Troy's Take: Sox Manager Loves His Team ...And His Falmouth Family
By: Troy Clarkson, January 13, 2014
I sat in the Stockyard restaurant in Allston, simultaneously starstruck and eager to make my mark on history. Baseball history, Boston history, and the history of mankind, because all would be impacted by a Red Sox World Series win.
I was a freshman at BC, and a guy who lived on my floor had an aunt who was friendly with John McNamara, the manager of the improbable American League Champion Boston Red Sox and his wife. Knowing what a rabid fan I was of the Sox, he invited me to join him and his aunt for a private dinner with them.
So, as we drank beer and chatted baseball, I offered my take on strategy for the upcoming World Series. I suggested to the manager, in my youthful hubris and self-proclaimed baseball infallibility, that if the Sox won the first two games in New York, the manager should tap veteran Bruce Hurst to pitch game four on short rest and defer sending journeyman pitcher Al Nipper to the mound. The manager’s beer-infused and unforgettable reply may very well have altered Sox history. “Nipper can’t pitch,” was his simple retort, flatly declaring his confidence in Hurst, his ace. Of course, history tells a different tale. The Sox did indeed win the first two games in New York, and McNamara tapped the lesser-known Nipper in game four (I slept on the sidewalk for two nights and had tickets to that game). The Sox lost, and the next several days saw an unraveling of a team, the dashing of hopes, a ball rolling under some legs and into infamy, and the ever-present Bambino Curse pervading a city. I’ll take to my grave the belief that if Johhny Mac had just listened to me, the Sox just might have pulled it off that year.
Nonetheless, that dinner was still one of the highlights of my life. The chance to talk baseball in an intimate setting with the manager of my beloved Boston Red Sox was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
As much as the Sox are Massachusetts’ team, the Commodores are Falmouth’s team. Even World Champion Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell knows and agrees with that—and he’ll be here in Falmouth next week with the World Series trophy in tow to prove it. Along with Hall of Fame baseball writer Peter Gammons, Farrell will be featured at a “hot stove” baseball event at the Sea Crest next Thursday from 6:30 to 9 PM. All proceeds will benefit the nonprofit Commodores and the improvements they continue to make to Fuller Field—a recreational facility owned by the people of Falmouth. Tickets can be purchased on the Commodores’ website at www.falmouthcommodores.com.
All three of the skipper’s sons played in Falmouth for beloved Falmouth coach Jeff Trundy and were hosted by a local family, Tim and Emily Schorer. The Farrells have, as a result, become like family to the Schorers, and the kind and affable manager of the world champions has agreed to spend an evening in Falmouth talking about baseball in this place that his sons called home for a summer.
“Host families provide more than a bed—they provide a family,” said Commodores vice president Michael White as we chatted recently about this great event, conceived by Mike last year to help make improvements to the tired and dated ballpark behind the police station that Falmouth’s team calls home. Mike and team president Steve Kostas, joined by general manager Eric Zmuda and a host of veteran volunteers who make up the Commodores board of directors—the team’s family—meet and plan year-round, donating hundreds of hours each season, organizing everything from host families, hot dogs and the national anthem at game time. They work day and night to bring first-rate baseball to our first-rate locale, all because they love this team and this town. All they ask in return is that their community—our Falmouth community—love this team right back. Next week is Falmouth’s chance to do just that and help the team raise some much-needed capital improvement funds.
I’ll be there on Thursday, savoring the chance to hear a hall of fame writer and a World Series champ chat informally about America’s pastime—and America’s champs. Maybe, just maybe, one of us will have the chance to offer a tip like I did back in 1986 that
could be the difference and make baseball history next year. If you don’t come, you’ll never know.
Mr. Clarkson may be contacted at email@example.com and followed on Twitter @TroyClarkson59.