Lloyd McClendon – 1990 Upper Deck

December 20, 2010

The Safety Droid

When I was a wee pup of a man (old enough to drive, screw, drink and cuss until 6AM, and young enough to think I could do said activities in various combinations and permutations – also known as COLLEGE) I worked at the local radio station a few nights a week.

I was a DJ, I was what I played. And I had believers believing (yes, a fan club of 12-year olds – much to my chagrin) even though we played the safest adult contemporary and some oldies. I did almost every job there – engineer, farm reporter, sports, news reporter – but my two main duties during my time as a part timer were making sure the Sunday Morning religious programs were ready (the God Squad had to be ready to go at 7:00A sharp Sunday morning – they were paying customers!) and also dub over the latest PSAs to use as filler during breaks.

Which we needed – because being a local station that went directional at night there wasn’t much call for ad spots at 10:30 at night.

Now, there are some of my friends (TC and the Jew – yes he went like that – he was 1/2 Jewish in our small town in Indiana and we weren’t exactly all nicey-nice in nicknames to our best buds) that can vouch for me 100% – so I kid you not when one of the PSAs from the Ad Council about 1987 was about safety and it featured the robotic tones of something called Lloyd The Safety Droid! Those two were beside themselves when they first heard this – it was an even more nebbishy C3PO clone nagging kids not to impale themselves running with scissors.

Our station also broadcast the Cincinnati Reds game, and who was a strapping rookie third catcher / corner infielder / corner outfielder / pinch hitter? One Lloyd McClendon.

Now I don’t know when – but at some point during the season a group of us were at my apartment watching a Reds game and up to bat stepped Mr. McClendon.

The first thing I blurted out was “Lloyd The Safety Droid”! TC and the Jew doubled over in laughter that lasted for five minutes. The others in the place wondered what the hell we were on (which was normal).

Thus, a nickname was born. A few others caught the “Safety Droid” fever, and it has stuck for our little group.

In fact, some of us were in Pittsburgh in 2002 for a titanic matchup between the Pirates and Rangers at the then new PNC park. We brought along our baby girl Katie (who didn’t last every long in the crowd, sadly) and had a great time. We stayed in the same hotel as the Rangers – on Sunday my wife said that she was in an elevator with three guys and then another trip with one luggage cart filled with huge bags.

And you know, when they announced the lineups and said, “…then manager of YOUR Pittsburgh Pirates…Lloyd McClendon” – we screamed out “THE SAFETY DROID!”

Looks? Yeah, we got some. But who cares?

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