Saturday, March 8, 2014
By Kevin Thomas firstname.lastname@example.org
When Kevin Boles makes up his mind, he moves quickly.
That is why Boles is ascending the managerial ladder, having landed in Portland with the Double-A Sea Dogs.
And that is why Boles, who was raised in Florida, now lives in Northport, Wash., 15 miles from the Canadian border.
A friend once told Boles to take a look at northern Washington. He drove past a house in Northport, liked it and bought it.
And back in 1999, when he was about to enter his second year as a professional baseball player with the Chicago Cubs, Boles made a quick reality check.
"I saw the writing on the wall," Boles said. "I was 24 years old with limited ability. There were players younger and better.
"And coaching was my passion."
Boles asked the Cubs if he could be a coach. By the next year, Boles was managing in the rookie-level Gulf Coast League.
He managed in the Marlins, Royals and Twins organizations, then joined the Red Sox in 2008 with the low Class A Greenville Drive.
Boles, who turns 35 next Sunday, will be introduced to Sea Dogs fans at the team's annual hot stove dinner on Jan. 21. He will be the 10th manager of the Portland franchise, the fourth since the Sea Dogs became a Boston Red Sox affiliate. He follows Arnie Beyeler (2007-10), Todd Claus (2005-06) and Ron Johnson (2003-04).
But Boles is not new to the Sea Dogs.
His father, John, used to be the farm director of the Florida Marlins, charged with sending minor league players to Portland, and he later managed the Marlins from 1999-2001.
Kevin Boles made contacts with members of the Marlins organization, including minor league manager Fredi Gonzalez.
When Gonzalez became Sea Dogs manager in 1997, Boles, then a college baseball catcher, became the Sea Dogs' bullpen catcher.
"That was a great summer," Boles said. "What tremendous fans a great front office and such a great atmosphere."
When the summer was over, Boles returned for his senior year at the University of South Florida in Tampa, where he was a walk-on.
After redshirting a season, he developed into a player scouts noticed.
The Cubs chose him in the 42nd round of the 1998 draft. He played for Williamsport in the New York-Penn league, batting .206 over 20 games.
During extended spring training the next year, Boles decided to be a coach. His real estate decision came later.
When Boles visited a niece in Montana, he fell in love with the West. He thought about moving and occasionally checked out houses for sale.
Former Sea Dogs catcher and Washington native Mike Redmond told Boles he should look north of Spokane.
After the 2005 season, when Boles managed the Twins' Class A team in Beloit, Wis., Boles took a drive out west. In Northport, Boles turned onto a road at random and did a double-take.
"There was the house I had been looking at (on the Internet) for three months," he said. "I made an offer the next day. It was the best decision I've made."
Boles will fly across the country into Portland next week for the hot stover dinner. Then it will be down to Florida for spring training next month and back to Portland in April for a reunion with Hadlock Field.
"I'm very excited about the opportunity," he said.
THE HOT STOVE dinner is at 5:30 p.m. Jan. 21 at the Marriott Hotel at Sable Oaks in South Portland. Ryan Kalish and Mark Rogers are the featured guests.
They, along with Red Sox prospects Tim Federowicz and Will Middlebrooks, will sign autographs from 5:30-6. Dinner tickets are $50, with proceeds going to the Strike Out Cancer in Children program.
For tickets, call 879-9500 or use the team's website: www.seadogs.com.
Staff Writer Kevin Thomas can be contacted at 791-6411, or at: