The clubhouse sound system was blaring Twisted Sister’s “We’re Not Gonna Take It,” a 30-year-old rock song that came out before most Cincinnati Reds were born.
A couple of clubhouse interlopers stared at the speaker from which the music emanated and Sam LeCure said, “Don’t be changing that. That’s my music.”
LeCure is old school in many ways, especially for a guy who is only 29. He is part of a LeCure brood, eight kids, and he is the youngest.
“So my music was hand-me-down eight-tracks and tape decks from my older brothers, so old-style rock is my music,” he said.
In the biographical section of the Reds media guide there is a “personal” category, and for most players it lists where the player went to high school and college and not much else.
In LeCure’s personal section it says: “Parents Marvin and Ann LeCure have been married for 52 years.”
Why would LeCure do that? Respect. Honor. Appreciation.
“It is unique nowadays, you just don’t often see people married 52 years,” said LeCure. “I’m ignorant to some of the stuff that happened because they had five kids in their first six or seven years they were married. Then they took 10 years off and had three more (including LeCure).
“I’ve listened to stories, about how the first five were four boys and one girl and the four boys were sleeping in one bed and my sister got hooked up with a room to herself,” said LeCure. “We had eight kids and my parents worked hard, didn’t make a ton of money but took good care of us and I’m proud of them for it.”
Music is not the only part of LeCure that is old school and fortunately the Reds permit him to do exactly what he likes to do. LeCure is not a fan of sticking pitchers into certain slots — starter, middle man, set-up, closer.
LeCure says his job description is pitcher, period, just plain pitcher. And he likes doing whatever the team wants him to do and whenever the team wants him to do it.
LeCure appeared in 63 games last year and was 2-1 with a 2.66 earned run average and the other teams didn’t know when they’d see the 6-0, 200-pound right-hander with the Yosemite Sam mustache and beard walk to the mound. He does it all — from spot starter to closer and everything in between.
“I like it, I love it,” he said. “I’m not delegated to a certain role. It helps with my mindset of being ready at any time. It’s not like you think you are going to pitch a certain inning but they call and say, ‘We need you now,’ and you say, ‘Oh, crap.’
“I like that I can be ready any time,” he said. “I’m a guy who believes that the most important outs of a game usually aren’t in the ninth. I like being able to appear in those earlier situations where I feel, ‘Hey, if we don’t get this guy out, we won’t be talking about closing a game, we’ll be talking about scrapping for a run to tie it or win it.’”
LeCure’s specialty is coming into the toughest situation of all, the bases loaded. He has been called upon 14 times to come in with every base occupied. Of those 42 runners, only two have scored.
“I’ve never really believed in how they use bullpens today,” he said. “I don’t want to say I disagree, but I don’t always agree.”
LeCure was 6 when The Nasty Boys worked out of Lou Piniella’s World Series championship team in 1990. Norm Charlton, Randy Myers and Rob Dibble were used interchangeably from the seventh inning on — any one of them could be setting up or closing, depending upon the situations and the match-up.
And they had their own song, “U Can’t Touch This” by MC Hammer, and it was played, loudly, in the clubhouse every time the Reds won a game in which at least one of them pitched.
“For the past couple of years that has been the strength of our bullpen,” said LeCure. “We have several guys who can throw in any situation, get lefties and righties out, so there hasn’t had to be a lot of interchanging for matchups.
“We all have confidence in ourselves in our bullpen and I think (new) manager Bryan Price and (new) pitching coach Jeff Pico are going to understand our capabilities. I think it will be a real fun year for us.”
And with that LeCure sat down in his clubhouse chair and began to listen to some music from the Woodstock Music Festival in 1969, 15 years before he was born.
“Yep,” he said. “That’s my music.”
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