Call it TWO World Series rings for Ray Callari
* Ray Callari (Montreal, Que.), shown here with former Montreal Expos manager Felipe Alou at the 2010 World Series, was in Detroit as his San Francisco Giants picked up their second World Series in three years … another Series ring is on the way ….
By Bob Elliott
Seated in section 323 at Comerica Park Sunday were the San Francisco Giants scouts.
Between Giants North East cross checker John Castleberry and scout Kevin Christman’s family were Canadian scout Ray Callari and his nine-year-old son, Matteo, from Montreal.
Closer Sergio Romo threw an 88 MPH slider past Miguel Cabrera for the final out in the bottom of the 10th to make the Giants World Series champs for the second time in three years.
“It didn’t matter how cold it was, we were all hugging and kissing each other,” said Callari from Detroit, before flying home Tuesday.
Normally Raimondo Callari, a former Montreal Expo minor leaguer, is the most upbeat, enthusiastic man on a diamond.
Winning a Series does crank everyone up a notch.
“The Giants are like a big family, everyone was pulling for each other from scouts, to interns, to IT people to players. With the San Francisco Giants there’s no ‘you’re only an intern.’”
Director of player development Fred Stanley, senior director of minor league operations Jeremy Shelley, director of player personnel Bobby Evans, director minor league operations Yeshayah Goldfarb and other scouts were in section 323.
Spotting Karen Sweeney, executive assistant to the general manager Brian Sabean after the win, Callari gave “the fastest emailer on earth,” a congratulatory hug.
Callari has his second Series ring joining Montreal’s Alex Agostino (2008 Philadelphia Phillies, 2003 Florida Marlins), Regina’s Wayne Morgan and Georgetown’s Bill Byckowski (1992-93 Blue Jays). The late Bobby Prentice had the most by Canadian scout, three (1968 Detroit Tigers, 1992-93 Blue Jays).
“(Pitching coach) Dave Righetti is asking Matteo to have his picture taken with him, they treated us like kinds,” said Callari. “The first question anyone with the Giants asks is ‘how’s your family.”
Once pleasantries were out of the way when Callari arrived Saturday morning, scout Doug Mapson told Callari: “I saw your guy from Curacao … he can play.”
In the scouting world that is a supreme compliment.
Callari’s guy from Curacao — shortstop John Polonius — attended West Virginia, went undrafted and was playing this summer in Sanford, Maine in the New England Collegiate summer league when Callari spotted him. He called scouting director John Barr to talk ask how many drafted players had signed.
Barr: “We could use another infielder.”
Callari: “I’m watching a guy right now, he looks like Dee Gordon, slender build. I’ve only seen him take batting practice.”
Barr told his scout to find out more info. The Giants signed Polonius, who hit .300 with seven RBIs in 32 games for the rookie-class Arizona League Giants.
That led to Mapson’s compliment, which Callari described as “touching.”
Never heard of Mapson? He signed 300-game winner Greg Maddux, according to Callari.
“if Polonius — a guy I saw for five seconds before phoning the office — makes it am I a good scout or lucky?” asked Callari. “Probably both.”
Another Callari sign, Laval first baseman Jonathan Jones, 20, led the rookie-class Giants in homers (six) and RBIs (29), hitting .282 with an .838 OPS in 44 games.
“Fans can relate to our team, how can you not relate to Pablo Sandoval, the Kung Fu Panda? Who doesn’t like a Panda?” asked Callari, a mini Panda himself. “Timmy Lincecum looks like’s he’s 12-years old. Buster Posey is another Derek Jeter. People relate to those guys.”
When not scouting Callari coaches. He says there isn’t a better swing for youngsters to emulate than Marco Scutaro’s, saying “kids are always mimicking swings. He’s one to copy: he’s short to the ball, he has a compact swing, a true professional hitter.”
As a point of reference the conscience of the Blue Jays Bobby Mattick was in the game 58 years before he received his first Series ring in 1992. Callari has a reason to be excited: two rings in 11 years, nine years as a scout, two years in the minors.
“It doesn’t matter if we’re giving someone a $1 or $10 million, we’ll send in a lot of guys to look,” Callari said. “We have genuine baseball guys like Dick Tidrow, Felipe Alou … Tidrow looked at Lincecum’s mechanics and said ‘who cares?’ as other scouts knocked the kid. John Barr’s first pick was Posey. John took Brandon Belt, Brandon Crawford and a lot of others.”
The only upsetting part of the Series was watching ESPN’s Curt Schilling before Game 1.
“Schilling basically said ‘I don’t even know why the Giants are showing up, they don’t have a chance,’” Callari said.
The Montreal explained to Giants scouts how Quebec ball fans would root for the Giants.
“They thought Montrealers would cheer for Detroit since it’s close to Ontario,” Callari said. “Because of hockey no one cheers for Detroit. Or any other original six team. No one.”