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Tom Archdeacon: Reds' Arroyo sounds like he'll be fine
By Tom Archdeacon
Dayton Daily News
CINCINNATI | A week into the season, the lanky blond with the flip flops, fastball and Fender guitar has emerged as the most colorful personality in the Cincinnati
clubhouse and someone who created a buzz around the league when he debuted in a Reds uniform last Wednesday.
Right now, Bronson Arroyo is the guy with the perfect pitch.
And that's not just because of the way the new right-hander toppled the Chicago Cubs — throwing 62?3 innings for the victory and hitting a home run — but because he head-lined several music shows throughout the Northeast in the offseason.
Along with a bona-fide big-league starter, the Reds have a minor-league rock star. He's the only guy on the team with a World Series ring and an album.
Released last July, his publicly
and critically acclaimed Covering the Bases is a tribute to '90s grunge bands like Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. It also includes an up-tempo cover of the old Standells hit Dirty Water, an anthem of the Boston Red Sox, who won the 2004 Series with Arroyo one of its stars.
Maybe because he gives intriguing new meaning to chin music, but more likely because of his engaging personality, Arroyo gets plenty of embrace. That was the case Wednesday.
"I had as many messages and calls as I did after we won the Series," he said. "I had 25 text messages before the game was even over. It was that home run."
People like the unexpected.
That's why his budding music career has created a stir.
He grew up in Key West, Fla., where his maternal grandmother has been a piano, violin and cello teacher since the 1930s and his father played in a local rock band.
"Later on, none of my dad's music grabbed me," Arroyo said. "But when I was 15, I turned on the radio in my bedroom and heard the song Plush, and went, 'What the hell is this?' It was by the Stone Temple Pilots and it was unique, something I really liked."
Still he never made music himself until — while playing for the Pittsburgh Pirates' Double-A Altoona Curve — he was given an old Yamaha guitar by the team's assistant general manager.
He taught himself to play, got a reputation as a clubhouse musician and began playing small shows.
And after the Series, Red Sox GM Theo Epstein and novelist and Red Sox fanatic Stephen King made guest appearances on his album.
While he was stunned by his trade to Cincinnati, Arroyo said he's found some kindred souls:
"The guys in the bullpen seem to be music guys and (Kent) Mercker knows more about music than anybody I've ever been around. It seems like he knows the words to every song from rap to country.
"And Hattie (first baseman Scott Hatteberg) has been playing guitar for a while, so we'll get together and play some music."
As he talked before Saturday's game, the clubhouse sound system began to blare country music.
"They play a little more country in here than I'm used to," he said with a shrug, then a smile. "In Boston, we had (David) Ortiz and Kevin Youkilis dictating a lot of our music, so it went from rock to rap and Latin salsa.
"Now (Adam) Dunn keeps saying he needs to hear his music. So I guess I gotta learn some country songs. That way I'll have a better repertoire."
That way he'll remain the Red with the perfect pitch.