Brian Butterfield is continuing to live out his dream.
The Orono native, a resident of Standish, is in his 37th year as a coach in professional baseball.
This is his second season as the third base coach for the American League’s Los Angeles Angels. He also works with the infielders.
Butterfield followed manager Joe Maddon from the Chicago Cubs to the Angels in 2019.
Butterfield also has coached in the New York Yankees, Arizona Diamondbacks, Toronto Blue Jays and Boston Red Sox organizations.
He has a World Series ring from the 2013 championship season with the Red Sox.
The Angels, who on Friday open a series in Seattle, are 12-11 but trail the division-leading Oakland Athletics by only two games in the AL West.
“It’s nice being an Angel. We aren’t there yet. We’ve been a little up and down,” he said. “We’ll have a good night followed by a not so good night. We’ll catch the ball well one night and won’t the next night.
“We’ve got to gain some consistency,” he added. “I’m hopeful.”
Butterfield, whose father Jack Butterfield was the longtime baseball coach at the University of Maine before joining the Yankees organization as an executive, has developed a rapport with Maddon.
“I love Joe. He is such a good baseball man. He is great to work for. He is one of the best managers in the game,” the 63-year-old Butterfield said.
Maddon has an even-keeled demeanor and enthusiasm that endear him to players and fellow coaches alike.
“Even if we had been struggling, he would high-five guys when they walked by his seat on the plane and say something good to them,” Butterfield said.
“His glass is always half-full,” he said. “He is a wonderful man.”
The feeling apparently is mutual. In a Chicago Tribune story, Maddon said he is impressed with Butterfield’s focus, baseball knowledge and presentation.
“He’s wonderful about running things by you before he says something,” Maddon said.
Butterfield is a former Orono High School three-sport standout who played baseball at UMaine and Florida Southern. The infielder enjoyed an extensive minor-league playing career.
He also is a big fan of first-year general manager Perry Minasian.
“He is fantastic and has brought over so many [good] people with him. You can see things changing within the organization and they are changing for the better,” he said.
The Angels have two of the biggest names in baseball in three-time AL Most Valuable Player and eight-time All-Star center fielder Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani, the major leagues’ only pitcher-designated hitter.
“Mike Trout is special. He is exactly what a superstar should be. I texted him and asked him if he would do a video for my grandson’s birthday and my phone rang at noon on his birthday and he had sent the video. It was one of the coolest things,” Butterfield said.
Trout is sporting a .420 batting average, which is second in the big leagues.
Ohtani is hitting .284 but his seven home runs are only one behind the leaders. He is 1-0 as a pitcher with a 3.29 earned run average and 23 strikeouts in 13 2/3 innings.
“He is a great kid. He is the fastest guy on our team and he has light-tower power. If you make a mistake, the ball will wind up at the hotel a day later,” Butterfield said.
“He can reach full throttle on his first or second step. He could steal 80 to 100 bases but we have to be careful with him on the bases because he’s also a pitcher.”
The pandemic-shortened 2020 season was challenging. As a result, Major League Baseball implemented three rules changes, two of which are still in effect.
Doubleheaders consist of two seven-inning doubleheaders, rather than traditional nine-inning games, and extra innings begin with a runner being placed at second base to start the inning.
The designated hitter was used by teams in both leagues last season, but is only in effect this year in the American League.
Butterfield would like both leagues to use the DH and isn’t a fan of the other two changes.
“I wish they wouldn’t do so much tinkering. The game was pretty good the way it was. We don’t want to outsmart ourselves,” he said.
Butterfield planned Thursday night to be glued to the television set in his Seattle hotel room. The diehard New England Patriots fan will be watching the National Football League draft.
He would like to see the Patriots select one of three quarterbacks: Alabama’s Mac Jones, Ohio State’s Justin Fields or North Dakota State’s Trey Lance.