Sports Central’s Bijan C. Bayne catches up with former Red Sox lefty Bill Lee at the premiere of “Spaceman : A Baseball Odessey” (link swiped from Repoz and Baseball Think Factory)

SC ” (jokingly) So the competitive fires have burned out?

Lee ” I won 17 games three years in a row. The Red Sox have a Hall of Fame up in the private suites, the EMC Club. Bronze plaques of Jean Yawkey with those big glasses, Pudge Fisk with that nose of his. There are plaques of Dennis Eckersley, Bruce Hurst and Bill Monboquette. I won more games in a Red Sox uniform than Eck [Dennis Eckersley], [Bruce] Hurst, or [Bill] Monbouquette. I had fewer losses than they did. Other than Mel Parnell, I’m the winningest lefty in Red Sox history. What’s worse than a pitcher who’s a radical and a rebel? I helped form a group, The Save Fenway Park Society, to save Fenway Park when the Yawkey Trust wanted to build a new stadium. We fought them, and I cost them $286 million.

SC ” In the book “Ball Four,” which I kept on my nightstand one summer as a kid so I could open to any section and begin re-reading, Jim Bouton and others referred to you as “Orbit.” Did “Orbit” give way to “Spaceman”?

Lee ” “Spaceman” came from a teammate. I’m the most anti-space guy you want to meet ” I always felt the space program was a ruse to take the focus off greater needs, such as poverty and the need for fossil fuel. But during Apollo 14 in 1972, the middle infielder John Kennedy couldn’t get to his locker for all the reporters around me (I’d pitched a great game), and he had a date that night. He told the writers, “We got our own Space Man right here.”

SC ” In your years of spring training at Winter Haven, any anecdotes about Ted Williams, who was such a scientist as a hitter, but hated pitchers?

Lee ” Williams says to me, “Bill, you’re so dumb, you probably don’t know why a curveball curves.” I said “Bernoulli’s Principle, the same thing that gave your airplane lift, and makes rivers run faster through narrow banks. And he’s Belgian- I bet you thought he was Italian.” He comes over and puts his arm around me. He liked people that challenged him, even though he wanted to be right.

Mark Prior made his long-awaited 2006 debut for the Cubs this afternoon, and wasted little time in proving that he’s every bit as qualified in starting for Chicago as Glendon Rusch.  The Tigers’ Curtis Granderson, Carlos Guillen and Chris Shelton all teed-off on Prior for first inning home runs, and Detroit are comfortably ahead, 6-0 after 2 1/2 at Wrigley.

David Wright’s 15th HR of the season (above) , a 5th inning grand slam past the visitors’ bullpen off the Orioles’ Adam Loewen put the Mets in front this afternoon at Shea.  Ramon Castro followed with a two-run shot in the 6th, and Pedro Felicano is currently on in relief of Tom Glavine (6 IP, 3 earned runs, 9 hits, 6 K’s, no walks) with New York leading, 5-4 in the top of the 7th.

Your making-it-look-easy pitching performance of the day : Jon Garland of the White Sox (7 IP, 2 hits, 1 walk, 4 K’s, 94 pitches), working on a shutout against the Reds, with Chicago holding a 3-0 advantage through the top of the 8th.