Hoover resident introduces Red Sox on live TV

Published 8:48 pm Monday, November 17, 2008

For his birthday, Will Shepherd not only got to see his favorite team, the Boston Red Sox, play – he also got to introduce them live on TV.

Will, the son of county commissioner Rick Shepherd, was chosen out of the crowd of fans before the Sept. 28 game to announce the Red Sox lineup on the New England Sports Network.

Rick and Will made the trip to Boston to see the Red Sox play the New York Yankees to celebrate Will’s 12th birthday, which was Sept. 26.

While the father-and-son duo were waiting in line to buy souvenirs, a woman walked up and asked if Will would like to read the Red Sox lineup.

“My first thought was, ‘Are you serious? Are you kidding?'” Will said. “I sat in the Red Sox dugout, and that was cool because I saw all the players warming up.”

After reading the lineup, Will and his dad settled in to watch the game, which kept being delayed because of rain. That didn’t matter to Will, though.

“It was very fun watching the game because it’s the first game I’ve been to that wasn’t the Braves,” he said. “It’s the Red Sox and the Yankees, the biggest rivalry.”

The Yankees ended up winning 6-2, which also didn’t dampen Will’s spirits. Instead, he just laughed at the creativity of the Red Sox fans.

“A-Rod (Alex Rodriguez) was dating Madonna, and the fans kept screaming ‘Material Girl’ at him,” Will said.

After the game, Will and Rick went to eat at Texas Roadhouse, where another surprise was waiting for him. People at the restaurant recognized Will from the television broadcast.

“I was surprised they noticed me,” Will said.

The game was on a Sunday, so Will had to miss school the next day. However, he did make it to after-school football practice, and found an appreciative audience.

“My dad was telling everyone, and they were like, ‘Oh my gosh, you’re so lucky,'” he said. “It’s one thing that none of my friends have done. I was really lucky that I got to do that.”

Rick said people in Boston were very helpful, from helping Will find a lost wallet to taking pictures of Will in the dugout when Rick left his camera in the car.

“Before we went up there, we’re not thinking that people are as friendly up there,” Rick said. “But we have a very good opinion of Boston now.”

The two said they plan to go back. After all, Will wants to see his two favorite teams, the Red Sox and the Atlanta Braves, duke it out. But the memory of this game will do for now.

“It was a great birthday. It was probably the best present I’ve gotten,” Will said.