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Legends On Deck

Dispatch from Red Sox Fantasy Camp, Day One

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Tuesday was day one for me working at the Official Boston Red Sox Fantasy Camp, held at Boston’s spring training site, JetBlue Park and the surrounding Fenway South Complex.

It is actually day three for the campers, who this year come from 29 states in the U.S. as well as Canada, Venezuela and Switzerland to get instruction and play both alongside and against former Red Sox major league players.

Sunday was check-in day and a golf tournament, followed by a welcoming banquet. Monday consisted of workouts and a draft to create ten teams coached by the ex-pros who began pool play this morning at 9:30 am following breakfast and a camp meeting which consists of various bits of information imparted to the participants and a “kangaroo court” of fines from transgressions the previous day.

Former major leaguers coaching this week are Butch Hobson, Rich Gedman, Trot Nixon, Al Bumbry, Frank Viola, Dennis Boyd, Jim Corsi, Rick Miller, Bob Montgomery, Alan Embree, Keith Foulke, Rico Petrocelli, Pokey Reese, Bob Stanley, Mike Timlin, Rick Wise, Luis Tiant, Brian Daubach, Lenny DiNardo, and also former Red Sox coach Dick Beradino, current Boston assistant hitting coach Victor Rodriguez, and Red Sox minor league pitching coach Walter Miranda.

Red Sox Fantasy Camp

I had not worked at the Red Sox Fantasy camp since 2012, the first year of JetBlue Park. That year, since the stadium was basically still a construction site no games were played in the main stadium until the camp championship on Friday night and the campers vs pros games on Saturday. This year there is one feature game in the stadium and four games being played on the complex in both the morning and afternoon time slots.

My duty on Tuesday and each day this week will be to score the game on an iPod via the GameChanger scoring system. It’s a fairly simple app that upon the games conclusion updates the team statistics. It took a couple of innings of the first game to remember the nuances of the program and for some reason the teams I was given in the first game were reversed, with the home team scheduled to bat first. It was the third inning (of a seven inning game) before I got that straightened out.

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My first game was between a team coached by ex-Red Sox third baseman (and former manager from 1992-1994) Butch Hobson and a team led by 2004 World Series champion reliever Mike Timlin.

Hobson’s Heroes clobbered Timlin’s Timbers 13-4. It was 12-0 before the Timbers put runs on the board. I couldn’t see the game being played in JetBlue Stadium between Bob Stanley‘s Steamers and Rich Gedman‘s Bombers, but I could monitor the other three games being played on the complex, and our game was the last one to finish. Both games each day are seven innings, and in the morning session the pro coaches pitch to their own team. The afternoon game is pitched by fantasy camp players.

A special treat for the campers at lunch between games was the appearance of former Red Sox postseason hero Derek Lowe, who signed autographs and posed for pictures.

My second game, also on field five (Lou Gorman Field) of the complex was a seven inning quickie played in under two hours as Gedman’s Bombers defeated Wins and Saves, coached by 1987 World Series MVP Frank Viola and ex-Red Sox reliever Keith Foulke.

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The Bombers took an early 2-0 lead, while campers Bob Henault from Mansfield, Massachusetts and Lowell, Massachusetts resident Steve Silva held Wins and Saves scoreless until the bottom of the 7th and final inning. The Bombers tacked on two more insurance runs off Wins and Saves starter Doug Scalise of Brewster, Massachusetts and held on for a 4-1 victory. Scalise pitched a complete game in the loss, throwing 108 pitches. Silva was credited with the win.

Hobson’s Heroes and Gedman’s Bombers are both 2-0 and look to be the teams to beat this year.

Wednesday’s action features pool play between the ten camp teams at 9:30 and 1:00, followed by a home run derby in JetBlue Stadium and a cookout for the campers and coaches.

Brian Mullen

Brian is a Boston native and art school student who took a summer job with a baseball team and never left. He has been employed by the Boston Red Sox in one capacity or another since 1982. He also follows and blogs college basketball. Follow him on Twitter @BostonBrian2015