Notes from the BoSox Club luncheon - April 20, 2016

The head table was comprised of Steve, Paul Shorthose, Jim Parker, WEEI broadcaster Tim Neverett, Andy Freed from Tampa Bay radio, Tampa Bay pitching coach Jim Hickey, Red Sox pitcher Matt Barnes, Red Sox pitching legend, Luis Tiant, and new board members Carol Merletti and Bill Nowlin.

Steve acknowledged the passing of longtime club member, past president Lee Cummings. His wife and son were guests at the luncheon.

Announcements included the current availability of Red Sox Media Guides, a reminder that the date of the next luncheon will be May 13, the June 26 BBQ and game with the Lowell Spinners, and that plans are still being formulated for an event on Cape Cod.

The news that Red Sox president emeritus Larry Lucchino, a two-time cancer survivor, was named Chairman of the Jimmy Fund earlier in the day, was welcomed by all.

Steve also reminded members of the Run to Home Base event, set for July 23.

Audrey Prihoda was thanked for her 34 years of service to the BoSox Club and presented a special plaque. She said a few words of thanks.

Assuming Audrey's role is Beth Donahue Smith, a task which Steve said, was "like taking over from Vin Scully."

Sarah Coffin from the Red Sox was present with a display that included one of Yaz's Silver Sluggers and a Gold Glove. She was letting BoSox Club members be the first to know of a special White Glove event to be held at some point, likely in June, before a weekend day game. The event will allow attendees to hold in their own hands (with white gloves) such treasured artifacts from Red Sox history. The event in the Royal Rooters Club will include admission to the game, lunch in the club, a Q&A with team historian Gordon Edes, and a tour of Fenway Park. The cost will likely be $150, the goal being to raise revenue to take care of such items, and to be able to bring the items to area schools and other locations. It will be limited to 60 attendees. For any questions, and to be notified of the selected date, send an email to:livingmuseum@redsox.com, or call 617-226-6527.

After some time for autographs, the luncheon began.

After lunch, Tim Neverett ("the new voice of the Red Sox") was introduced. Tim is a native of Nashua, New Hampshire, and his parents still live there. It was Tim's first BoSox Club luncheon and he spoke of his career in the years before coming to Boston – most recently with the Pittsburgh Pirates – but what a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity it was to be able to come home to New England and work broadcasting the Red Sox.

Andy Freed, the radio voice of the Tampa Bay Rays, is no stranger to the area, since he was the voice of the PawSox for four years. He loves the area here, where baseball is the subject of passionate discussion all year long. He also let everyone know how thrilled he was to meet Luis Tiant, at this luncheon, for the very first time.

Andy then introduced Jim Hickey, Rays pitching coach, and asked him a number of questions about the Rays. Jim talked about the culture that staff has developed, going back to the 2008 season. Naturally, he talked about David Price and Chris Archer.

Tim then introduced Red Sox pitcher Matt Barnes, a native of Bethel, Connecticut (and UConn graduate), who admitted he was a Yankees fan when growing up. Matt talked about life in the bullpen during games – a combination of looking over charts on opposing batters while also keeping loose conversationally and otherwise.

Luis Tiant spoke at length on two subjects – his recent visit to Cuba, and pitch counts. His visit was only the second since he left the country more than 40 years ago. Last there in 2007, he appreciated some of the changes this time. His cousins were permitted to enter the hotel and have breakfast with him, unlike the previous time when they were not allowed into the hotel. He acknowledged his discomfort in meeting Raul Castro, but felt that it was important to show some graciousness and that anything which might help the Cuban people in any respect was a good thing. "My roots are in Cuba," he said, "but my heart and my mind are in the United States."

He also talked about pitch counts, prompted by the reminder that he had thrown 168 pitches in a 1975 World Series game. He understood that there are new systems in place these days. Most important, he felt, was that pitchers maintain a competitive fire on the mound. "You don't have to hit guys, but you have to be mean." It's all about winning. He believed this year's Red Sox were a much better team, but they had to learn to put it all together. He ended: "I want another ring, guys."

Steve concluded the program by requesting that members get their luncheon reservations in a few days early, and that walkups were not going to be available in the future.

Rich Leco then called out the numbers for the day's raffle. Winners took home autographed baseballs, tickets for the evening's game, and a signed bat from Brock Holt.

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