Saturday, June 5, 1999
Draft has rockedBy Pat Bigold
Local Boston Red Sox scout Wally Komatsubara has signed a lot of players over the years in Hawaii, and he's dealt with all kinds of agents representing them.
But this will be a first for Komatsubara.
When he negotiates in a few days with Boston's 24th-round pick, Mid-Pacific Institute shortstop Rex Rundgren, he'll be dealing with Ringo Starr's business manager, David Fishoff.
"David's a friend of the family and he's doing it for free," said Rundgren's other negotiator, his stepmom, Michele (Gray) Rundgren. "He's also a sports agent and a great guy."
That's how it's done in a showbiz family.
Rex is the son of rock 'n roll recording legend Todd Rundgren, and his stepmom sang with the racy rock group, The Tubes, between 1982-85. They live in Princeville, Kauai.
His half-sister is actress Liv Tyler and his biological mother is model Karen Darvin.
"We're all in show business but Rex plans to be famous in his own way," said Michele, who has raised him since he was 6. She flew into Honolulu for many of his games.
Even though Rex was the 739th pick, Michele said his selection has sent the entire Rundgren clan into orbit.
"Todd was at rehearsal in San Francisco when we called him (Thursday), and he was so happy he was screaming," said Michele. "Todd has been the anti-jock you know, and he thinks it's pretty funny that we're turning out some jocks. He actually said to me on the phone, 'This is the first time in my life that I think what I do is boring.' "
Michele was taking the opportunity to tell the world about her stepson yesterday on her weekly 6-8 p.m. KKCR (FM 90.9. 91.9) show, "Chick Rock, Chick Talk." It's hard to tune in from Oahu but the show also goes live on the internet at www.kkcr.org.
She said the show's format is as unconventional as The Tubes were in the 1980s. But since she can say what she wants, she's been promoting Rex.
"There are a lot of Todd fans out there, and I get calls from all over the world - Australia, Japan, the east coast of the U.S.," she said. "On this last show, I must have had about 50 congratulatory calls about Rex. One even came from a girl in Tokyo who said, 'I hope Rex can play baseball in Japan.' "
Komatsubara said he foresees no problems in negotiating a signing bonus and other terms with the Rundgrens.
Michele said Fishoff will deal by phone but she will come to Honolulu to meet in person with Komatsubara. Negotiating deals is not new to Michele. She said that she and her husband have been involved in a number of music contract negotiations over the years.
Komatsubara said he badgered his bosses to draft Rex but didn't let the Red Sox brass know until Thursday that he was the son of a famous rocker. He didn't want it to cloud their judgment.
"I haven't ever seen a shortstop (in Hawaii) who plays like Rex," he said. "We were lucky to get him because he wasn't even reported by the major league scouting bureau. He fell through the cracks, and we got him."
In other developments since the Wednesday-Thursday draft ended:
Rainbows left-handed junior pitcher (sixth round) signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Rainbows senior catcher Lars Hansen (28th round) said he will sign this weekend with the San Francisco Giants.
Rainbows junior first baseman Jamie Aloy (48th round choice of the Giants) echoed the sentiments of junior left-hander Randon Ho (29th round choice of Philadelphia) in saying that he is leaning toward spending another year with Les Murakami.
Former Molokai High shortstop Miles Luuloa (37th round choice of Detroit) said he will go back to Laney College and enter the 2000 draft. The Tigers drafted him in the 45th round in 1998.
Players with Hawaii connections who, through Thursday's games, qualify for inclusion in the weekly statistics compiled by Howe Sportsdata International:
MINOR LEAGUE REPORT
Batter Team League Cl AB R H HR RBI AVG Keith Luuloa Edmonton P.C.L AAA 153 19 36 3 17 .235 Darren Blakely Lake Elsinore California A 219 41 61 3 22 .279 Jason Ross Danville Carolina A 154 25 43 5 21 .242 Kelly Phair Sacramento Western Ind 37 3 8 0 4 .216 Gabe Memmert Johnstown Frontier Ind 6 3 3 0 1 .500 Pitcher Team League Cl IP H BB SO W-L ERA Paul Ah Yat Altoona Eastern AA 68.1 57 22 66 5-3 2.50 Mark Johnson Norwich Eastern AA 17.0 24 16 13 0-1 7.41 Jay Spurgeon Frederick Carolina A 50.2 52 25 34 2-3 4.97 Kyle Kawabata Clearwater Florida State A 34.2 28 8 25 2-0 1.56 Kaipo Spenser Kinston Carolina A 30.0 30 11 18 1-0 4.80 Tyler Yates Visalia California A 24.0 28 12 27 2-1 6.38 Michael McCutcheon South Bend Midwest A 13.2 18 5 14 2-0 3.95 Mike Campbell Lehigh Valley Western Ind 20.0 16 6 22 1-1 4.05 Orin Kawahara Zion Western Ind 6.0 7 3 3 1-0 3.00 Andy McNally Allentown Northeast Ind 3.1 1 2 4 0-0 0.00