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The day Brad Stevens came to Red Sox camp

Rob Bradford
February 19, 2018 - 2:04 pm

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- They could have been any of the other fathers and sons roaming the back fields at JetBlue Park. But they weren't. They were Celtics head coach Brad Stevens and his son, Brady.

With the NBA in the midst of the All-Star break, Stevens chose to use his downtime to visit Red Sox spring training camp to kick off the week.

"It's All-Star break so we have a couple of days where we're not able to work with our guys so my Mom lives down here so I decided to run down for a couple of days, so this made a lot of sense on a Monday morning," Stevens told WEEI.com. "I came over a little bit early and they were nice enough to show us around. It's great for my son. It was a really cool experience for him and it's always fun for me. I mean I loved baseball growing up. Not as much as I liked basketball. But I'm a baseball fan and it's been fun following the Red Sox."

The visit wasn't limited to checking out batting practice and fielding drills. Stevens (who passed on the memory of catching a foul ball off the bat of Tony Gwynn as a kid) was treated to a trip through the offices and locker room of the Red Sox. It just so happened that his timing was serendipitous for both the baseball team and the basketball coach.

"Well, so we have this meeting and all of a sudden I'm walking out and he's right there -- 'Hey, Alex, I'm Brad Stevens.' I'm like, 'Oh, awesome.' He's somebody I wanted to meet a while ago. Right there, I say, 'Hey, man, can you talk to the guys?'," said Red Sox manager Alex Cora. 

"On a personal note, I think it's cool. For him to come here, the things that he's done in his career, for him to come down here and see what we do, for me, it's awesome. I'm a huge sports fan. I love it. I love sports. Not only baseball. I love watching and following people. For him to ... usually as a manager or somebody in the organization, a different voice is always good. To take advantage of that, the guys, they love it. He was excellent."

According to Stevens, the feeling was mutual.

"We sat down for 15-20 minutes this morning. It's exactly what was advertised," Stevens said of Cora. "You can tell he's extremely down to Earth. He's got a great way about him. Just being around the players and being in that locker room, there's a great vibe. And I know it's the first day. It's an exciting time for sure."

As for the team he will be joining in a few days -- which has lost four of its last five games -- the Celtics coach was to the point.

"Everybody in the league needs it. So there's no excuse for playing poorly or well before or after," said Stevens of the break, which ends with the Celtics playing at Detroit Friday. "You're good if you play good, and we've been outplayed the last few times so I'm not going to blame it on the break coming at the right time. We just need to play better."

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