BOSTON -- An off-day in a big league season is very rarely actually that, and for the Boston coaching staff, Thursday was no different.
"Got the office all set up, the apartment all set up, saw some of the guys out at the ballpark," Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said. "Relax? This is baseball season. Just have fun."
Valentine and his base coaches, Alex Ochoa and Jerry Royster, made time for a good cause, too. The three of them went to the State Room in downtown Boston, along with a handful of Major League alums like Jim Lonborg and Brian McRae, to help raise money for youth baseball clinics in the area, as well as other causes.
Longwood, an event planning and hosting organization, celebrated the launch of its charitable arm, Longwood Giving, with a gala that included silent and live auctions. The Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association was one of the beneficiaries.
"Since we've partnered with Major League Baseball Alumni last year, we wanted them to be a part of this launch," said Bill Wilk, executive director of Longwood Giving.
Valentine, who was traveling between public events in the offseason, is at it again, even during the regular season.
"If there's something for me to do, I'm really happy to do it, absolutely," Valentine said. "You start giving and you start seeing people smile, it puts you in the right mood and hopefully it will carry over to the mood [Friday]."
"It's charity time, it's things that you like to do," Royster said. "The fact that it's a Thursday and the day before Opening Day makes it easy for us with an off-day to be able to do something like this, even though we just got home [Wednesday]. It's a special time. Whenever you can find some free time to help out, you like to do it."
Longwood Giving, in conjunction with the MLBPAA, has helped to bring three baseball clinics to the Boston, Cape Cod and Newport areas, and more are planned for this year. The Alumni Association was formed in 1982 to raise money for charity and to help educate youths on the game.
"I do a ton with [the Alumni Association]," said McRae, who hit .261 with 103 home runs in 10 seasons. "It's fun being with the kids, because they want to learn. And a lot of them, the younger ones -- a lot of us retired way before they were born.
"They don't know what we did or care, but they knew we did something and they just know that we're willing to spend our time with them and they appreciate that. Because a lot of them - especially when we do some work with the inner-city kids and kids that aren't as fortunate -- they just want somebody to come out for a few hours and act like they care about them. The baseball aspect is kind of secondary."