BELGRADE — There are roughly 45 minutes to go until the start of the Alfond Youth Center’s charity golf scramble. The event’s guests, over a dozen former major leaguers from the 1960s, 70s and 80s, are milling around outside, catching up with old friends or making some last-minute tweaks to their putting strokes.

Bill Lee, meanwhile, sits in the clubhouse, taking the final bites of a hot dog. He’s eating it with golf gloves on both hands, and there’s mustard on one of the fingertips. And he’s talking about granite.

“It’s called exfoliation,” Lee says, recalling a trip through New Hampshire shortly before the Old Man of the Mountain fell. “That’s what caused it. It’s a process of eroding granite. I was a geologist at USC, I was always climbing boulders. And you always never trusted a granite boulder.”

If there is any speculation that, at 70, the Spaceman is slowing down and gearing up for re-entry from his lifelong orbit, Lee continues to provide evidence to the contrary. Why slow down when there are rock formations to discuss, philosophers to quote, weather patterns to point out and political positions to campaign for?

To this day, however, nothing continues to get Lee more animated than baseball, which is why the former Red Sox and Montreal Expos left-hander felt at home at Belgrade Lakes Golf Club on Thursday, surrounded by many of the former big leaguers he used to play with and against. A group of former Red Sox players, including Mike Torrez, Tom Burgmeier, Steve Crawford and Chico Walker, were there, and Lee had a story including nearly each one.

“I’ve got tons of stories about everyone I’ve ever played with. Hilarious stories, too,” he said. “Mike Torrez and I, we hunted pheasants together in Kansas with his brothers. And Shag Crawford, the relief pitcher. He hunts with the same guys we hunt with, so we’re all tied together through baseball.”

The highest-profile Boston name was Hall of Famer Ferguson Jenkins, who pitched two of his 19 seasons with the Red Sox.

“You see some of the friends you played against. Because you’re all friends. This is all one big family,” he said. “You always want to find out how everybody’s doing, and I think that that’s what it’s all about.”

When Lee is on the ticket, however, it can be hard for anyone else to earn top billing. He’s no stranger to Maine; the Vermont resident barnstorms throughout the region, playing games in Bangor, Mexico, Boothbay and more often, bringing between 15 and 20 former major leaguers with him.

And as Thursday proved, his colorful charisma doesn’t take a break, regardless of the topic at hand. That includes his golf game, which he said is sharp even though he limits his playing to around five tournaments a year — “I don’t like chasing my own ball,” he said.

“It’s ingrained, it’s in my muscle memory from playing with my father,” said Lee, who added that he’s a five handicap. “Calvin Peete, the old senior pro, his caddy said ‘Mr. Lee, I believe you can get up and down from the parking lot.’ And I have.”

Lee followed the brag with his quick smile and hearty laugh, and brought them back while touching upon other topics both relevant and obscure, including those pertaining to his own life. After all, it’s been quite the year in space. Lee ran for governor of Vermont — reluctantly, he stressed — as the candidate from the state’s Liberty Union Party. He gained 2.78 percent of the vote, but knew all along the position wasn’t for him.

“I told my party, ‘I don’t believe in governors,’ ” he said. “They don’t do anything. A governor is something that retards your vehicle. In NASCAR, they put governors on so everyone goes the same speed. I don’t believe in everybody going the same speed. I would need a handicap general, not an attorney general.”

Lee also got to see himself portrayed on screen, in Brett Rapkin’s film “Spaceman.” Lee was critical of the movie, which focused on the end of his career in the majors, but had no complaints about Josh Duhamel’s performance in the lead role.

“He did a great job,” he said. “The Cheez Whiz on his beard was precious because I talk all the time and I never get the mustard off my face either.”

When the conversation, however, switched to the Red Sox — specifically, the confrontation between David Price and Dennis Eckersley — Lee’s tone got serious. The quick smile went into hiding, replaced by a few pointed-finger jabs at the table to drive home the points he was making. The eyes widened as he discussed a hot-button topic involving a team to which he still feels a strong bond.

“It was a great teaching moment for (Sox manager John) Farrell and he did not take it,” he said. “It was put on a platter for him to read the riot act to those players, that this guy (Eckersley) is a Hall of Famer. What he says goes. If you don’t like it, you take it. Because he’s a Hall of Famer and you’re not.

“You’re all aspiring to be what he is, right? So shut up and go out and play together as a team. Cover first base. Don’t whine. Suck it up.”

Lee, who famously hurt his shoulder in a brawl against the Yankees in 1976, said that he would have approved seeing Eckersley resolve matters himself.

“He should have gone up and hit (Price) right in the Adam’s apple,” he said. “Then Price wouldn’t have been able to talk for a week.”

It’s a leftover bit of the competitiveness that Lee had during his career, and it’s a passion that has never left him. Baseball remains his life. He plays all the time — he counted the innings he pitched three years ago and came up with 374 — but is having a down year this summer, hindered by a nagging shoulder injury that hasn’t gotten better.

Even discussing a setback, however, can only keep the Spaceman from emerging for so long.

“I was skipping stones with my grandsons after throwing nine innings on the Pend Oreille River in northern Idaho. I tweaked my shoulder and it’s been cranky ever since,” he said. “I’ve had my orthopedic guy see my arm. He said ‘Bill, I can’t find anything wrong with you.’ I go ‘Then how come I’ve lost my fastball?’ He goes ‘Bill, you never had one.’ Is that a great doctor?”

Don’t expect it to hold him back for too much longer, however. Even after all of these years, the Spaceman isn’t done exploring the game.

“That’s my life,” he said. “I show up at every park when you least expect it. I’m your worst nightmare.”

Drew Bonifant — 621-5638

[email protected]

Twitter: @dbonifantMTM

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