PITTSBURGH — Jim Rooker had plenty of walks and strikeouts in a 12-year major league pitching career, but he has never struck out on a walk like this.
The Pittsburgh Pirates' announcer hopes to last 12 days on "Rook's Unintentional Walk," a 315-mile trek across Pennsylvania that started today in Philadelphia and resulted from a quip made during a June 8 broadcast.
The Pirates seemed on their way to ending a six-game losing streak by taking a 10-0 lead in the first inning in Philadelphia.
"If we lose this game, I'll walk home," Rooker, 47, told broadcast partner John Sanders.
"You'll have to," Sanders said.
"I won't have to, but I will," Rooker said.
The Pirates wound up losing 15-11, but Rooker accompanied them home. Back in Pittsburgh, so many fans questioned Rooker about the off-the-cuff comment, he agreed to walk from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh for charity.
Rooker, who will be accompanied by a support crew in a motor home, plans to walk a minimum of 18 miles and a maximum of 33 miles a day, weather permitting.
Rooker knows the walk could have been worse.
"I could have said it in Los Angeles," he said.