Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from Joe Cassitto aka Bundy Man.
My obsession with Dylan Bundy began at the beginning of this year. Along with 18 other friends, I participate in an extremely competitive fantasy baseball league, called the Wiffleballers League. We decided to add minor league rosters to our teams this year, and after some research, I selected Bundy with my first round pick. Since then, I’ve been following his success in the Orioles Single-A affiliates, and have grown increasingly excited to watch him pitch in person. When I found out that a friend of mine, Bridget McCabe, worked for the Frederick Keys, I knew that I would soon have a perfect opportunity to meet the guy.
I received a message from Bridget, stating that they had organized a Dylan Bundy T-shirt Night on Saturday, July 14th. I’m from Wappingers Falls, NY, about a 5-hour drive, so if I were going to make the trip to see Bundy, this would be the day. I committed to making the trip with my friends Jason Luksis and Ellissa Phlegar. After checking out the Frederick Keys website, I discovered that it was also Superhero Night. The wheels began to spin, and it wasn’t long before I was browsing the web, coming up with preliminary ideas for a Bundy related superhero.
A full-body white spandex suit was the first item to arrive, followed by a pair of orange basketball sneakers. Then, an orange Speedo arrived the day I was scheduled to depart for Frederick, and I had to pull some strings to intercept the package at the post office. I created a Dylan Bundy face emblem on the computer for my chest, and found some orange work gloves laying around the house. Party City had a section where I found orange masking tape, orange face paint, and an orange mustache. I bought an orange Orioles hat from Camden Yards on Friday night, found an orange tablecloth from Target for my cape, and an orange pool noodle from the dollar store to complete the outfit. We arrived at Harry Grove Stadium, and Bundy Man was born.
Bundy Man started his work by assisting the Frederick Keys staff, also dressed in superhero costumes, to hand out the 1,000 Dylan Bundy t-shirts. This was Bundy Man’s first chance to meet the fans, and he enjoyed the opportunity. However, in the midst of assisting the crew, Bundy Man discovered that his orange noodle was stolen. It took only a matter of minutes to find the culprit, since it’s very hard to hide an orange noodle out in the open. He retrieved the noodle, and began to pace back and forth, anticipating the start of the game.
The game began, and Dylan Bundy did not disappoint. He was dominant from the start, and the Carolina Mudcats were clearly overmatched. Bundy Man was having a great time, and was asked to participate in a contest in the middle of the 4th inning. Introduced as Bundy Man atop the Keys dugout, he continued to look down into the dugout and see Bundy’s teammates smiling and giggling. As the promotional game was ending, Bundy Man looked down and saw Dylan staring back up at him, shaking his head with a big smile. Bundy Man reached down from the top of the dugout, reached out his hand, wearing an orange glove, and earned his first handshake of the night with the phenom.
After being introduced to the fans as Bundy Man, the Frederick Keys fans began to become intrigued by the superhero. Children were coming up to Bundy Man, asking for their picture to be taken with him. On a number of occasions, parents would ask if their child could simply give Bundy Man a high-five. The superhero was happy to do what he had to do to make the children happy.
Bundy finished with 5 IP, 2 H, 8 K, 1 BB, and 1 R (0 ER), and even though the radar gun at Harry Grove Stadium clocked him at 92-94 MPH, it was clear that his fastballs were being blown by the Mudcats at 95-97 MPH. After the 6th inning, Dylan Bundy ascended the stands on his way to the Keys clubhouse. Bundy Man met him at the top of the stands and congratulated him, and asked for a picture with the talented young pitcher with whom he now shared a name. Dylan politely asked “After the game?” and Bundy Man accepted the terms of his offer.
Bundy Man enjoyed a delicious burger from the Angus Grill, and anxiously awaited his opportunity to complete his mission. Sure enough, after the final pitch, Dylan came out of the clubhouse and was swarmed by children and adults, asking him to sign anything in sight. Bundy Man patiently waited for his chance, and Dylan kindly signed his Orioles hat and took a picture. Bundy Man’s night was complete, but standing amidst the crowd, Bundy Man discovered that many of the kids also wanted Bundy Man’s autograph! So, side-by-side with Dylan, Bundy Man began signing baseballs, programs, water bottles, shirts, and anything else the kids could find.
Bundy Man had achieved his goal of meeting Dylan Bundy, and had surely achieved some other goals that he never intended to. He provided memories for a full stadium of Keys fans, and showed hundreds of children that you can be a superhero when you grow up, if you simply spend some money on a full-body spandex suit and find a pool noodle. And while Dylan’s encounter with Bundy Man most likely would not change his course in life, perhaps some superpowers have rubbed off from that handshake, setting Dylan on the fast track to an extremely successful career with the Baltimore Orioles.
— Joe Cassitto aka Bundy Man