Notes from the BoSox Club Luncheon - September 27, 2017

The military guests were then introduced, with one of them – Specialist Juarez – having recently re-enlisted in the U. S. Army in a ceremony atop the Green Monster.

Mike introduced his wife Gerrianne, Jackie Bradley's wife Erin, the Bradleys' 16-month-old daughter Emerson, and Red Sox Hall of Famer Tommy Harper.

Dick Flavin regaled attendees with a rendition of a new work, "When It's Playoff Time, It Can Be Darn Cold" – or something like that. Outside, the temperature was in the high 80s, but the deeper the playoffs go into October, the colder it indeed will become.

A very lengthy line for autographs assembled, following by the food service.

Mike Vining then introduced WBZ's Dan Roche, who started imploring the Sox to "hurry up and clinch!" Dan acknowledged representatives in attendance from the Pawtucket Red Sox, the Portland Sea Dogs, and the Cape Cod League.

Dan then introduced Jackie Bradley Jr. as captain of the effort to honor the Red Sox Scholars this year, active with the Jimmy Fund, and active with the after-school program BASE. "It's an honor to be here," Jackie said. "I'm very humbled to be here, and to accept the BoSox Club Man of the Year award." He said he really enjoyed working with kids in the community programs he supports. "We play a sport for a living but we're people, too. To be able to put a smile on a face makes it all worthwhile." Dan noted that Jackie himself seems to always have a smile on his own face, and Jackie replied that he was blessed.

Last year, he said, there were a lot of younger players – himself included—who had never played in the postseason. Now they're more experienced, and hoping to take the playoffs further.

Dan then asked him, "Which would you rather have, a game-winning catch or game-winning home run?" The BoSox Club Man of the Year gave the best answer: "It depends on the situation. Why not a game-saving catch in the top of the ninth and a game-winning home run in the bottom of the ninth?" He added that the players place higher expectations on themselves than fans probably realize.

Jackie's daughter Emerson started calling out for her father: "Dada!" She was welcomed onto the dais, had the microphone placed in front of her and urged to say "Bye" to all, which she did – then posing for a flock of photos.

Next up was Boston Globe reporter Nick Cafardo. He marveled how Jackie Bradley Jr. seemed to have an internal GPS that tells him just where to go the moment the ball leaves the bat. Dan noted that Nick had started at the Quincy Patriot Ledger. Nick said he had begun there in 1984 and then has been with the Globe since 1989.

"What do you like best about baseball?" he was asked. Dan noted that he has covered other sports such as football. Nick said he liked the everyday aspect of baseball, that it not being just one game a week, and that it's more like an unfolding daily soap opera. He added that he was fortunate as a writer to have covered three Super Bowls and three World Championships.

Dan did ask about Nick's evaluation of John Farrell, who seems to continue to reap criticism despite possibly becoming the first manager in 40 years of baseball to have led his team to first place in their division in consecutive seasons. "I think he's done a great job," Nick said, building on a theme on a recent Globe column he had devoted to the very same topic. This looks to be his third Division title in the last five years, embracing one World Championship – him meanwhile fighting off cancer. Nick asked, "What more can you want?" The Sox were in first place, even with Steven Wright lost right when the season began, with David Price out most of the year, and with injuries keeping several other players (such as Dustin Pedroia) out of the game.

Looking ahead to the postseason, he handicapped Houston and the Indians, noting that the Astros have been very consistent all season long – and then added Justin Verlander.  Cleveland has all their pitchers this year, and are a deeper team than many people realize.

Tommy Harper then presented trophies to all the teams who were honored in the Annual Baseball Amateur Champions Awards. Announced from the podium by Dan Roche, Tommy handed the trophies to the teams and the Red Sox Hall of Famer posed for photographs with each.

The teams honored were:

Braintree Post 86 of American Legion Baseball

Gateway Babe Ruth League (Babe Ruth League)

Brewster White Caps (Cape Cod League)

University of Connecticut (Division 1 College Baseball)

Boston College (Division 1 College Softball)

Taconic High School (High School Div. 1 Baseball)

Milford High School (High School Div. 1 Softball)

Lexington Blue Sox (Intercity League)

TJO Sprots (Park League)

And for the eighth year in a row, the Somerville Alibrandis Club (Yawkey League). Dan Roche had some fun with the Alibrandis Club suggesting, first, that they were the only team in the league, and, second, that they were actually playing 6-8 year olds. The Alibrandis Club has in fact won 18 of the last 20 seasons.

After the presentations, the customary raffle was held and many Club members left with treasured bats, signed baseballs, and other items.

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