Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Punk Rock Scott

Was your dream growing up to be a Major Leaguer or to front a rock band? A former MLB reliever did both. And is still living those dreams.

After featuring his 1992 Topps card at HHR's Gem Mint Ten, we were tipped off by readers that former Major League pitcher Scott Radinsky is the lead singer for the California skatepunk band Pulley.

Radinsky, a career 42-25 lefty with 52 saves and a 3.44 ERA, spent time with the White Sox, Dodgers, Cards and Indians. In addition to being an ex-major leaguer and lead singer of a punk band, Radinsky currently serves as the pitching coach of the Buffalo Bisons, the Triple-A affiliate of the Cleveland Indians, and is the owner of Skatelab Indoor Skatepark and Museum in Simi Valley, CA.

Despite his numerous obligations, we were lucky enough to have caught up with Scott to ask a few questions and reintroduce him to sports (and maybe music) fans.

Hopefully I didn’t miss anything in this brief but eclectic bio of yours.

Music seems to have always been your passion. Was baseball something you were/are equally passionate about, or something you were just really good at and stumbled upon?

No. I think I have always had equal passion for both. I have always felt more comfortable with the guys in the band, though. I think we were all in it for the same thing, unlike baseball where you deal with a lot more personalities so it’s a little tougher to get 25 guys on the same page. Even though it’s called a “team.”

You're playing career overlapped significantly with your band career. And, from my understanding, cost you your gig with Ten Foot Pole. Any regrets or additional conflict in not being able to dedicate significantly more time to one profession or the other?

No. I don’t know if the band would still be around if it were a full-time venture. I think what’s kept it going for so long was that it hasn’t been full-time. I don’t really feel like I cheated either one. They have both been an important part of my life and have given equal effort to both.

How would you compare taking the mound in a Major League city with some of your experiences touring? How different are punk fans from baseball fans?

Not really the same. Baseball is [sic] by yourself out there, granted there is a team behind you. But it’s different. With the band I think we feel a little more like a working machine. As far as the fans I think its different as well. A lot more personable with the band. We get to have interaction with everyone before and after our shows and hang out. Baseball is more private once the game is over. Usually the closest you get to someone is when your signing an autograph.

How do you juggle running the park, singing in the band and coaching?

I am surrounded by some pretty good people. I could not run a business if there wasn’t someone I could trust. So I am lucky to have that. The band has been going now for over 20 years in this same format, so I think it’s safe to say it runs itself. We have all learned how to make it work this way and get the most out of it. Coaching, well for me its the same as when I was playing as far as the time it takes away during a year. So it has been easy for all of us.

How about life on the road with each. I'm sure our readers have dreamed for years about the tail they would pull as a rock star or professional athlete. Any repeatable tales from the road?

Actually pretty boring. Oh yeah we do have a DVD with a lot of craziness documented!!

Tell us a little about the DVD - its reception, the rationale behind putting it out and your experience making it.

Well, it’s pretty simple. Our friend who sells t-shirts for us when we go on the road was always filming everything and one day he said he wanted to put together a DVD. We all laughed thinking it would never happen. When he was finished we were all amazed. He did a great job and were all proud of him. I guess we thought it would be cool to see some behind the scene footage and us acting stupid. It really did turn out good. So far we have gotten a real good response from the people who have seen it.

Who do you consider your musical influences?

I still listen to a lot of the early 80's punk bands that got me into this. It was a time when this music was pure and unchartered and I think that's what still keeps me going.

Who were your favorite performers to either play or tour with?

I am not sure if I could remember all the good times we have had with all the different bands we’ve played with, but the first 2 that come to mind are Lagwagon and No Use For a Name, both who we are friends with and it was just like a vacation not a tour.

Excluding your own band, give us your essential 10-track playlist.

Don’t think I could narrow it down to just 10 songs, so I will list 10 bands:

Minor Threat, The Decendents, Black Flag, Lagwagon, Propaghandi, Adolecents, Bad Religion, Social Distortion, Dead Fish and Black Sabbath.

And I forgot or didn’t have enough space to list the other 2000. Can anyone just name 10?

What athletes did you look up to coming up?

Being from Los Angeles, I grew up with the dodgers, so anyone who played with them during the 80's probably was on the walls of my room when I was a kid.

Who were your most memorable teammates or coaches to play with?

Most memorable teammate was Carlton Fisk. I had a locker next to him for my first 3 years. Dave LaRoche, my first pitching coach. Wow, there are a lot of good guys I respected so I'm sure I could mention a lot more. These are always the 2 that come off the top of my head.

How did you get involved with the skatepark?

[I] always grew up skating, so when I saw my first indoor skatepark I thought this would be a cool thing to do for my town. I did not know what I was getting myself into, but 11 years later it has been worth it. A lot of hard work and a lot of good memories there. So far the kids have had respect and appreciate it, so that helps to see through some financial loss at times to keep a good thing going.

What's next on the horizon? Do you plan to continue in each of these ventures, or do you see yourself concentrating on any exclusively?

I think this is my life. Nothing is exclusive, its all one big venture. We have a CD we recorded in March coming out soon, I think I am going to coach again next year, and I have 5 months off to fill candy machines at the skatepark. That’s my life. Pretty boring, huh?

Radinsky Links

Buffalo Bisons Coaching Staff

Pulley Links

Buy stuff here
Pulley YouTube channel
Pulley Facebook


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