Darnell McDonald Reflects on Red Sox Tenure, Life After Baseball

Darnell McDonald Reflects on Red Sox Tenure, Life After Baseball

by March 11, 2021 1 comment

For the Boston Red Sox, 2010 was defined by injuries as they finished third in the division and missed the playoffs. One player who represented a bright spot was Darnell McDonald.

Before joining the Red Sox, McDonald had played for four different teams. However, in Boston, he got the opportunity to prove himself and appeared in 234 games before he was placed on waivers and claimed by the Yankees during the 2012 season. Although McDonald retired following the 2013 season, he will never forget his time in Boston.

“Putting on a Red Sox uniform and playing at Fenway Park in that atmosphere was amazing,” said McDonald. “A Hall of Fame manager gave me an opportunity to play. They gave me the chance to be out on the field, and I wanted to take full advantage of that. It was a packed house every night. My walk-off against the Rangers was one of the greatest moments in my career. If it wasn’t for that moment, I don’t know where I would be.”

Although McDonald spent seven years in the majors, most of his success came in Boston. In 2010, his first year with the club, McDonald had a career year. The Colorado native hit .270 and drove in 34 runs while appearing in 117 games. While McDonald only spent three years in Boston, 17 of his 20 career home runs came in that span.

Dustin Pedroia‘s impact

McDonald became a fan favorite in Boston almost instantly. In his first game with the Red Sox, he tied the game with a pinch-hit two-run homer and drove in the winning run an inning later. During his time with the Red Sox, he also played alongside franchise icons David Ortiz and Dustin Pedroia.

“Playing with Pedroia was like playing with a mental skills coach and a hype man every day,” said McDonald. “He brought the same energy nonstop, and we fed off his energy. One year, he hurt his ankle, and he was still out there with the team. He brought a chair out during batting practice and still took swings and fielded ground balls. Even when he couldn’t play, he was still looking for ways to get better. That is one memory that shows the type of player and person he is.”

Life after baseball

While McDonald retired in 2013, he is still involved with baseball through a podcast he recently started called Let ‘Em Play. The podcast also includes former major leaguers Mike Cameron and Bill Hall, who, along with McDonald, talk to former players about their baseball experiences.

“It started up during the pandemic,” said McDonald. “I wanted to use this time to connect people that I haven’t been able to. I was able to connect with Bill Hall and Mike Cameron, who are some of the favorite guys that I played with. We decided to do the podcast to share our stories in the game and our guests’ stories. There are so many things that happen to these guys who play at the highest level that people don’t see, and we want to give people an insight into that.”

As the podcast continues to grow, McDonald will be looking to shine the light on the stories of former and current players.

“Our goal is to inspire other ballplayers to be the best players that they can be,” said McDonald. “I was a journeyman and spent a lot of time in the minor leagues. We are hoping with some of these stories we can help people in their process and journey in making it to the major leagues.”

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