Shane Victorino, an outfielder for the Boston Red Sox, made an appearance at Coral Seymour Memorial Park on Tuesday evening before the Oilers’ game against the Alaska Goldpanners of Fairbanks, giving out autographs to the fans and advice to the players.
Victorino, a two-time Major League Baseball All-Star (2009, 2011) and World Series champion (2008) with the Philadelphia Phillies, made the trip up to Alaska this week with his wife, the former Melissa Smith, who was born and raised in Soldotna.
“It’s been great,” Victorino said before the game. “My wife was born and raised here, and obviously I would’ve liked to be in the All-Star game but I didn’t make the team, but barring those things and understanding the importance of coming out here unasked today is what it’s about.
“To be able to come here and talk to these kids, and have them understand that things in life, to walk in there and see them watching the All-Star game earlier, to see the faces and the excitement and opportunity, it’s pretty cool.”
Victorino, who was born in Hawaii, was surrounded by fans and players in the moments leading up to Tuesday night’s game, and said he was telling players to always give nothing less than your best.
“They were asking a lot of good questions, ranging from who was the toughest pitcher you faced, and how do you approach the game, and how do you prepare to bat,” Victorino said. “My advice to them was, at the end of the night — and I believe in this and this is how I play the game — if you feel like you played 100 percent and you leave it all on the field, then that’s all that matters.”
As far as the trip up to the forty-ninth state?
“It’s been great so far, the weather’s been gorgeous. I went fishing this morning, and unfortunately no hooks,” he said.