Shenendehowa graduate Ian Anderson pointed out Monday since he grew up roughly halfway between Fenway Park and Yankee Stadium, his baseball fan allegiance could have gone either way.
Maybe in theory, but not really. His father, Bob, is a loyal Red Sox supporter who became one because his own father loved Ted Williams.
“I was a diehard Red Sox fan, so they didn’t have much of a choice,’’ Bob Anderson said. “And it’s funny that just a couple of years ago, we’re rooting on the Sox in the World Series and now all of a sudden Ian two years later is going to facing a lot of those guys.”
Six days after his triumphant major league pitching debut against the Yankees, Ian Anderson will make his second major league start for the Atlanta Braves against the Red Sox, his childhood favorite, at Fenway Park. He’s scheduled to take the mound against Boston at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Though the last-place Red Sox aren’t nearly the powerhouse they were two years ago, Ian Anderson said pitching at Fenway will still be a memorable experience.
“It’s a stadium that I’ve been to probably four or five times as a fan,” he said. “Obviously, all the history here and even walking in today, you can tell right from the get-go when you walk in it’s a special place. I’m looking forward to getting out there tomorrow night.”
In a strange bit of hardball happenstance, Anderson made his first start against the Red Sox’ archrival and held the Yankees to one hit in six innings last week. Now he’ll try to master his father’s favorite team.
“I’ll be a wreck again tomorrow,” Bob Anderson said. “He will be as cool as can be.”
Ian Anderson visited Fenway Park for a workout shortly before the 2016 major league draft. The Red Sox had the No. 12 pick and were considering Anderson. Naturally, his father came along.
“I said, I’m going to that one,” Bob said. “My wife and I went and sat in the stands and wandered around the ballpark freely and it was just awesome seeing him out there.”
However, Ian Anderson never made it anywhere near Boston on draft day. The Braves took him third overall and the Red Sox selected Jay Groome, another high school pitcher out of New Jersey. Groome has yet to advance past Class A.
The Andersons watched their son’s debut at a location out of state. Tuesday night, they’ll be home in Rexford with a few friends to view his encore.
“The expectations are high after an incredible outing to start your career, but I told him he can’t worry about that one,’’ Bob Anderson said. “It’s done. Move on to the next one and start over again.”
Fans aren’t allowed in the ballpark because of the pandemic, and even driving to Boston to see their son wasn’t an option because players are confined to the hotel because of COVID-19.
“We’re biding our time,” Bob said. “There’ll be a day when we’ll be able to sit there and cheer him on.”
Ian Anderson said he grew up rooting for Red Sox stars Dustin Pedroia (they have the same agent), David Ortiz and Josh Beckett. He said he and a few Braves teammates will likely try to get inside the Green Monster to sign their names before Tuesday’s game.
Shenendehowa graduate Ian Anderson, second from left, grew up as a Red Sox fan and visited Fenway Park with, from left, his father, Bob, brother Isaac and brother Ben. Ian Anderson will face the Red Sox at Fenway Park on Sept. 1, 2010. (Bob Anderson).
“It’s definitely something that’s on their bucket list, so we’re probably going to sneak in there,’’ he said.
Anderson said the past several days have been “fantastic” since he won his major league debut.
“You can’t ask for a better first day and the rest has been more of the same,’’ he said.
Now he’ll get ready for a Red Sox lineup that at least has some major league video of him.
“I’m sure they’ll have a good gameplan going in and it’s going to come down to me going out there and executing pitches and establishing the gameplan that I’m going into the game with,” Anderson said. “It’ll definitely be another challenge and I’m looking forward to it.”
Mark Singelais covers Siena basketball, UAlbany lacrosse, horse racing and other sports. Contact him at (518) 454-5509 or [email protected]
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