Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

No 'shoulda, woulda, coulda' for him If it's baseball, he's there

New Fish left-hander has been up, down and around, but never out

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What he did not do in baseball has sometimes overshadowed what he has done, but Bill Pulsipher has never cared about that.

Giving his best on the mound is what concerns the 35-year-old former major leaguer.

It's as simple as that, and it's what brought him to Winnipeg to join the first-place Goldeyes in their run for a Northern League championship.

"When it's not out of your blood, it's not out of your blood. And it's not out of my blood," said Pulsipher, a southpaw who makes his home in Port St. Lucie, Fla. He recorded a win in his Goldeyes debut Tuesday in a 13-1 victory over Joliet. He came to the Goldeyes a month after his stint with Pericos de Puebla of the Mexican League ended. "I've thought I was done a few times. Once you get home and recuperate a bit, you start to think, 'I can still throw the baseball.' If there's an opportunity to get people out, it's always fun to go out there and do it."

In his first NL win Tuesday, the 6-foot-4, 255-pound Pulsipher pitched five shutout innings, allowed two singles and three walks and struck out four batters.

He said accepting Goldeyes manager Rick Forney's offer to chase an NL title was an easy choice.

"I've always considered myself a competitor of the top class, where I'm trying to win a baseball game but always competing. It's something I've done my whole life and it's just not out of me yet," he said. "When you feel like you can still throw a little bit, you don't want to look back five years from now and say, 'You know, I really feel like I didn't have it out of me 100 per cent, so I should have went and played.' I just don't ever want to have that 'should have went and played.'"

Baseball fans will never forget the euphoria surrounding the New York Mets in 1995 and the dawning of "Generation K", a trio of young pitchers including a 21-year-old Pulsipher, Jason Isringhausen and Paul Wilson. The highly touted youngsters were expected to lead the Mets back to the promised land of contention in the National League. It never happened due to injuries to all three. For Pulsipher, it was torn ligaments in his elbow.

"I think about it now and then. It's hard not to, because everybody still brings it up. But it was some of the greatest times of my life. I look back with fond memories and not so fond. A lot of things didn't go right, getting injured and going through a lot of things that I went through," he said. "Back then, it (all the attention) fed to my ego when I was young. It was a good thing and a bad thing because it was everything that I always wanted and it was happening. But I wasn't prepared for injury or failure. Everything up to that point had always been such a success, so it was a very hard learning experience."

Pulsipher has made three comebacks to Major League Baseball. He has played for six teams and in 106 big-league games, more than any other pitcher to have worn a Goldeyes uniform. In the 12 seasons that have passed since his major league debut, Pulsipher has played for at least 15 minor-league teams in nine leagues at seven levels. He's played in at least five countries.

It's not been an easy choice, as Pulsipher has to leave behind his wife Michelle and their two young sons. But the two little guys are a big reason why he's still grinding it out in the game. Pulsipher grinned as he noted both youngsters' initials are LHP, as in left-handed pitcher -- Liam Hayden Pulsipher, 8, and Leyton Hale Pulsipher, 5.

"The big thing that's brought me back quite a few times is just letting my kids at least know what their father did and who their father was for such a large period of his life," he said. "For them now, to be able to turn on the computer last night and watch their dad pitch, that's something that is awesome to me. They don't care if it's big leagues or what, they just know their dad's out there playing baseball ."

Forney said bringing in a left-handed starter with veteran experience like Pulsipher will have a big impact on his team.

"I think a left-handed starter is going to be important in the long run to offset some of their (opposition) left-handed hitters in their lineups.

"I'm thankful we were able to get a guy like Bill in here. I told him, 'We have a first-place team with a lot of good players and good people. Just we're missing one piece and maybe something else small, but I think that maybe you're the piece that I'm looking for.' "

Pulsipher said he's good with that because overall, he believes the game has treated him well.

"I was dealt more than a fair hand, but maybe I didn't play the hand right. I got a chance to play in the major leagues. The majority of guys in this league, that's their dream and they haven't got to live it yet... I would say to these young guys, 'Just don't take it for granted.' "

ashley.prest@freepress.mb.ca

Joliet 2 Goldeyes 0

 

A 45th win eluded the Winnipeg Goldeyes Wednesday on a night when their bats went quiet at Canwest Park in a 2-0 loss to last-place Joliet JackHammers.

The Goldeyes (44-26) had six hits on the night, two from designated hitter Juan Diaz who was thrown out on one of them as he tried for second base in the eighth inning, before a crowd of 5,906.

It was the fourth time in the 2009 season that the Goldeyes have been shut out but it is the third time that Joliet (26-46) has inflicted the goose egg upon the Winnipeg club.

Joliet picked up its first run in the second inning off a double by designated hitter Kyle Nichols and its second run in the third on a single by leftfielder Brad Correll.

Other Goldeyes hits were by Dee Brown who had a two-out double in the second inning with no one on base and catcher Jeff DeSmidt with a two-out single in the seventh.

Things got exciting in the ninth when first baseman Cory Ehlers cracked a two-out double, followed by a single from Adam Frost to runners at first and third. With pinch-hitter Kurt Crowell at the plate, Frost stole second but Crowell struck out.

The Goldeyes and the JackHammers will meet again tonight at 7 p.m. at Canwest Park in the third of the three-game set. Schaumburg Flyers are on deck visiting Canwest Park on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 6, 2009 C4

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