Patriots wide receiver coach Chad O’Shea throws out first pitch with retired Foxborough Police Chief Ed O’Leary to celebrate the start of the 2017 FYBSA season.
On Saturday, April 22, the Foxborough Youth Baseball & Softball Association (FYBSA) celebrated opening day for the 2017 season and recognized two town residents as its guests of honor as part of the festivities.
Chad O’Shea, wide receiver coach for the New England Patriots, and Ed O’Leary, retired Foxborough Police Chief, were each honored by the FYBSA and invited to participate in the parade and throw out ceremonial first pitches. O’Shea, who has served on Bill Belichick’s Patriots coaching staff since 2009, won his second Super Bowl championship with the Patriots in three seasons this past February and O’Leary, who served in the Foxborough Police Department for 39 years, retired this past fall.
“It was a great honor tothrow out the first pitch and a nice way to recognize the accomplishments of our team in Super Bowl LI,” O’Shea said. “It was also really neat to share this moment with Chief O’Leary because he’s someone I have always had a lot of respect for and know what he’s done for the community over the years.”
A veteran coach of 14 NFL seasons, O’Shea has regularly traded the sidelines for the dugout over the past few years to coach his children in the FYBSA.
“My children have been involved in the Foxborough sports programs for several years now and I’ve always thought very highly of the program,” O’Shea said.
This spring, O’Shea is teaming up with a fellow Foxborough resident and familiar face at Gillette Stadium to coach the Pirates, a youth baseball team comprised of 8-10 year olds in the AAA division.
“It’s a pretty unique situation this year because [Patriots defensive line coach] Brendan Daly’s son is on the team, so we are coaching this group together,” O’Shea said. “We’re so excited to get started and get outside. It’s going to be a lot of fun and we’re teaching them the fundamentals of baseball.”
Prior to throwing out the first pitch, O’Shea shared with the assembled crowd of baseball and softball players the importance of being coachable and being great listeners and how those traits can lead to success.
“Whether it’s Tom Brady or Julian Edelman, every coachable player looks their coaches in the eyes and listens to them when they’re talking,” O’Shea said. “These baseball and softball coaches out here today are great and they’re here because they love the game and they want to be around you. So my challenge to you all this spring is to be the most coachable bunch of kids you can be.”
O’Shea also stressed that it’s not always going to be a great day on the field and it’s important to remain supportive of your teammates and never give up, no matter how daunting the task may be – like being down 25 points in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl LI.
“Think of it like this,” O’Shea instructed the crowd. “I’m not standing here today to throw out the first pitch if those players that I coached in the Super Bowl gave up when we were down 25 points in the fourth quarter. They didn’t give up and it wasn’t great along the way in the game. I can promise you you’re not going to always have the best day, but as long as you keep committed and don’t give up, you’re going to have a lot of fun out here.”