Drew Butera’s relationship with his father might get a little frigid this week.
Butera is a backup catcher for the Royals, and his dad, Sal, coaches for the Blue Jays, making for something of a house divided when the American League Championship Series begins Friday at Kauffman Stadium.
“I’ll talk to him before the games,” Drew said. “I’ll say hi. I mean, I’m not going to hug him, but I’ll say hi. It’s still business. Obviously, I love him and he’s my dad, but it’s still business. They’re trying to beat us as much as we’re trying to beat them.”
Sal, a nine-year big-league veteran with five teams, had been a scout for the Toronto organization, but he was promoted to an assistant coach/catching coach role with the Blue Jays around August, Drew said. Sal also throws batting practice.
Asked what the conversation was like Wednesday when he talked to his dad after the Royals advanced to the ALCS, Drew said it was quick, “Congratulations. Good luck.”
The Blue Jays had completed a rally from a 2-0 series deficit earlier Wednesday with a 6-3 win against the Texas Rangers.
Father and son will remain in contact as the series progresses, “just not about baseball,” Drew said.
It’s bound to be tougher on Drew’s mom, Gina, and his sister, Alex.
“I think my mom and sister are just rooting for good baseball,” Drew said. “I think they’ll just wear blue.”
Drew, who was acquired by the Royals in May in a trade with the Angels, had known for several months it was a possibility the Royals and Jays would meet in the playoffs.
“I wanted it to happen,” Drew said. “Why wouldn’t you?”
Of course, beginning with the first pitch at 7:07 p.m. Friday, Drew’s baseball family takes precedence — for a few hours anyway.
Drew said the best piece of advice Sal gave him about the postseason was: “Have fun. Enjoy it. It’s the best time in a baseball career, the postseason, and you’re fortunate to be able to experience it. Not too many guys get to and it’s what you play for.”
Sal won the 1987 World Series with the Minnesota Twins.
“He has his ring,” said Drew, who was 4 during his dad’s triumph against the Cardinals and has no memory of the 1987 World Series. “It’s our turn.”
It’s rare, but the father-son dichotomy has occurred before this postseason. Todd Stottlemyre pitched for the Rangers in the 1998 AL Division Series against the Yankees and his dad, Mel Stottlemyre, who was the Yankees pitching coach.