Stevens' Advice to Red Sox Could Also Apply to Celtics

WALTHAM, Mass. - New Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora had just walked out of his first major team meeting of Spring Training Monday, when he unexpectedly bumped into the familiar face of a fellow Boston sports figure. It was Celtics coach Brad Stevens, who had decided to spend a day of his NBA All-Star break taking in some afternoon baseball in sunny Fort Myers, Florida with his 12-year-old son, Brady.

Without hesitation, Cora pulled Stevens aside and asked if he could speak to his players and staff before they dispersed. The C's coach was slightly caught off guard by the sudden request, but he didn't think twice about taking advantage of the opportunity. So, he stepped up to the plate and dished out the best advice he could offer to the wide-eyed, eager group.

"First of all," Stevens relayed to Celtics reporters Wednesday evening back at the team's training facility in Waltham, Massachusetts. "I told them, 'I'm not qualified to speak to a baseball team. I got picked off the last play of my career in high school.'"

But, through his extensive coaching knowledge, Stevens was still able to connect to the Sox.

"I think that my biggest message was that throughout the whole course of the season, remember the vibe and the feeling you have now," Stevens said.

The feeling of not having any at-bats under their belts. The feeling of having fresh arms and legs. The feeling of not yet experiencing a losing streak. The exciting, unknowing feeling of what lies ahead in the coming months and the endless possibilities that await them.

Experiencing that feeling with the Red Sox is exactly the reason why Stevens went down to Fort Myers in the first place.

"That's one of the fun parts for me," said Stevens. "Just the freshness of it all."

Being in the midst of a grinding, NBA season, the Celtics coach wanted to experience the sense of freshness that he felt five months ago when his group first took the court for training camp.

"They're in their (All-Star) break and he wanted to have that feeling of the first day again," Cora told reporters Monday afternoon in Fort Myers. "When it's the first day, everybody has that extra hop, everybody's energized, everybody's into it. And he felt that he needed to come down here, not only to hang out with us and be part of it, but to have that feeling again."

The Red Sox players also found it intriguing that Stevens visited for that reason.

"It's pretty cool to have another big name in Boston come in and speak," said Sox star outfielder Mookie Betts. "He's doing a great job where he is, so we can kind of look at him and use what he has to say and apply it to us."

Hopefully Stevens' words of wisdom can also apply to the Celtics. Even though they're in the midst of the regular season, coming out of the All-Star break allows them to somewhat reboot their minds and bodies.

Fresh legs and a fresh approach is exactly what the C's need after entering the break on a three-game losing streak. If they can summon those feelings from Day 1 of training camp - the same feelings of excitement and hope that the Red Sox are currently experiencing before the MLB season takes off - then perhaps that can help give them a boost as they ready themselves to tackle the final stretch of the basketball season, which begins Friday night in Detroit.

So, let's all play ball.

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