YOU CAN TAKE THE BOY OUT OF THE NATION…

     There are nice people in the world and there are not so nice people out there, as well.  Just because you’re not nice, doesn’t mean that you aren’t a good person.  Nice people never say a bad word about others.  Nice people always have a smile and a greeting for you.  Nice people are genuine and caring and you feel good being around them.  For example, I consider myself to be a good person, but not especially nice.  Former PawSox All-Star Brandon Moss, now with Lehigh Valley, ranks, along with another former Pawtucket standout, David Murphy, as the nicest guy I’ve known in baseball.  There’s just something about him that’s infectious.  Great to be around.  Needless to say, I was psyched to spend time with Mossy on our just completed trip to Allentown Pennsylvania.

     Moss, now with his third organization, was very open and candid about his affection for the Red Sox.  “I miss it really bad.  It’s a great organization.  It’s a first class operation.  They do things so great from top to bottom.  They take care of you.  They take care of your family.  They make it so easy to just concentrate on baseball and being the best player you can be.  It’s just a great organization and I’ll always have great things to say about it.”  Mossy recalled his emotions from the day he was traded to the Pirates in the deal that sent Manny Ramirez to the Dodgers and brought Jason Bay to Fenway.  “They were mixed.  I thought I was going to get a really good opportunity in Pittsburgh, and I got a pretty decent one.  I was looking forward to that.  At the same time, I was leaving everything that I had come up in.  It’s like graduating from high school again.  You spend your whole life with those people and then one day, it’s all over.  I was also disappointed because I had been up and down (to Boston) a good bit that year.  I spent a lot of time with that team in the Big Leagues.  I was really looking forward to being a part of that team down the stretch, doing whatever I could to help them win.  I felt like I was starting to find a good niche there, as a fourth or fifth outfielder, coming off the bench.  Every player wants the opportunity to play every day.  Don’t get me wrong.  More than that, you want the chance to be a part of something special, where you go to the World Series and you have the chance to win everything.  It was so much fun.” 

     Brandon has great memories of his time coming up with the Sox,  including his Opening Day home run in 2008 in Japan, that lead the Red Sox to a victory over Oakland.  His most precious moments, though, took place several months earlier.  “Obviously, I wasn’t a very big part of it, but I got to go up in September of ’07 and be there for the playoffs.  That experience was amazing and I made my Major League debut there.”  Moss soaked up the experience and earned a World Series ring in the process.  He knows that it is a coveted piece of jewelry, that all the money in the world can’t buy, even for one of the best players ever to wear a uniform.  “I’ve got a Hall of Fame manager here, Ryne Sandberg.  I don’t know, but I’d be willing to bet that he’d trade a lot of those statistics for a World Series ring.  I was so lucky to be a part of that.  If I never get back there again, I don’t know, but those are the memories I’ll always cherish”.

     Moss, the country boy from the south, did nothing to dispel rumors that he had been seen around beautiful Coca Cola Park, in full uniform, with a bow and arrow, hunting before a game.   “I got security called on me yesterday because a fan in the suites saw me after I had shot a rabbit with my bow, skinning it and gutting it, so I could take it home and cook it.  It’s true.  I am from Georgia.  I have a little bit of redneck in me and I can’t help it.  I can’t fight the urge sometimes.” he laughed.  Moss wasn’t kidding about his lunch.  “I took the meat home and I boiled it to make it tender and then I fried it.  It was pretty good.”  Moss also tried to extol the virtues of his quarry to me.  “It’s way better than chicken.  It’s a sweeter meat and it’s better for you.”

     Moss says that the biggest change in him came 18 months ago when his son Jaden was born.  He feels that he and his wife, Alli have been blessed.  “Completely.  He makes baseball seem not quite as important.  If I go 0-4, I could care less.  I’m going home to see my little man.  He’s ‘mini-me’.  It’s like I spit him out.  He looks like me.  He acts just like me.  My poor wife. We’ve been very blessed with him.  That’s for sure.”

     If little Jaden is anything like his father, he is going to be a really nice kid.

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