Down by the banks of the River Charles

Photo I took of Gabe Kapler at the 2008 "New Stars" event

Photo I took of Gabe Kapler at the 2008 "New Stars" event

Today is a funky, unique day in Boston.  This morning, the Jimmy Fund is hosting their annual “New Stars for Young Stars” event at Jillian’s.  Players who are scheduled to be appearing include Trot Nixon and Curt Schilling (not exactly NEW stars – but I’ll admit I’m absolutely giddy at the idea of meeting Trot Nixon and I enjoy the fact that they always throw in one or two players who AREN’T “new stars”) and for those of us wanting to meet a local, Manny Delcarmen.  (I think it’s in his contract that he has to appear at any local event the Red Sox are involved in.  He’s a wonderful representative for the team and always seems to be doing something for charity during the most of the off-season.)

This year’s list of “New Stars” is a pretty good mix:

# Luis Exposito — Red Sox top catching prospect
# Jeremy Hermida — Red Sox outfielder
# Casey Kelly — 2009 Red Sox Minor League Pitcher of the year
# Ryan Kalish — 2009 Red Sox Minor League Player of the Year
# Josh Reddick — Red Sox outfielder
# Ryan Westmoreland — #2 ranked prospect

It’s always fun to watch the young ones interact with the public – for most of them it seems to come quite naturally (I credit the team’s Player Development program for a lot of that) and I love that they get this first hand look at how passionate Sox fans are all the way in January.

After the Jimmy Fund event, there is a Sports Roundtable at Fenway Park that has become an annual part of the Hot Stove, Cool Music concert series.  Moderated by Peter Gammons, this year the guests will be Theo Epstein, Terry Francona, Omar Minaya, Carlos Pena, and Bronson Arroyo.  Attending this will accomplish two things for me:  I’ve never been to one of these roundtables and am really looking forward to it (being held in Fenway makes it all the more appealing!) and I’ll get my Bronson fix for the year, even if he isn’t singing.

Tonight, the Hot Stove, Cool Music concert will be taking place at the House of Blues on Lansdowne Street.  This will be the second year that I’ve missed it…which means I’ll miss Bronson Arroyo’s only concert appearance in the area this year.  A bit of a bummer for me but I have friends who will be going and I know they’ll have a great time.

The entire day is pretty much dedicated to the fans having contact with players and folks from the team in a fun and casual setting – and all the money that goes to it goes to charity – so it’s hard to find fault with such great events.  (And yet I do…the high prices for a lot of the events, the seemingly same list of musical acts year after year for the concert…these things I can complain about but I save it for another time!)

This day is the first day in a domino-like list of days that remind me baseball is coming back.  Today gets followed by a visit to Pawtucket for their annual Hot Stove party, followed by Truck Day, followed by Pitchers and Catchers reporting…it’s all going to come at us pretty fast.

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