Back in 2006, when my son was around 12, we were lucky enough to get the chance to watch the Sox go through a morning practice on the field at Jet Blue in Fort Myers. I remember four players particularly clearly from that day...
- PAPI was in a crummy mood, as he was in a terrible slump and there were whispers he was done. Not angry, but he looked sad/worried and wasn't in the mood to socialize. Fortunately, history would give him the last laugh.
- JOSH BECKETT looked furious. He was scheduled to start that afternoon, and our Red Sox handler told us to stay away. He was scowling, folding and unfolding a towel in a very OCD way and it was clear we shouldn't go anywhere near him.
- KEVIN YOUKILIS, as you might expect, was totally charming and chatted up me and Mrs. Mugsy in the most respectful and engaged way you can imagine. A kind, but relatively cursory "how's it going" to my son.
- DUSTIN PEDROIA was the best. When he sprinted off the field after taking his reps, he made a beeline for my son (ignoring me and Mrs. Mugsy) and engaged in an incredibly animated conversation, including all manner of four-letter words (and a few twelve-letter words) and general baseball talk. Gave him a few minutes, called to the dugout for a ball for my boy, gave him a big punch in the arm, and ran off into the dugout. My son stood there with his mouth open.