SANTA FE, N.M. — Persistent player signed for 1 inning in July 17 Fuego game
On the heels of a scheduled national television appearance, 60-year Paul Risso of Los Lunas was offered his shot of a lifetime: a chance to pitch for a professional ballclub.
Risso – who was to be featured in Tuesday’s “Today Show” but told the Journal that his segment was pushed back to next week – was signed to a one-day contract by the independent Pecos League.
“He’s been trying out for us for five years. We told him, ‘Man, I don’t think it’s going to work,’ but he wanted to go to spring training anyway,” said Pecos League Commissioner Andrew Dunn about Risso’s latest tryout in 2012. “Obviously he’s not a front-line guy, but he actually got some hitters out. … And since he’s so dedicated, I figured, let’s give him a shot.”
Dunn said, while Risso will not start the contest, he will pitch one inning for the Raton Oso against the Santa Fe Fuego on July 17 at Fort Marcy Park. Game time is 6 p.m.
Risso’s story went public when he was featured in an article in the St. Paul (Minn.) Pioneer Press last month, charting what ultimately turned into an unsuccessful bid to play for the St. Paul Saints of the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball. He then appeared in a Journal article Tuesday in advance of his (since postponed) “Today Show” segment, which caught Dunn’s eye.
While Risso understands that skeptics may see his one-game, one-inning stint as merely a publicity stunt for the fledgling eight-team Pecos League, the sexagenarian is out to prove them wrong.