EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

October 16, 2012

The inspirational story that keeps on giving

The Way It Is Bill Burt
The Eagle-Tribune

---- — A few weeks ago, we had a Page 1 story about Stacey Foster and her father-in-law, Brendan “Beep” Foster.

In a nutshell, Beep rode his bike last month in the Harbor to the Bay Bike Ride for AIDS in honor of Stacey’s dad, Tim Bogue, who died from the disease in 1991.

It was an inspirational story, as Stacey was extremely close to her dad but had never been involved in any fund raising or event in her father’s memory.

That was until her father-in-law, Beep, brought it up on Father’s Day, that he wanted to ride in her father’s name. Amid many tears — “They were happy tears,” says Stacey — it was a go.

Well, Beep’s ride was a huge success. The front page story apparently touched a nerve as pledges for Beep’s ride when from $800 to $4,500 in less than a week (note: pledges still are accepted until Nov. 1 at www.harbortothebay.org; hit “donate” and then put in “Brendan Foster” or racer No. “309.” Another $750 would put Foster in the Top 10 fund raisers).

In fact, when Beep went to pick up his race number the day before the race, one of the heads of the charity commented, “Are you the Mayor of North Andover? Money is pouring in from up there.”

After the race, Stacey, a mother of three and married to Mike Foster, said there were more tears.

Here are her words:

“The day itself was emotional, incredible and surreal,” said Stacey. “As Beep crossed the finish line I gave him a huge hug and we both cried. I said ‘Thank you, thank you so much!” And he replied ‘Love ya kid.’ We hugged for a long time. It meant so much.

“Our family and extended family surrounded us, and tears came to their eyes too. It was such an emotional moment,” she says. “To have lost something so long ago and then feel so close to it once again. I will never be able to put into words how much the event, the ride, the act of love from Beep, has meant to me, on so many levels.”

Stacey said she and her father-in-law were always close. But this has created a bond she never would have imagined.

“I have never felt so close to Beep, the kind of love a daughter holds for a parent,” she said. “The ride has brought us closer than ever, especially as we sit back and remark about the amount of people who have stopped us just to say ‘Wow, incredible story.”

She adds, “We both have had people fall into tears sharing how much the story meant to them. It’s been awesome, to celebrate what we thought was an awesome thing — the bike ride — and have others think it’s just as incredible.”

Stacey also looks forward to sharing this story with her children when they get older.

“I want to share with my kids what an incredible day it was and, more importantly, what an incredible man both of their grandfathers were.”

Ex-Sox player insists:

Bobby deserved it

I contacted former Red Sox player Nate Minchey, who played for Bobby Valentine in Japan, immediately after Valentine was hired by the Red Sox to be its next manager.

Minchey, a right-handed pitcher who played parts of three seasons with the Sox from 1993, 1994 and 1996, said it was not a good experience playing for Valentine and he predicted it wouldn’t work out.

I contacted him again on last Friday to ask if he was looking to replace famed prognosticator Nostradamos.

“I’m not going to take up a job as a prophet on this one,” said Minchey. “A lot of people in baseball saw this coming, unfortunately not the people making the calls in the Red Sox organization. I think most of the players came into spring training with preconceived ideas about what Bobby V was/is and it was up to him to prove otherwise.

“Very early in spring training, he had chances to ‘win’ his players over but something in his character would not let him,” said Minchey. “My feeling is that he had lost respect of his players by the end of spring training. I think a lot of fans think the (Kevin) Youkilis deal was the beginning of it all but I think, after spending a season with Bobby V, that was near the end.”

Then when Minchey heard about Dustin Pedroia’s response, condemning Valentine’s criticique of Youkilis, it was over.

“When I read (Pedroia) saying ‘I don’t know how he did it in Japan, but that doesn’t work on this team,’ I know it’s over. What I read from Pedroia’s comment was, ‘we, the players are the Red Sox and we have a certain currency in this organization, and an outsider has come in and is trying to change that.’

“The surprising part of me was that not one player liked Bobby V,” said Minchey. “That’s not his M.O. He usually is a big sponsor of five or six guys, usually younger, and the rest of the team hates him. I agreed with Curt Schilling on the way this has unfolded at the end. Gutless. I mean, are we going to hear in his book next year that the popcorn vendors at Fenway were also responsible for his train wreck season?”