Jon Lester showing off his new charity wine, CabernAce. (Photo - K.Chandler)
Longball Vineyards Charity Wine Event
By Kris Chandler
House of Blues Boston, Kenmore Square
Standing in for my laid-up editor-in-chief, I attended the Red Sox Charity Wine Launch Party last Thursday, at the House of Blues' exclusive Foundation Room. While I've been fortunate enough to spend a good amount of time at the Foundation Room attending various concerts and social gatherings with the fine gents from G2 Technology, I'd never been to a charity event there. I arrived just before 5PM to a sea of fishnets and black eyeliner. Was I in the wrong place? No, there was a My Chemical Romance concert at the House of Blues proper that evening, and these younglings were awaiting the opening of the doors. I waited in a light rain for the staff to find us another point of egress, mingling with the bizarre array of pseudo-media, photographers, and drunk fans who'd scored invites.
Once inside the attendees made haste for the bar, where glasses filled with the newly announced vintages were lined up. This year's wines are named after the Red Sox resident aces, Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz. Being a red wine kind of guy, I first sampled the CabernAce, named for Lester. It's a decent wine, nothing too complicated, fruity and friendly without being too dry. After a taste of the red, I turned to the ChardonClay. While I'll admit I'm not the biggest fan of white wine, I was impressed by how tasty and easy to drink this was. Even Clay himself, an adamant red wine drinker, said he really enjoyed the flavor Longball Vineyards had imbued in his namesake wine.
After a good half-hour of mingling, during which time I got the chance to meet and talk some baseball with Dan Shaughnessy, it was time for Heidi Watney to begin her duties as emcee. She spoke briefly about the sponsors of the event, the Jimmy Fund, which was represented by Clay's wine, and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Institute, which Jon's wine was benefitting. After the speakers for each charity briefly took the mic, it was time for a little Q-and-A with the aces. Both fellows had their wives and toddlers with them, each having been born last summer, less than a month apart. Both reiterated how much it means to them as players to see what a positive impact they can have on the lives of cancer-stricken fans. Jon especially recalled how hard it was for him to accept his new-found role as a cancer survivor. After he had successfully overcome non-Hodgkins lymphoma, all he wanted to do was get back to baseball. However, his future would include more than just throwing no-hitters and winning World Series games. He'd have no choice but to be the face of the cancer fight for Red Sox Nation. Clay, while not a cancer survivor himself, said he's blown away by how special it is to him just walking into a patient's room, and seeing them and their families forget about what they're going through, if only for a few minutes.
I also had the chance to meet Jon briefly, to tell him I was in the stands in May 2008 when he no-hit the Royals, and to generally drool over him like any adoring fan would. I even got a chuckle out of him when, upon realizing I was acting like a 12-year-old girl at a Justin Beiber concert, I told him I'd stop kissing his ass and let him get on over to the stage. All-in-all, it was yet another special event, made possible by Sawxblog, and Derek's commitment to staying involved with not only the Red Sox, but the Jimmy Fund and the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. Sadly, I was only in attendance because fate dealt Señor Hixon a cruel hand earlier this year, requiring him to undergo ACL reconstruction. But I'm happy to report his surgery was a smashing success, and he's well on his way to a full recovery. I hope it's ahead of schedule so we can participate in many more Jimmy Fund/Red Sox events in and around Fenway.
If you'd like to learn more about the Jimmy Fund, Dana Farber cancer research, the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Institute, or Red Sox Charity Wines, here are some links:
As always, GO SOX!