So who's the most interesting man in the world, skip? "I don't know, the guy from Dos Equis?"
All season long, fans at Bowman Field have watched and marveled at the likes of Roman Quinn, Larry Greene and Chris Serritella. But for the past few weeks, it's been Cameron Perkins lighting up opposing pitchers.
"Early in the season I thought I had a little bad luck and so now it's come back around and evening out a little bit," Perkins says.
A little bit? Perkins is hitting a sizzling .360 in the month of August. Since July 21st, he has raised his batting average from .236 to a team-best .294. On a dreary, rainy night in Jamestown, New York, Perkins finally hit his first professional home run. It was long overdue.
"I've always thought Cam could hit," says Tracy, "The one thing I like a lot, he puts the bat on the ball usually." For a team that strikes out more than any other in the New York-Penn League, that's a welcome change.
As is Perkins' personality.
An extroverted jokester, Perkins' Twitter account reads: "4th Grade Spelling Bee Champion." I suppose that trumps being a professional baseball player.
Perkins is an easy interview. He jokes. He laughs. He talks your ear off. He takes things lightly, which can be great for a clubhouse. "He's a funny guy," Tracy says, "He's definitely a good guy to have here."
This, despite holding the distinction of having the state of Indiana's highest-ever single-season and career high school batting averages.
"My junior year of high school, if I swung at a ball that bounced three feet in front of the plate, it would have bounced up, hit my bat and found a hole," Perkins laughs, "The baseball gods were really looking after me that year."
His .723 junior year batting average shattered the previous mark set by Toronto Blue Jays silver slugger Adam Lind by 48 points. His career high school average of .628 is 88 points higher than the next closest player.
And Perkins does this without batting gloves. That is another amusing story: "I hurt my finger in high school and it was so swollen I couldn't fit my hand in the batting glove, so I just went without gloves and it grew on me," Perkins says, "Now, if I put on batting gloves I feel like I'm going to sling the bat three feet into the bleachers."
But this isn't high school, or even college. Gone are the aluminum bats with protective rubber grips. Enter hand-splintering old-school wooden bats with pine tar handles. "I gave him until August 1st to wear batting gloves," says Tracy with a chuckle, "but somehow he hasn't broken down yet."
"I mean, it roughs up my hands a little bit," Perkins shrugs. A little bit? Perkins' hands are so blistered and bruised they rival those of an East Texas farm hand. But Tracy doesn't think Perkins will break, "You know once you bring something up to Perk, he's going to stay with it just to prove you wrong."
Perkins also realizes the benefit of playing with some talented teammates. "It helps with Roman Quinn hitting in front of me," Perkins adds, "He gets on base a lot and they're scared of him stealing, so they throw me a lot of fastballs."
Still, he can't help making another joke, "Plus, when Roman gets on second base, he's so fast I can pretty much bunt and he scores. It's great."
Perkins came to Williamsport as an experienced player. He spent three years at Purdue University, helped lead the Boilermakers to their first Big Ten Championship in 103 years and was drafted in the sixth round of this year's draft. On a team as young as the Crosscutters, Perkins sees himself as the grizzled veteran. "If it wasn't for (Kevin) Quaranto, I'd probably be the old guy walking around with a cane," he jests.
Cameron Perkins is 21 years old.
All joking aside, Perkins has been a valued member of the 2012 Crosscutters. He's one of just four Williamsport hitters with significant college experience. Defensively, he will play wherever he's needed. "As long as I'm in the lineup hitting, it doesn't matter. Whether it's DH, first, third or right field, it doesn't matter," Then a grin lights up his face. He can't help himself, "Or pitcher, catcher..."
In any case, if Perkins keeps hitting like he is, he can keep the jokes coming.