Frates, Sox begin Ice Bucket Challenge anew
BOSTON -- Since Pete Frates and Pat Quinn were thrust into the international spotlight as the originators of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, which went viral on social media last year and raised millions for ALS research, their inspiring stories have been well-chronicled. And as Frates and Quinn officially kick off a relaunch of the wildly successful fundraising campaign this August, the Red Sox took another step with them.
On Friday, the entire Boston clubhouse was on hand at Fenway Park to participate in the Ice Bucket Challenge with Frates and Quinn, who were joined by their families and friends also working to help the cause. When prompted, the players and coaches dumped large buckets of ice water on each other, laughing and yelling in the sweltering afternoon heat.
"Freezing," designated hitter David Ortiz said.
Of course, while in good fun -- the Red Sox challenged the Los Angeles Dodgers, musician Zac Brown and all of Red Sox Nation to do the same -- the team was quite serious about its support of the cause. This especially extends to manager John Farrell, who has been closely involved with Frates and his family.
"To be associated with the Frates family, to help bring attention to a devastating disease, we're honored and proud to be part of that," Farrell said. "And yet at the same time, we've been able to see firsthand the effects of [ALS], and it's devastating. Pete has been incredibly brave and forthright in his involvement to bring attention to it. And to see how far that awareness has gone globally -- because when we kicked it off, I think there were five other countries who were kicking theirs off at the same time around the globe -- it's pretty amazing what his initiative has done worldwide."
Frates, a Beverly, Mass., native who captained Boston College's baseball team, has maintained ties with the Red Sox, most notably signing a ceremonial contract with the club on Opening Day this year. He was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, in March 2012 at the age of 27.
"First and foremost, I want to thank everyone who took the ALS Ice Bucket challenge last year," said Frates, who spoke with the help of electronic aid. "Because of you, the needle was greatly moved in the battle against this disease. I want to especially thank the Boston Red Sox for their continued love and support of me and my family. I am so proud to be from this great city of Boston, and I know you will show much love to my buddy here, Pat Quinn. This guy is the best -- even though he is here wearing a Yankees shirt."
Quinn, born in Yonkers, N.Y., wore Gehrig's No. 4 jersey to the challenge.
"I'd like to say thank you for welcoming a New York guy so lovely here," Quinn said. "I am wearing a Yankees jersey, but I made sure it was Lou Gehrig's jersey, I wouldn't do anything else. Again, it's such an honor to stand next to this guy. He started as my inspiration and has become a very good friend. It's an honor to be here with him. I'd like to thank the Red Sox for kicking this off. Without their support for Pete and the ALS community, we'd really be nowhere. So thank you."
The Red Sox players felt honored to contribute to challenge, which Frates' father Mike said raised $225 million over a six-week period last year.
"Pete's a good friend of mine," utility man Brock Holt said. "[I've been] getting to know him over the last couple years. It's great any time we can come together like this as a team and get together to help out a cause like this. It's a good thing. Today was a pretty special day."
The water might have been ice cold for Ortiz, but he thinks the legacies that Frates and Quinn have already established in relation to fighting the disease are ones that won't ever melt away.
"Unbelievable. Remarkable. Something that is going to be historical," Ortiz said.