It was in 1989, during their maiden season with the Baltimore Thunder, that general manager Darrell Russell got a notion of what life would be like in the Major Indoor Lacrosse League with the Welsh brothers.
The Thunder was playing the New England Blazers when Tim Welsh got into a fight. Off came his helmet and in came a cheap shot that broke his nose.
Pat Welsh, his fraternal juices flowing, joined the fray. After getting in the referee's face and delivering his two cents' worth, Pat was ejected. He returned to the bench in street clothes, ignored the referee's warnings to leave and began arguing with fans.
"He was wearing this crazy felt hat, so he wasn't exactly incognito," Russell said. "I knew then we had some characters on our hands."
The characters came to Russell by way of Ellicott City, Loyola High and the University of North Carolina. Now in their third year with the Thunder, the Welsh brothers are two of the team's best players.
Going into Saturday night's game against the New York Saints at the Baltimore Arena, Tim, 26, the Thunder's MVP last year, has 12 points on six goals and six assists, behind Ricky Sowell (21) and Jeff Jackson (13). Pat, 24, has eight points.
To hear Pat tell it, he is the extrovert and Tim is the introvert. To hear Russell tell it, "They're both crazy." That statement is confirmed by coach John Stewart: "They're the original wild and crazy guys."
Tim's trademark is what he calls the "Welsh Shuffle," which is akin to a squirm, or a dance, or whatever it is some football players do after scoring a touchdown. He performs it after scoring a goal.
L "As the introvert, you'd think he wouldn't do it," Pat said.
"I put aside my introvert characteristics," Tim said, "and use the lacrosse field to display my theatrical tendencies. I got it from the NFL. I do it to get the fans going. Not on the road, though; that would be uncool."
Just as a squirrel collects nuts, Tim, according to Russell, collects food after a game. Once, some of the hot dogs for the players were discovered in Tim's duffel bag.
Asked if he was going to distribute them, Welsh replied, "No, they're for myself." Another time, the players were disappointed to find their sub sandwiches gone. They were, of course, in Tim's bag.
"It's not that he has larcenous intent," Russell said. "He just hoards food."
Explained Welsh, "I don't like to eat right after a game. I get three or four hot dogs and three or four Cokes and go home."
Russell thought the Thunder might have to get along without Tim this season when he hurt his back and couldn't practice for a month. Pain was shooting down his left leg. His back in a brace, he limped up to Stewart and said, "Coach, I probably can't play this year."
"Next thing I knew, Tim was ready for the opener," Russell said. "Among Tim's eccentric tendencies is a flair for the dramatic."
He recovered, Welsh said, "with a lot of therapy and prayer."
In real life, the Welshes aren't lacrosse players. As third-year MILL players, they earn only $200 a game over a 10-game season.
Tim works as a land developer in his father's firm, Welsh Co. Last year, Pat started his own business, Environ Marketing Corp., which specializes in advertising, public relations and sales in the air and water filtration field.