HE HAS BEEN singing and playing guitar since he was a bush leaguer, so it should have been no big deal for Red Sox righty Bronson Arroyo to play a few tunes at the Santa Monica, Calif., pub Sonny McLean's last month--right? Wrong. After throwing six innings in a 4-2 loss to the Angels, Arroyo went to perform tracks from his first CD, Covering the Bases, for a party thrown by Desperate Housewives star James Denton (Wisteria Lane's studly plumber). But with Sox chairman Tom Werner and Housewives star Teri Hatcher (above left) in attendance, the gig, said Arroyo, was "infinitely more nerve-racking" than pitching in the World Series.
The CD, on which Arroyo covers 12 rock tunes including Pearl Jam's Black and Stone Temple Pilots' Plush withguest guitarist Red Sox G.M. Theo Epstein and guest "vocalist" Stephen King (he doesn't sing, but speaks),debuted at No. 123 on the Billboard charts. At Sonny McLean's, where the party raised money for charity, Arroyo was accompanied on stage by Alice in Chains bassist Mike Inez (Denton, in photo above, played a few tunes too) and by teammates Johnny Damon (above, with wife Michelle) and Mike Timlin, who sang backup on Dirty Water, the 1966 Standells song that plays at Fenway after every Sox win. Their mikes weren't on, though, and Timlin guessed that was out of "respect for the audience's ears."
The night was a success--Werner said it was "great Bronson does this"--despite the absence of Housewives hussy Eva Longoria, who had been struck on the head by a metal pipe and suffered a minor injury. After the set a sweat-soaked Arroyo, a gig and a ballgame behind him, sat on a stool on stage, chatting with fans. "I am hot," he announced. --Lisa Altobelli
ROBERT BECK (DENTON AND ARROYO, HATCHER, DAMONS)
DAMIAN STROHMEYER (ARROYO PITCHING)