Reader Sam Hunt informs us that former A’s/ChiSox/Blue Jays closer Billy Koch fulfilled his promise to a bunch of little leaguers, not only accompanying them to the Tampa home opener against his last club, Toronto, but he didn’t exactly keep a low profile while he was there.
New Toronto Blue Jays reliever Scott Schoeneweis was sitting in the bullpen during a recent game against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays at Tropicana Field when a fan seated behind him started with the catcalls.
”I heard someone shout, ‘Schoeneweis, you’re a bum,”’ the left-hander recalled. ”I thought, ‘I can’t believe they’re calling me a bum here.”’
Schoeneweis turned around to find the fan was actually former White Sox teammate Billy Koch.
Koch, who had a bitter parting with the Blue Jays during spring training, was making good on a promise to return to the ballpark and root for the Devil Rays. Wearing a Devil Rays cap and a jersey with right fielder Aubrey Huff’s name on the back, Koch, who lives nearby in Clearwater Beach, Fla., took a group of 240 schoolchildren to the game.
”Maybe [Rays GM Chuck LaMar] is up in the box and he’ll see me and offer me a contract,” said Koch, who saved 110 games for the Jays from 1999-2001 but insists he won’t sign with another team because ”I’m going to make the Toronto Blue Jays pay every cent of my [$950,000] salary.’