Notes from the BoSox Club Luncheon - July 19, 2017

Is it difficult to keep your poise on the mound, with so much enthusiasm from the fans each time you pitch?  "If anyone's read a newspaper [referring to stories covering him], you know it can be a challenge. You need to channel all that energy – learn to use it and not abuse it."

"The best pitch is strike one," Sale said. "You have the upper hand. It is so much better than pitching behind in the count."

He called Fenway Park, "the coolest baseball stadium ever." Dave asked him about pitching in the Cape League, and Sale recalled that being the first time he had ever pitched at Fenway.

Asked about his running to keep in shape, he says he particularly likes to get in a long run the day after he pitches, as a way of clearing out his body.

Of Dustin Pedroia: "He's the pillar.  He's the backbone in the clubhouse. He bring the leadership, the energy. He grinds every single day."

Pedroia is not the only one bringing intensity to the Red Sox this year. "I got here at 11:30 this morning, and I was 12th in line. The coaches were already here, working away for a 7 PM game tonight."

Dave O'Brien ended the discussion by simply saying that (referring to Sale's starts) "every fifth day is an event. It's a joy."

Jonny Gomes was then welcomed to the front of the room, introduced as a key figure on the 2013 Red Sox which brought Boston its most recent World Championship. To go from the awful Boston Marathon tragedy to the world championship, Jonny Gomes was seen by all as one of the leaders on the Red Sox team.

Dave also welcomed him to the NESN team, joining Tom Caron and Jim Rice as an analyst. Jonny simply said, "Fenway ... best place in America!"

Dave observed that the fans at Fenway fuel players like Gomes.  "Unbelievable," he said. "You get praised for just playing the game right. These are educated fans." You might not have a good night at the plate, "but if you play the game right, run it out to first, break up two, you get praised. The fans made us go."

Thinking back to 2013, Jonny talked about how David Ortiz calling a meeting in the dugout at a key moment in GameFour truly turned the World Series around. When he was with Tampa Bay in2008, they really could have used the same sort of dugout talk that Ortiz brought. Not a clubhouse meeting, but "during the game, he brought us all in. He had the presence. Only a guy like Ortiz could do that."

Gomes then talked about the time he was attacked by a wolf, one of five near-death experiences he has survived.

Thoughts on the 2017 Red Sox? "When you're on the inside, on the team, you can't help but notice what's going wrong, and you want to try to fix it." Boston fans can get nervous about a two-game lead, yes, but, "Sometimes you have to take a step back and realize you're in first place."

On facing Chris Sale? "Not fun. Not at all."

Jonny Gomes then stayed and signed autographs for anyone who wanted one.

Dick Flavin recited an ode to The Wall.

The raffle made several Club members particularly happy to go home with an extra memento.

--  Bill Nowlin

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