Baseball Night at Fenway Park Features John Farrell
Published: Thursday, January 24, 2013
Updated: Thursday, January 24, 2013 01:01
Last night was a special one for the Boston College baseball program, as it held its 21st annual Baseball Night in Boston at Fenway Park’s State Street Pavilion. New Red Sox manager John Farrell served as the keynote speaker for the event, which helped raise funds for BC baseball.
Speaking to the players in attendance, Farrell focused his talk on the challenging road from college baseball to the major leagues. He said the first thing everyone had to do was put aside their bats, gloves, and statistics, and focus on their character.
“The greatest challenge you are going to face is yourself,” Farrell said. “You have to know who you are as a player. You have to figure that out.”
Farrell then asked the players how they wanted to be known, and gave his advice on what might make them successful on any team.
“Be known as a team player,” Farrell said. “That is my advice to you. Give yourself up to something bigger.”
He noted that players won’t be remembered for what they did statistically, but instead what team they won a championship with.
Besides baseball advice, Farrell told the crowd stories from his time in baseball, ranging from his time as the director of player development for the Cleveland Indians, to the pitching coach for the Boston Red Sox (which included a World Series Championship in 2007), to the manager of the Toronto Blue Jays, and now coming back to be the manager of the Boston Red Sox.
The team joined former players, their families, and BC fans who were in attendance for the night, which started with a dinner and a silent auction. Then, Boston Herald columnist Steve Buckley took over as the emcee for the night introducing the various speakers.
The Diamond Club, a group of alumni supporters for the baseball program, gave the annual Eddie Pellagrini Award to former player and current director of baseball operations Pete Frates, who is battling ALS. The award is given for service to the program, honoring Pellagrini’s motto of “make it better for the next guy.”
“This award means so much because it solidifies all the thoughts and dreams I have for this program,” Frates said. “Be passionate about our team. Be passionate fans. Be passionate alumni.”
Head coach Mike Gambino and athletic director Brad Bates spoke about how special the night was for the program, and thanked those in attendance for coming.
“Some of these boys that are going to end up in the big leagues, some of these boys that are going to end up really successful in their careers off the field when they leave here, this team that has a chance to make a run in the postseason, and this program over the next five to 10 years, which I think is going to be a lot of fun to watch, is a direct result of what you guys do for our program,” Gambino said.
Gambino also announced that senior Matt Pare will wear former player Sonny Nictakis’ No. 8 this year, an honor that goes to the player that demonstrates unselfishness and handles adversity with class.
Before Frates and Farrell spoke, former player John Spatola directed the live auction for three more prizes to raise money.
As a Division I baseball program in the Northeast, BC is forced to spend the majority of its early season in traveling back and forth from the South where they begin their schedule. The proceeds from the event helped defray that cost, as well as contributing to operating expenses including recruiting, equipment and scholarships.
“This event is the lifeblood of our program,” Gambino said. “It gives us the resources to do what we all want to do and help these boys reach their potential on the baseball field, in the classroom, and as people. We couldn’t do it without this event.”