Q&A with Brian Butterfield
New bench coach talks football, holidays and Christmas lists
After spending parts of six seasons patrolling the third-base line for the Blue Jays, Brian Buttefield is moving to the dugout to serve as Toronto's new bench coach in 2008. A rabid football fan, Butterfield took a recent timeout from studying video of the New England Patriots to talk about the holiday season with MLB.com.
MLB.com: Would a 16-0 record for the Patriots be about as good of a Christmas present as you could ask for?
Butterfield: Without a doubt.
MLB.com: But without a Super Bowl, does the undefeated record even matter? You'd probably take one loss and a championship over a 16-0 mark and no title.
Butterfield: I'll take three losses and a Super Bowl. They can lose their last three games. The Super Bowl -- the final prize -- far outweighs a team accomplishment or an individual accomplishment like that during the regular season. The goal for every team is to be the last man standing.
MLB.com: The Patriots aside, what's on your Christmas list this year?
Butterfield: Let's see: snowblowing, woodcutting, getting the family together, seeing more of my granddaughter, who is 2 1/2 hours north of us. We're all excited about that. That's a brief list. Really, just getting the family together.
MLB.com: So getting the family together is better than any presents you could request?
Butterfield: Exactly. My wife and I are at the point now where any present buying is stuff that we need and we get for each other prior to Christmas even rolling around (laughing).
MLB.com: Does your family have any Christmas traditions?
Butterfield: The previous five, my son and his wife have been living in our house, so we had a big Christmas dinner and had other people in. Now, everybody is moved out of the house, so we're in the process of trying to determine exactly how we're going to do things. This is kind of new to us here, being all split up.
MLB.com: You mentioned your young granddaughter, so you're probably looking to start some new traditions with new additions to the family, too.
Butterfield: Yeah, we're going to start some new traditions. She's eight months old and my son is big into the tradition stuff. I think that they're going to end up coming here after Christmas, and I think it's going to be Saturday, the 29th, when the Patriots are playing and going for win No. 16. Then, they'll stay through the New Year and we'll open presents on that Saturday, prior to the game. That might be the new tradition. We might open presents prior to the Patriots game each year.
MLB.com: Are there a lot of decorations at the Butterfield household?
Butterfield: Not too many. We've got a few lights out on trees around the house and we've got our big tree in the living room and a nice little tree down in the video room -- my room, the man room. That's got the flying Elvis on top of it. That's probably the better of the two trees.
MLB.com: As the head of the house, are you required to still believe in Santa?
Butterfield: No. We've never really put too much emphasis on Santa. We put it more on our Lord and Savior. We have a strong faith, so the great thing of it all is the celebration of Jesus' birthday. That's big under our roof. We always remind people that he's the reason for the season.
MLB.com: What's your favorite Christmas song?
Butterfield: You know what, Bing Crosby's "I'll be home for Christmas" is always something that, I get on the phone with some of our friends and I sing that along with Bing on Christmas Eve. That's always been a big winner.
MLB.com: Do you have a favorite holiday movie?
Butterfield: Well, with the little ones coming over, we love "How the Grinch Stole Christmas." That seems to be a big favorite. I know it's my favorite.
MLB.com: How good are you at wrapping presents?
Butterfield: You know what? I've got a new thing that's turned my whole world around. It's the big shopping bags with the Christmas decorations on the bags. All you have to do is put your present in there and maybe cover it with a little paper and tape the top.
MLB.com: You don't think that takes the fun out of it?
Butterfield: No, no. It brings the enjoyment to me, because all I do is flip that present into the bag and give it a little topping and it looks sweet under the tree.
MLB.com: How would your family rate your gift giving?
Butterfield: I would say that would give me a pretty good number. In the old present-wrapping days, they gave me a minus for the way I wrapped presents. I had no present-wrapping ability. With the new bag thing in my life, they're going to have to change their grades to the double-plus side.
MLB.com: Are you into making New Year's resolutions?
Butterfield: I haven't made any New Year's resolutions. I try to abide by that 12 months a year. Each passing day, you're trying to do something productive and do something better. I'm not one to lay that down. There are other people in my household who will, but I'm not big on that.
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.