Until Tuesday night, Jose Casas had never seen his son, Triston, play at Fenway Park.
He was there in 2018 when Triston signed his first contract with the Red Sox and was invited to take batting practice on the field with the major leaguers.
But this was the real thing, a September game against the Yankees with his son starting at first base. Wearing a Red Sox pullover, Jose had field passes before the game and took in the scene, occasionally snapping photographs.
Imagine getting to see your son play for the Red Sox against the Yankees at Fenway Park. What could be better?
Your son belting a 411-foot two-run home run over the Green Monster off Gerrit Cole. That was better.
But it was not enough for the Red Sox as the Yankees rallied for a 7-6 victory in 10 innings.
“It’s tough that we came up short,” Casas said. “But outside of that it was pretty awesome.”
Casas was 1 for 3 with a walk and a stolen base. In a game that featured six home runs, two by the remarkable Aaron Judge, his shot to left field in the second inning was as impressive as any.
With a runner at third and two outs, Casas said he “wasn’t trying to do too much.” All he wanted to do was get the run home.
But Cole threw him a 98 mile per hour fastball up in the strike zone, Casas stayed short to the ball and drove it the other way with an exit velocity of 108.6.That’s opposite-field power.
The ball thumped off the billboard in left center and ignited the Red Sox fans in the crowd of 34,250.
Casas will surely hit plenty more home runs at Fenway. Few will be better than his first.
“I was just trying to stay on top of the ball and hit a single,” Casas said. “So I might try and apply that approach more often.”
Casas made his major league debut at Fenway on Sept. 4, a Sunday afternoon game against the Rangers. There was no batting practice on the field that day. Then the Red Sox went on the road for six games.
“It’s funny because when he was taking BP, I was like, ‘Oh, this is the first actual regular day for him at Fenway,’ ” Sox manager Alex Cora said.
“Show up early, do his routine, take batting practice out there and he was shooting balls over the wall. It was impressive. He put together some good at-bats.
“He’s a good player. That’s a good pitcher over there and he put together some quality at-bats against him.”
Told what his manager had noticed, Casas actually grimaced a bit. He’d prefer his pre-game swings drive the ball to the pull side.
“I don’t want to be late in BP. That’s never a good sign,” he said. “But definitely I think that wall is going to play to my swing . . . I think that short wall is going to help me out a lot. I’ll continue working on it, playing pepper with it and use it to my advantage.”
After drawing a walk off Cole in the fifth inning, Casas came up again in the seventh facing lefthander Lucas Luetge. He fell behind 0 for 2, took two curveballs off plate and hammered a slider to right field.
The line drive drove Oswaldo Cabrera back to the warning track before it was caught. With a little more loft it might have been a second homer.
At 6-foot-5, 250 pounds, Casas was anxious to see 6-foot-7, 282-pound Aaron Judge play in person and study his swing. Judge was 3 for 5 with two home runs and a walk.
“He didn’t miss his pitches,” Casas said. “I tip my cap to him. He’s the caliber of player he is for a reason. It was cool getting to talk to him and introduce myself. Pretty cool.”
Casas said he enjoyed the “pretty intense” atmosphere at Fenway for a Yankees game and was looking ahead to Wednesday.
“I know my Pops had a great time,” he said