Notes from the BoSox Club Luncheon - August 21, 2018

Club President Mike Vining introduced the head table guests as he opened the luncheon, and then introduced two special guests from the United States Army, both stationed in Natick. Mike handed the honors over to M.C. Tim Neverett of WEEI, and Tim in turn introduced Ryan – and noted that on March 1, Brasier was home on his couch. He'd played for the Hiroshima Carp last year, but had not signed up with any American big-league ballclub.  The Red Sox signed him, and then brought him up, first appearing on July 9. 

With the Red Sox, Brasier had appeared in 17 games as of the date of our luncheon, and had worked 18 innings, giving up only two runs – a 1.00 ERA. He's had a major impact on the club. Brasier grew up in North Texas, and was actually a catcher in high school. But since "I couldn't hit," the Angels converted him to become a pitcher. He appeared in seven games for the Angels in 2013, but it wasn't until 2018 that he got back to the big leagues – with the Red Sox.

He was a non-roster player for the Red Sox and worked in Pawtucket, doing the best he could. He did well, and was performing well at the right time and he got the call. PawSox manager Kevin Boles called him at 12:30 am and told him to be on an early morning flight to join the Red Sox on the road.

When he arrived, Red Sox manager Alex Cora told him just to be ready. He had no real defined role at first, but has worked his way into becoming the eighth-inning man for the Red Sox.

He said he certainly was thrilled to now be playing for "the best team in baseball."

Brasier said he had always thrown hard. Since arriving in Boston, he's come to more fully appreciate the analytic approach to the game. Both Sandy Leon and Blake Swihart have been very prepared, very helpful. He added, in response to Tim's question, that Jackie Bradley Jr. was simply the best outfielder he had ever seen. Tim then said that Brasier needed to get back to the park "for tonight's win." The autograph session then began, so that Brasier could accommodate club members and depart for Fenway.

After autographs and lunch, Dick Flavin came to the podium, lamenting how the Red Sox had lost two games in a row – and yet the team was still 50 games over .500. It takes getting used to, he said. Dick then sang a creation reliving the "good old days" when the Red Sox were perpetual losers, often at the very last minute. Don Buddin, Bill Buckner, Carlton Fisk, Grady Little, and Bucky Dent were among those mentioned. He ended by signing the final line: "I miss the grief of those Good Old Days."

Tim Neverett then introduced Jim Rosenhaus, Cleveland Indians radio announcer for WTAM Radio. It was Jim's second visit to a BoSox Club luncheon. In response to Tim's asking about the success the Indians were having in 2018, Jim said the Indians were now the team on the clock. With the Red Sox and Cubs each having won recent world championships, the Indians are now the team suffering the longest drought.

They are currently playing their best baseball of the season. He noted the number of former Red Sox on the Tribe's coaching staff – from manager Terry Francona to Brad Mills, Carl Willis, and Victor Rodriguez.

The Monday night game, on August 20, felt like "October baseball in August." Both teams were facing some real competition, with the Red Sox fighting for an historic wins total.

Lenny DiNardo, now working as an analyst for NESN, was the next guest. Lenny was, of course, a member of the 2004 World Champion Red Sox. Recalling his later work for Oakland and Kansas City, he said Boston was the only city in the country that had such rabid fans. Any other place he could walk on the street, even the day after a win, and not be recognized. Here in Boston, fans live and die with every pitch.

He talked about how Cora has impressed him from the first time he'd seen him as a player. He was always on the top step of the dugout, eyes on the game, thinking about how the game was progressing.

Cora benefits from the players Dave Dombrowski has brought together – recently players like Steve Pearce and Nathan Eovaldi.

DiNardo started with NESN after last year's All-Star Break. He gets to the station 3-4 hours before the game, just the way he got to the ballpark hours early – following the same sort of routines, wired like a ballplayer in that way.

What's the most interesting way you ever spent time in the bullpen, he was asked? He wasn't the member of the bullpen drum crew, he said. Basically, it was working on his pumpkin seed flicking.

In addition to working as an analyst with NESN, he has his real estate license in Rhode Island, and he also works teaching pitching.

The luncheon ended with the raffle, and a few first-time winners were very understandably quite excited to leave the luncheon with, say, a JBJ-signed baseball.

--by Bill Nowlin

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