My job tonight was to write about Ryan Kalish, the rookie outfielder who has made some significant contributions since he arrived last Saturday. It was the kind of story that wrote itself.
At the time of his promotion, Kalish seemed like a consolation prize at the trade deadline. The Red Sox, unable to improve their roster via trade, took a shot with a 22-year-old who had started the season in Double A.
Kalish is 9 for 24 since with four RBI and has started all seven games. The Sox have won five of those games. The older guys love him, even more so tonight after his two-run homer helped beat the Yankees.
“He has a lot of talent. He’s like a young Papi out there,” David Ortiz said with a hearty laugh.
Big Papi was waiting at the top step of the dugout when Kalish arrived after his dinger. He wrapped him in a bear hug.
Mike Lowell, who was on first, scored just a few steps ahead of Kalish. The rookie did what rookies are supposed to do when they belt one and ran around the bases quickly with his head down. Lowell slapped Kalish on the helmet after he scored.
“It’s wild. It really was,” Kalish said. “When I hit it, I knew it had a chance. When I knew it got out, I remember saying to myself, ‘Is this real?’ ”
Kalish grew up in central New Jersey, deep in the heart of Yankees country. His parents, Steve and Eileen, were from Dorchester and rooted for the Sox. But young Ryan was influenced, as all kids are, by his buddies.
“I was more of a front-runner than anything else,” he said. “I liked whoever won and the Yankees won. My friends were all huge Yankees fans, so it was like, jump on that bandwagon.”
Kalish started to love baseball just as the Joe Torre Yankees were becoming a dynasty. Now here he was, belting a home run to help beat Derek Jeter. Now there’s a special moment for a young man and his family.
The ball landed in the Yankees bullpen. Roman Rodriguez, the team’s bullpen catcher, retrieved it and had it delivered to the Sox bullpen. Kalish had it in his locker after the game.
“I’ll give it to my dad,” he said.
Like I said, a special moment.
Thanks to everybody for reading today. Back at it tomorrow.