BROOKSVILLE — Brooksville's favorite baseball son is back in town today. But Bronson Arroyo won't be taking a spot on any pitching mound. Rather, the Cincinnati Reds hurler will be behind a microphone with his guitar entertaining folks at tonight's Uptown Block Party at Brooksville City Hall.
Ardent Arroyo fans have come to know well the pitcher's musical hobby. In 2005, following a heralded World Series championship in which he pitched for the Boston Red Sox, he released a debut album of 12 pop cover songs titled Covering The Bases.
Describing his music as a "personal passion," Arroyo's live performances have generally been limited to schools and charity events due to his busy baseball schedule.
"Getting up and playing for people is fun for me because I don't get to do it as often as I'd like," Arroyo said Wednesday. "It's very therapeutic."
Brooksville Parks and Recreation director Mike Walker said he talked to Arroyo earlier this week and joked that he had an opening in the entertainment schedule at the monthly block party. A few text messages later, the deal was done, Walker said.
"Bronson is a great guy who is always willing to do things for the city," Walker said. "It's going to be great having him here."
Fresh off a season that saw him as the Reds' winning pitcher in game two of the National League Division Series playoffs, the former Hernando High School standout said he enjoys coming home to the small town where he grew up learning to play baseball.
"I spend about 80 days a year in Brooksville, mostly in the offseason," Arroyo said. "When you're constantly in big cities, it's nice to have a place like this to come home to, where the people you see on the streets are mostly friends you grew up with."
Arroyo said he started teaching himself guitar in 1999 when he was a rookie with the Pittsburgh Pirates as a way to relieve the boredom of road travel. Although he mostly plays covers by bands such as the Goo Goo Dolls, Alice In Chains and Pearl Jam, he said he has since written several of his own songs, a couple of which he hopes to debut at the block party.
"I think we're scheduled to play about 45 minutes," said Arroyo, who will be joined on stage by guitarist Dean Rusk and drummer Joe Solomon, who was Arroyo's geometry teacher at Hernando High. "I think we're just going to jam a bit and see what happens."
Brooksville's monthly Uptown Block Party will be from 5 to 7 p.m. in the parking lot of Brooksville City Hall, 201 Howell Ave., Brooksville.
Logan Neill can be reached at (352) 848-1435 or [email protected]