Most White Sox fans are familiar with first base coach Daryl Boston, who was recently at the center of the whistle incident involving Josh Donaldson of the Toronto Blue Jays. The South Side faithful might not know that Daryl’s brother is also on the coaching staff of a Chicago baseball team.
The Chicago Dogs, who are entering their inaugural season in the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball, have tabbed D.J. Boston as their hitting coach. Boston previously served as the hitting coach for the Greenville Astros (2008), Gulf Coast League Astros (2009-2010), Danville Braves (2011) and Gulf Coast League Braves (2012). Before his coaching days, Boston played 14 years of professional baseball in the minor league systems of the Toronto Blue Jays, Pittsburgh Pirates, Colorado Rockies and Oakland Athletics, as well as seven seasons in the independent Atlantic League with the Nashua Pride (1998-2003). D.J. was kind enough to answer a few questions about his baseball experience and his relationship with his brother.
How did you first get into baseball?
“My father. My father had us all in baseball and it was the first love of mine. It just kind of grew from there.”
What was your favorite experience during your time as a player?
“Just the comradery with the guys and just going out there and competing every day. Also getting drafted, from not playing much baseball. I was first and foremost a basketball guy prior to getting drafted to play baseball, so that was a really good experience for me.”
Who were you drafted by?
“Toronto Blue Jays, 1990.”
What was your greatest strength as a player?
“Defense was probably my greatest strength. But as I got older, learning how to hit and the intricacies of putting that together also became a plus for me.”
What has been your favorite or most rewarding coaching experience so far?
“The fun part is the comradery, being in the locker room with the guys and giving back the information that was taught to me and being able to share it with the up-and-coming guys.”
How did you become the hitting coach for the Chicago Dogs?
“I played for Butch (Hobson) from 2001 to 2007 and we’ve always been in contact. I coached with him from 2014 to 2016, so we had a long, strong bond. Once he got the job, being in Chicago and him knowing that my brother was there, that fit made it happen.”
As a hitting coach, is there any special approach you take to help a player who is in a slump?
“Just going back to the basics. Going back to the fundamentals of hitting. Going back to having fun when you didn’t think of all the problems going on, and just keeping it simple.”
Do you talk about coaching strategies with your brother?
“Yeah, I ask him a little bit about some stuff over at first base. How to line up, things like that. But I dang gone know for sure not to get a whistle, how about that. I’d rather learn how to whistle myself. It’s crazy because I don’t even know how to whistle either. We never really had to whistle coming up as kids, and we always knew the rules – when the lights came on it was time to get home. So, it’s kind of crazy now that we both don’t know how to whistle.”
There was that controversy earlier in the season with Josh Donaldson mimicking blowing the whistle. Did Daryl talk to you at all about that?
“We talked about three or four days later, and I did not know anything about it. He was like, ‘Man, did you see they got me all over the news?’ I was like, ‘What you done did?’ So, he kind of broke it down to me and I ended up looking it up. I said, ‘Man, that’s been going on for years now.’ I know it happened a little bit with last year with Eric Hosmer and the Kansas City Royals. When Kansas City was playing really well a couple guys had mentioned it, especially Hosmer. We had been talking about it a year prior to the incident happening this year. But I guess since somebody kind of replied back to it, Josh Donaldson putting it on the stage like that, it kind of blew up in his face a little bit.”
What’s your relationship like with Daryl?
“Very, very close. He’s like a mentor for me. Just coming up through baseball, he’s been very helpful throughout the years with coaching and also when I was a player.”
With your brother being a coach for the White Sox, do you watch many games?
“I don’t really watch too many of the games. I’m still doing my own thing with coaching as well and with playing at the same times I don’t get a chance to see him much. But when I do see him I crack a few jokes at him.”
Since you’ll be coaching in Chicago now, will you go see any White Sox games?
“Yeah, I’ll probably be down there quite a bit just to hang out and pick Todd’s (Steverson) brain. I played with Todd Steverson with the Toronto Blue Jays so I’m pretty familiar with a lot of the staff. I’ll go down there and pick their brains a little bit and try to help some of the younger kids too, just sharing information.”
What do you expect from the Chicago Dogs this season?
“I expect us to compete, go play hard, and play to win. Hopefully, we can bring a championship in the first year. That’s the goal – compete and play hard every day.”
On behalf of the Sox On 35th crew, I would like to thank D.J. Boston for taking time to answer these questions. We wish him and the Chicago Dogs the best of luck this year! Be sure to follow them on Twitter for updates throughout their inaugural season.