His team won the game and took two out of three over the weekend as Boesch went 5-for-12 with three RBIs. On Monday, Boesch hit a two-run home run in an 8-6 win over the Los Angeles Angels as the Tigers improved to 8-1 in their last 9 games and are 2.5 games behind Chicago in the AL Central.
Following a few days with his family in Brentwood (near the Riviera Country Club) at the break, Boesch, now in his third season, returned to the starting lineup to provide the Tigers an offensive boost and raise his hopes for a strong second half.
After hitting .283 with 16 home runs and 54 RBIs in 115 games in 2011, the 27-year-old struggled through the All-Star break, posting a .243-8-31 line.
Still, the 6-4, 235-pound, sweet-swinging left-hander, who idolized Shawn Green growing up, has come a long way from his Pacific Palisades Baseball Association days. He was coached throughout his youth by his father, Phil, and played primarily for the Dodgers, who happened to be his favorite team.
‘I definitely have some amazing memories,’ Boesch told the Palisadian-Post at Camden Yards prior to last Friday’s game against the Orioles. ‘I had a blast. It’s a league where I met a lot of childhood friends that I’m still friends with now, and it’s a real good atmosphere for kids in the area to come play baseball.’
Boesch credits his family ‘ not only his father but his mother, Vivian, and sister, Cassidy ‘ as providing a foundation of support that allowed him to have a healthy childhood amid a hectic baseball schedule.
‘I’ve got a great family that supports me 100 percent, and my parents and my sister are always there for me,’ Boesch said. ‘So I’m very lucky to have people that care about me and help me along the way.’
Though Boesch did not play travel ball, he stayed plenty busy throughout the year at Harvard-Westlake, playing sports and being challenged academically.
‘I’m thankful for the education [HW] provided me with,’ Boesch said. ‘I played other sports as well ‘ football, basketball and soccer. I think now a lot of players are trying to become Major Leaguers by playing a ton of baseball at an early age, and that’s good and everything, but having more of a diverse athletic background and just trying to have fun as a kid can be more rewarding.’
Baseball continues to be extremely time consuming at the highest level for Boesch, and he is quick to point out that living out his Big League dream isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be.
‘It’s a grind,’ he said. I think a lot of people think Major League Baseball is a really glamorous life, but behind the scenes it’s like any other job that demands full dedication and attention. It’s a really long season, and mentally that takes a toll.’
Boesch graduated from Harvard-Westlake in 2003 and played two seasons at UC Berkeley while also spending one summer playing in the Cape Cod League in 2004. He was drafted by the Tigers in the third round of the 2006 Draft. In 2010, Boesch finished sixth in Rookie of the Year voting, when he led all American League rookies in home runs (14) and RBIs (67).
‘He works hard,’ Tigers teammate Quintin Berry told the Post. ‘He’s somebody I see constantly in the batting cage trying to get better. And I think that’s something that he does that leads by example of hard work. He’s a person who loves what he does and at the same time knows he has to work at it.’
Tigers manager Jim Leyland also talked with the Post, saying: ‘He’s a great guy and he has a real high ceiling. He struggled a little bit in the first half, but he’s got a lot of potential. He’s a very proud guy, and I think sometimes he gets a little too tough on himself, but hopefully he’ll come along with Major League maturity.’