June 25, 2007


The place to go where no one knows your name (Wayne Drehs, 5/15/03, ESPN.com)

From the foot of his Iowa Cubs locker to the front porch of his home, former major league pitcher Rod Beck walks 159 steps. Down the hallway, through a thick blue double door, out a green door and along a flattened path of what's become dead grass.

Rod Beck's trailer, parked just behind the outfield wall, is where Iowa Cubs fans can share a beer (but not Miller Light) with the former major-league pitcher.

It's the greatest commute in baseball.

The roughly 400 feet that separate home from office, play from work, is a shorter distance than home plate is from the centerfield wall in some ballparks. And it's only possible because Beck has chosen a most unique place to call home during his comeback stint in Triple-A.

The guy known as "Shooter," the guy with the shaggy mullet, the bushy Fu Manchu and the endearing beer belly, the guy who laughs contagiously, smokes religiously and looks more like a plumber than a professional baseball player, lives behind the right field wall of Iowa's Sec Taylor Stadium. In a motor home.

"For as long as I've been around this game, there have always been guys who have strayed from the norm," said Jerry Reuss, the I-Cubs pitching coach and a veteran of 22 major league seasons. "Then there are the guys that take it to a whole new level: Jay Johnstone. Mark Fidrych. Guys like that. Living in your own personal trailer park behind center field? This qualifies him in that group. I've never seen anything like it."

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 25, 2007 12:00 AM
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