousand stories. Many of his adventures end up documented in his blog “Rollin’ with Rick” that appears on www.pawsox.com. His passion for all things PawSox-related comes across crystal clear with each passing entry he authors. Each post is capped off with “Yours in Baseball;” the Medeiros equivalent of a walkoff hit.

“I haven’t had time to do a blog [about the adventures of Weber’s equipment]. From making sure the shuttles from the hotel to the ballpark are scheduled, to the players getting back to the hotel, there’s so much to do on the road that a lot of people don’t know about,” said Medeiros.

Maybe not, but if you’re planning to travel from Point A to Point B and there’s a sudden change of plans, no question Medeiros is your guy.

The PawSox take on Gwinnett Friday, May 17th at 6:00pm ET on YurView, Cox channels 4 and 1004 in Rhode Island.