Red Sox owner John Henry teamed up with Patriots owner Robert Kraft earlier today to pay a visit to the firefighters at the Boylston Street firehouse in Boston.
Wednesday's devastating fire on Beacon Street claimed the lives of firefighter Michael R. Kennedy and Lieutenant Edward J. Walsh of Engine 33, Ladder 15 on the corner of Boylston and Hereford Streets.
"Both John and I just wanted to thank these most unappreciated people in society, firemen, policemen and nurses," Kraft said.FULL ENTRY
Red Sox outfielder Jonny Gomes bought his teammates a little, um, treat.
No, the Red Sox don’t plan to wear the sports coats to the White House on Tuesday, but will instead don them whenever…well, who the heck knows. But they do intend to award President Obama with one of the garish offenses to fashion. You’ve been warned, free world.
The jackets are the creations of LoudMouth Golf, which offers a grand assortment of some of the ugliest, nay, most expressive outfits available. They will even custom create articles of clothing for you as well.
Gomes should have held out to get the Home Depot pants as well.
Liverpool Football Club (LFC) will make another visit to Fenway Park for a preseason match against AS Roma on Wednesday, July 23.
The two venerable soccer teams faced each other at Fenway on July 25, 2012, when over 37,000 fans attended the match that saw Roma come away with a 2-1 victory. Tickets for the friendly rematch will go on sale Friday May 2, 2014 and additional information will be released in the near future.
“Liverpool FC and AS Roma are two of the most highly regarded clubs in all of football, and we’re thrilled to welcome them back to Boston and showcase some of the world’s top talent playing the ‘Beautiful Game’ right here on the pitch at Fenway Park,” said Fenway Sports Group Chairman Tom Werner in a statement. “The atmosphere at their first Fenway match was electric, and with both clubs’ passionate supporters, tremendous worldwide following and strong ties to the City, the rematch is sure to be memorable.”
Liverpool’s return to the Fenway Park marks the start of the team’s 2014 US preseason tour, which includes International Champions Cup matches in Chicago, New York, and Charlotte, S.C.
“I look forward to Roma returning to the U.S. for a third straight summer,” said AS Roma President James Pallotta. “In particular, I am excited for the rematch with Liverpool at Fenway Park - it will no doubt be an exciting match against a great opponent in a historic stadium.”
Admit it, you wish you could be in Fort Myers with all that sun and green grass, maybe even rubbing elbows with one of the players from the 2013 World Championship team.
Well, Shane Victorino is giving you that chance, along with an opportunity to do some good along the way.
Fans participating in Victorino's Fame4Good fundraiser are entered into a contest with the winner heading to spring training as the center fielder's guest. The campaign is raising money and awareness for the Shane Victorino Foundation, which benefits underprivileged children.
“Partnering with Fame4Good allows me to shine a light on our foundation’s incredible efforts to support kids in need and it does so in a way that fans can have fun with and really get engaged,” Victorino said in a statement. “I am grateful for the opportunity to give back to the communities that have given so much to me and I look forward to meeting the lucky winner.”
The winner will get round trip airfare, a meeting with Victorino at Jet Blue Park, and tickets to a spring training Red Sox-Rays game on Sunday, March 23.
Manny Ramirez hasn’t given up hope on a return to the major leagues.
In a Thursday interview with “Grandes en los Deportes” on ESPN Radio 104.5 in the Dominican Republic, the 41-year-old said he has been training during the spring in Hialeah, Fla., just outside Miami, and is hoping to get the chance to show a club that he can still perform in the big leagues.
"My qualities are still there, and I just need an opportunity to continue showing that the 'Super Manny' can help a team," he said on the radio from his training headquarters. "For now, I have no team interested, but I'm still working. Maybe I don't have anything this week, but who knows? Maybe next week I could get a call."
Ramirez signed contracts with the Oakland A’s and Texas Rangers over the past two seasons, but never made it to the big league clubs. He hit .259 with three home runs and 13 RBIs in 30 games for the Rangers’ Triple-A affiliate Round Rock before being released in August.
Ramirez said he believed he could help a team out offensively, similar to how Jason Giambi helped the Cleveland Indians last season, when, at 42 years old, Giambi hit nine home runs and drove in 31 runs in 71 games for the Indians on their way to their first playoff berth since 2007.
Ramirez hit 555 home runs and drove in 1,831 runs in his 19-year MLB career. With the Red Sox from 2001-2008, he hit .312 with 274 home runs and 868 RBIs. He was named an American League All Star ever year he was in Boston and won the 2004 World Series MVP award for his contributions to the club that broke the Red Sox’ 86-year championship drought.
Follow Jeff Pini on Twitter @JeffPini
The internet came apart at the seams when John Travolta called singer Idina Menzel "Adele Dazeem" during the Oscars Sunday night.
Slate.com took the frenzy to a whole new level with The Adele Dazeem Name Generator widget.
We thought it might be fun to see how Travolta might butcher the Red Sox players names if he were asked to announce the starting lineup at Fenway Park. Here's one version of the batting order Travoltified:
Ladies and gentlemen, now batting for the Boston Red Sox ...
1. Skye Knight (with a hard K)
2. Dawson Pozorter
3. Donald Orteez
4. Mark Nelseem
5. Danyal Nicheems
6. Braiden Brazent
7. Wayne Migiller
8. Alfred Parkinsmack
9. Jamie Berzy
Starting pitcher: Jan Lezwis
Translated back to the correct pronunciations:
1. Shane Victorino
2. Dustin Pedroia
3. David Ortiz
4. Mike Napoli
5. Daniel Nava
6. Xander Bogaerts
7. Will Middlebrooks
8. A.J. Pierzynski
9. Jackie Bradley Jr.
Starting pitcher: Jon Lester
Yahoo!'s Jeff Passan reports the deal is for two years and $9.5 million.
Mujica, a 29-year-old righthander from Venezuela, spent the last two seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals. He had 37 saves last season before the Cardinals turned the closer role over to Trevor Rosenthal.
Mujica has been in the majors eight seasons and has a 3.75 career ERA, with a 1.134 WHIP.
According to John Heyman of CBS Sports, Jacoby Ellsbury may be on the verge of joining the Yankees with a sizable seven-year contract.
The free agent center fielder, who has spent the first seven years of his career with the Red Sox, could get a deal that exceeds the one Carl Crawford got from the Red Sox in 2011, which was seven years at $142 million.
The report quoted “someone familiar with the talks” as saying, “It could happen.”
Ellsbury is a career .297 hitter and led the American League in stolen bases with 52 last season.
The Red Sox have agreed to a deal with free agent catcher A.J. Pierzynski. With the former Texas Ranger on his way to Boston, here are some things to know about the Red Sox newest backstop addition:
1. He has strong offensive numbers
Pierzynski has been a strong offensive catcher over the course of his 16-year career. He has a lifetime average of .283 with 172 home runs and 800 RBIs. He has hit .270 or higher in each of the past five seasons, including a .272 mark with Texas in 2013 at age 36. He won a Silver Slugger as the best hitting catcher in the American League in 2012 when he batted .278 with 27 home runs and 77 RBIs.
2. He can throw out base stealers
Pierzynski is known for having a terrific arm and is exceptional at throwing out opposing base runners. Over the past five seasons, he has finished in the top four in the AL at catching runners stealing, throwing out 24 in 2013, second in the AL, and he finished with a caught-stealing percentage of 32.9 percent. His career caught-stealing average is 25 percent.
3. He is an excellent defensive catcher
Along with Pierzynski’s strong offensive numbers, the Red Sox also had defense in mind when they agreed to this signing. Pierzynski has been in the top four in the AL for putouts by a catcher in nine of the past 11 seasons and currently is first overall in active players in that category, while 10th overall in history. He led the AL in assists by a catcher in 2012, finishing second last season, and has also led the AL in double plays turned by a catcher for the past two seasons. Pierzynski had also finished in the AL top five in fielding percentage as a catcher nine of the past 11 seasons, including finishing first in 2005, 2011, and 2013.
4. He has been reliable
Since 2002, his first full season as starting catcher with the Minnesota Twins, he has never started fewer than 111 games, a feat for any full-time catcher from the most demanding position in baseball. Even at age 36 in 2013, Pierzynski caught 119 games for the Rangers, while also spending 12 games as a DH. Now 37, Pierzynski will be able to split time with 36-year-old David Ross behind the plate in Boston, which should help his body stay fresh and keep his offensive numbers high.
5. He has a bad reputation
Of all the positives to come out of this deal, one negative is the reputation he has around MLB. In 2011, a Sports Illustrated poll of 215 major league players was released and stated that Pierzynski was chosen by his peers as the “meanest player in baseball," finishing with 29 percent of the vote, far ahead of second place Chase Utley, who garnered 13 percent. His former manager with the White Sox, Ozzie Guillen, has also stated that “if you play against him, you hate him. If you play with him, you hate him a little less.” Pierzynski got into a major brawl in 2006 with Cubs catcher Michael Barrett after Pierzynski crashed into him at home plate during a game, and also had a public spat with former White Sox teammate, and now Red Sox teammate, Jake Peavy back in 2011.
Hall of Fame baseball scribe and MLB Network analyst Peter Gammons compared the embattled Alex Rodriguez to the Boston Marathon bombers during a guest appearance on Mike Lupica’s ESPN Radio show in New York Thursday.
Gammons made the ill-advised comparison when he was asked what the endgame is for Rodriguez, who caused a scene and left Wednesday's grievance hearing for his 211-game suspension for alleged PED use before showing up for an impromptu interview on Mike Francesa’s radio show on The Fan.
“I’ve had people with the Yankees say this to me, he is just ... he wants to blow up the world," said Gammons. "You know, he’s like the Marathon bombers. It’s just, he’s going to get them.”
The 68-year-old Gammons was referring to the Tsarnaev brothers, who allegedly set off the two bombs on Boylston Street during the Boston Marathon on April 15.
Shortly after the interview with Lupica, Gammons apologized for the gaffe on Twitter:
@craigcalcaterra It was a stupid, poorly worded comp of blowing up a process.Alex would never hurt a human . I hope I haven't hurt him— Peter Gammons (@pgammo) November 21, 2013
Gammons later added in a follow-up tweet: "Stupidly worded comp of blowing up a process. He is owed, and gets my apology for mispeaking."
From 'Sweet Caroline' to 'Sweet Home Alabama' ... Jake Peavy's duck boat is right at home at the righthander's southwestern Alabama ranch.
Duckboat gettin it's first introduction to the Falls! pic.twitter.com/7Ogj8rSjdS— Jake Peavy (@JakePeavy_44) November 21, 2013
"Charlie River," the duck boat Peavy rode on with Jon Lester and purchased for $75,000 after the Red Sox rolling rally, was seen on the banks of the Alabama river in a tweet sent out by Peavy this morning.
Red Sox outfielder Jonny Gomes also took credit for pitcher Jake Peavy’s purchase of a Duck Boat after the parade. “Two months ago, [Peavy] showed me his property in Alabama. I think he owns three-quarters of the state. He’s going through all these pictures and I’m like ‘You don’t have a duck boat,’ so when we go, you like buy the exact duck boat you ride on and you ship that pig to Alabama,” said Gomes earlier this month on the Conan O'Brien show. “And he did. ... Now we can have a World Series parade any time we want at Jake’s house.”
This was the first time a player has purchased one of the duck boats used in a championship parade. Peavy said earlier on Twitter that he hopes the duck boat stays in his family forever.
Gillette announced Thursday that the facial trimmings of Red Sox stars David Ortiz and Shane Victorino, who shaved off their beards in a ceremony at Gillette a few weeks ago, are being put up for bid to raise money for Movember, the charity that encourages men to grow mustaches in November to raise awareness of men's health issues.
“I’m glad that the beard that helped me throughout the series can now help raise funds for a great organization like Movember,” said Ortiz.
This piece of sports memorabilia is a little more unique than your average autographed baseball.
“We’ve never done anything like this,” said Hooman Shahidi, senior brand manager for Gillette. “But their facial hair has been the symbol of the team since spring training and became part of baseball lore. We hope the shavings help raise awareness for important men’s health issues and find good homes with passionate fans.”
Mayor Thomas M. Menino said on Thursday that comments made by HBO talk show host Bill Maher about the Boston Marathon bombings were “very irresponsible" according to WBZ NewsRadio 1030.
On the Friday broadcast of Maher's HBO show, the controversial host/comedian was speaking with guest Anthony Weiner when he brought up the moment when the Red Sox World Series victory parade stopped briefly for a somber ceremony to commemorate the Boston Marathon tragedy on the finish line.
"...It was again, a bad day, three people died, that's terrible," Maher said. "More were maimed, that's horrible, but unfortunately that happens every day, in car accidents and everything else. I mean, you city was not leveled by Godzilla."
The mayor responded to Maher's comments on Thursday.
“It’s very irresponsible,” Menino said. “It's an irresponsible statement and I think he should be taken to task for that.”
Menino invited Maher to come to Boston so he could get a better understanding of the meaning of “Boston Strong" according to the WBZ report.
“It's too bad a guy who wants to make a name for himself takes on, uses the marathon as a place to use that incident, Menino said. "It's very irresponsible... He doesn’t know what he’s talking about, come to Boston, visit Boston and see what a strong city we are.".
Menino said HBO is also irresponsible for airing the episode containing Maher's comments on Boston.
On the Friday broadcast of HBO's Real Time, host Bill Maher was speaking with guest Anthony Weiner when he brought up the Red Sox World Series parade and the moment when the trophy -- or as he calls it statue -- was placed on the Boston Marathon finish line when the parade stopped briefly for a somber ceremony to commemorate the Boston Marathon tragedy on April 15.
Red Sox players Jonny Gomes and Jarrod Saltalamacchia demonstrated the special bond between the team and the city when they placed the trophy on the finish line, which is still painted, and then draped a "Boston Strong 617" jersey over the trophy.
The song “God Bless America” was piped over loudspeakers as fans, players, and Marathon survivors sang along.
"I also saw, so the Red Sox won the World Series, congratulations Red Sox," Maher said to Weiner. "So the parade, they go to the place where the marathon bombing took place, they put the World Series statue there and they sing God Bless America and they say 'Boston strong' and they chant 'USA,' you know. It was again, a bad day, three people died, that's terrible. More were maimed, that's horrible, but unfortunately that happens every day, in car accidents and everything else. I mean, you city was not leveled by Godzilla."
To which Anthony Weiner, to his credit, replied: "I don't know... such a nice moment, what's wrong with you?"
Former Red Sox manager Terry Francona, who took over the Indians and directed them to a 92-70 record and a wild-card playoff berth was named the American League manager of the year in an upset over Red Sox manager John Farrell. Francona, a two-time World Series winner with the Red Sox, had never been manager of the year in his career. It was Cleveland’s first winning record since 2007.
Francona received 16 first place votes to Farrell's 12, winning the overall total 112-96. The BBWAA website has a full breakdown of the 30 individual ballots. Balloting is conducted prior to the start of postseason play.
The 2013 Indians showed a 24-game improvement, going from 68 victories in 2012 to 92 wins this year. The 24-victory improvement matched the biggest in franchise history. The 1986 Indians won 84 games after winning just 60 in 1985.
Tampa Bay ended the Indians season with a 4-0 victory in the wild card game.
Farrell, who led the Red Sox to a World Series championship in his first season at the helm in Boston, was perceived to be the favorite before the voting was announced on Tuesday.
Boston pulled a worst-to-first turnaround under Farrell, who was the Red Sox pitching coach from 2007 to 2010. Farrell led the Red Sox to 97 wins and a championship a season after they finished in last place in the AL East with 93 losses under Bobby Valentine.
The Red Sox offense took a major leap, going from fifth in the league in runs scored in 2012 (734) to first in 2013 season (853). The pitching staff's earned runs allowed decreased from 754 to 613.
Christina Kahrl of ESPN.com representing Chicago and Asuka Iinuma Brown of Jiji Press representing Seattle did not include Farrell on their ballots. Mike Rutsey from the Toronto Sun and Tom Maloney of The Globe and Mail in Toronto each voted for Francona first and Farrell second. Farrell was panned by the media in Toronto when he left the Blue Jays after two underwhelming seasons to take the open manager's job in Boston last season.
Athletics manager Bob Melvin was also finalist for the honor, as voted on by the Baseball Writers’ Association Of America.
Clint Hurdle, whose Pirates finished the season 94-68 and captured the NL's No. 1 wild card spot, took home the honor for the National League. Pittsburgh hadn't had a winning season -- or a playoff appearance -- since 1992, the longest such streak in North American team sports.
One of the lasting images of the 2013 Red Sox celebrations has been the headgear of outfielder Jonny Gomes.
Whether it be the party at Fenway Park after clinching the AL East, the clubhouse in Tampa Bay after advancing to the ALCS, or the pandemonium at Fenway again once the team clinched its third AL pennant in the past nine seasons, Gomes has been seen sporting an official U.S. Army helmet, and the story behind the piece of military equipment has finally come to light thanks to an article on the Army's website.
In June, on a visit to Fenway Park with his three children, Master Sgt. Miguel Chacon of Natick’s U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine saw that a pair of batting gloves had been thrown to him from a group of players signing autographs.
Chacon was then told by an usher that the gloves had been thrown to him by Gomes, who is a well-known supporter of the U.S. military, and Gomes had seen Chacon there in uniform and wanted to thank him for his service. Chacon later thanked Gomes personally for the gift, but wanted to do more.
Later in the season, when Chacon was offered tickets to a Sept. 15 Red Sox-Yankees game, he decided to bring along with him the advanced combat helmet from his service in Iraq. During a pre-game tour of Fenway, he told a club official that he had brought the helmet for Gomes, who then escorted Chacon and Spc. Travis Crook downstairs to the door outside the Red Sox clubhouse.
Gomes came out of the clubhouse to greet the two and Chacon told Gomes the helmet was for him, and Gomes was thrilled. The three spoke for some time before Gomes returned to the clubhouse and Chacon and Crook returned to the stands to watch the game.
Chacon was pleased that the helmet has made its way into the Red Sox celebrations this year, which could culminate in a World Series title Wednesday or Thursday night in Boston. He believes Gomes showcasing the helmet is a great honor to the military and all who serve the United States.
Read the full story from Bob Reinert of USAG-Natick Public Affairs here.
Now that's a performance worthy of all-day discussion.
Darla Holloway, a 4-year-old girl battling acute lymphoblastic leukemia, belted out an unforgettable rendition of "God Bless America" during the seventh inning stretch of the Red Sox-Orioles game at Fenway Park Tuesday night.
Darla was also part of the Jimmy Fund chorus that sang the National Anthem. Her performance was in conjunction with the WEEI-NESN Jimmy Fund Radio Telethon taking place Tuesday and Wednesday. So far, more than $1 million has been raised.
Watch Darla sing at Fenway in the NESN video above.
Former Red Sox first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz, a member of the 2004 World Series championship team, was involved in a benches-clearing brawl Saturday during a Single A minor league game, according to the News-Press out of Fort Myers, Fla.
Mientkiewicz, 39, is the manager of the Fort Myers Miracle, a Single A affiliate of the Minnesota Twins, and his team was playing the Bradenton Marauders, affiliates of the Pittsburgh Pirates, when Mientkiewicz stormed out of the dugout in the fourth inning and locked arms with Bradenton manager Frank Kremblas, who had allegedly been yelling for Mientkiewicz to come out after one of the Bradenton players was buzzed with a high pitch by a Fort Myers pitcher.
Both benches cleared as players were attempting to pull the two managers off one another. Twins general manager Terry Ryan said he would leave it to the Florida State League to discipline Mientkiewicz, according to the New-Press’ David Dorsey.
Bradenton went on to beat Fort Myers, 3-2, in 12 innings. Mientkiewicz declined to comment after the game. Mientkiewicz will continue to manage the Miracle as his case is reviewed by the Florida State League.
Read more from News-Press reporter David Dorsey's article here. Video is from the News-Press.
File under: Star-Spangled Baby.
David Ortiz took the baby of some Red Sox fans into his arms for a photo opportunity before the start of the national anthem Thursday night in Kansas City.
Once the anthem started playing, Big Papi decided to keep the baby in his arms for the duration of the song.
Watch the video above for the festivities.
Former Red Sox righthander Derek Lowe has decided he has thrown his last pitch in Major League Baseball, calling it quits after 17 years.
Just don't call it a retirement.
The 40-year-old pitched in nine games for the Texas Rangers this season before being cut May 23.
"I'm officially no longer going to play the game," Lowe told USA Today. "It's still enjoyable, but the role I was having wasn't fulfilling."
Lowe spent eight seasons with the Red Sox, winning a World Series title in 2004 as part of the team's starting rotation. He won three series-clinching games in the team's postseason run that ended the franchise's 86-year title drought. He churned out a Cy Young-worthy season in 2002 for the Sox, finishing third in voting after piling up 21 wins and 8 losses. It was the best season for the two-time all-star.
In his 17 seasons, he was 176-157 with a 4.03 ERA.
Lowe told USA Today: "Like I told my dad, I'll never retire. If you're not playing, it's completely self-explanatory. I'm not going to go to the Hall of Fame, so I don't feel like I need to have a retirement speech. But I was able to play 17 years on some pretty cool teams and win a World Series. So, everyone's got to stop playing at some point, and this is my time."
BOSTON – When outfielder Josh Reddick was traded from the Red Sox to the Oakland Athletics in the winter of 2011 in a deal that landed pitcher Andrew Bailey, among others, the utility outfielder brought more than just his talents to the Bay Area.
He brought the following of New Hampshire’s Janelle James, and Reddick’s solid play that has made him a starter in Oakland helped keep high the spirits of a 17-year-old cancer survivor.
Through the Make-A-Wish Foundation, which has helped grant the wishes of more than 226,000 children in the U.S. since 1983, Janelle’s dream of meeting her favorite player again will become a reality, as she is scheduled to serve as an honorary coach for the A’s on Saturday, as well as deliver the team’s lineup card before their matchup with the Red Sox..
Four years ago, at age 13, Janelle was diagnosed with leukemia, a form of blood cancer that makes a person’s bone marrow produce abnormal white blood cells. These abnormal cells do not perform the functions of normal white blood cells, grow faster, don’t stop growing when they should, and over time can crowd out normal blood cells.
“It has definitely been more of a challenge; it was very difficult going through all the treatments and chemo [therapy],” said Janelle. “It was more difficult getting my driver’s license, going to prom, doing what I guess you’d call the ‘normal teenager’ things.”
After Janelle’s diagnosis, members of her neighborhood in Derry, N.H., started a bone marrow drive to try and find a match for her. When no match could be found, Janelle underwent a stem cell transplant. That transplant was successful and her leukemia is now in remission.
Since first meeting Reddick a couple years ago, Janelle has been a big fan of the outfielder, who hit .248 with 10 home runs and 37 RBIs in 143 games with the Red Sox from 2008 through 2010. After he was traded to Oakland in the winter of 2011, Janelle decided to keep following Reddick, as he made his way from Fenway Park to the Oakland Coliseum. Reddick has since become a full-time starter in Oakland, winning a Gold Glove en route to helping the A’s win the AL West division title in 2012.
“I first met [Reddick] in March of 2011: a bunch of kids from the Jimmy Fund got to meet the Red Sox,” she said. “We didn't talk much, it was more of a ‘Hi, how are you’ and he bent down and took a picture with me.”
“Each year, Make-A-Wish New Hampshire grants nearly 80 life-changing wishes for children with life-threatening medical conditions,” said Bill Smith of Smith Phillips Strategic Communications, a Wish parent himself. “These wish experiences can be pivot points in the course of a child¹s treatment, making them feel better and in some cases, even helping them get better. A wish-come-true strengthens families, provides moments of happiness and inspiration, and helps create strong community bonds.”
Since arriving in Oakland on Thursday, Janelle and her mother, Lisa, have been taking in the city and seeing some of the sites in the Bay Area, including the Chabot Space & Science Center.
“I have always loved science and the Make-A-Wish Foundation asked me what else I wanted to do with my time here, so I said I wanted to go [to Chabot] too,” she said.
Now that she has the chance to meet her favorite player and serve as the A’s honorary coach on Saturday, Janelle is ready to fully take in the experience, and isn't feeling any pregame jitters.
“I’m not really nervous at all [about being the A’s honorary manager]; I am very excited to go there meet all my favorite players [on the A’s] and talk with them; Coco Crisp is another one of my favorites that I followed over here from the Red Sox,” she said. “I wasn't able to follow baseball as much as I wanted when I was really sick, but I have been able to follow baseball more in the past few years since I have gotten better.”
Terry Francona will be back in Boston Thursday when his Cleveland Indians begin a four-game series against the Red Sox.
The Indians manager – (how weird is it to say that?) – will be returning to Boston for the first time as a competitor after working the past year as a broadcaster for ESPN. He had spent the prior eight years to his stint in the booth as the Red Sox' manager, winning two World Series championships before unceremoniously departing in 2011.
Francona joined the Dennis & Callahan Show on WEEI Wednesday morning to talk about what it means to return to Boston and compete against his old team.
"It was probably healthy the way it worked out, having a year in between," he said. "It was probably healthy in a lot of aspects. I had probably lost some perspective. I mean, eight years in Boston – I think I've been pretty honest about it – it's one of the most awesome jobs you can ever have. But it's difficult and it wears on you. And sometimes when it wears on you, some of your warts start showing. Maybe it's the stubbornness or losing patience. And that's not healthy either. So having a year to kind of reflect and just recharge and actually miss the game was actually good for me."
Francona was asked which job was more difficult, managing the Indians or the Red Sox.
"Probably depends on what day you ask me. I mean the job in Boston is one of the most difficult jobs – and like I've said I've been pretty honest – it's one of the most awesome jobs. But it entails a lot. You have a lot of people coming at you from a lot of directions. And then you have the players that you want to protect so they can go play the game. And you probably have to do that a little bit more in a place like Boston."
Of course, Francona's book with Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy was a topic of discussion. The hosts were interested whether or not since the release of the book, "Francona: the Red Sox Years," he had spoke with Red Sox ownership in its aftermath.
"I haven't talked to 'em. I was kind of disappointed because I was expecting to talk to them. That was kind of where some of my frustrations came from. So, you know what, it kinda just is what it is, using the Bill Belichick term. I haven't been in touch with them. I was disappointed. I wouldn't have scripted the ending in Boston the way I did.
"Saying that, as time moves on, the Red Sox are in a really good place right now. They got a very good manager, they got to feel good about things. I'm thrilled with where I'm at. It allows you to kind of look back and remember the some of the good times as opposed to some of the things that hurt, a little easier."
Prior to the start of the Red Sox and Rays game Thursday night, a young girl was given the opportunity to throw out the first pitch at Tropicana Field, unaware of the surprise that was in store for her.
Alyana Adams, 9, didn't know who she was throwing the first pitch to, expecting the masked man in a Rays uniform to probably be catcher Jose Molina. But it turned out to be her father, Lt. Col. William Adams, who had been deployed in Afghanistan.
The Rays and the United Services Organization set up the surprise reunion, bringing Adams back to town Monday, holed up in a hotel ahead of his Thursday night surprise, according to the Tampa Bay Tribune.
Before the ceremonial pitch, the video screen blared with a message from Alyana's father, telling her "remember, take a deep breath, focus and have fun, baby. Daddy loves you."
Of course, she was shocked to see her father instead of Molina. Dana Adams, her mother, was shocked too. It was a heartfelt moment.
A report by Yahoo! Sports claims Red Sox pitcher Clay Buchholz was likely using sunscreen mixed with rosin on his forearm to get a better grip on the ball, which led to accusations that he was throwing a spitter against the Toronto Blue Jays.
Toronto broadcasters Dirk Hayhurst and Jack Morris claimed Buchholz was "loading the ball" during his May 1 start against the Blue Jays in Toronto. But as Yahoo! Sports' Jeff Passan reports, he was actually using something that is quite prevalent in the sport.
"Two veteran pitchers and one source close to the Red Sox told Yahoo! Sports that about 90 percent of major league pitchers use some form of spray-on sunscreen – almost always BullFrog brand – that when combined with powdered rosin gives them a far superior grip on the ball.
Passan also reports:
While Buchholz declined comment through a Red Sox spokesman Wednesday, one source close to the Red Sox confirmed the team's pitchers almost all rely on sunscreen for better grip on finicky balls, particularly in cold, bad weather.
The Red Sox will stick with Andrew Bailey as closer for now, despite the return of former closer Joel Hanrahan from the disabled list.
According to Globe sports writer Pete Abraham, manager John Farrell spoke to both relief pitchers about the decision.
"The one thing Joel is, he's honest with himself, and he understands what's going on here," Farrell told MLB Network Radio earlier today. "When he's healthy, he's going to make us a better team."
Hanrahan struggled - going 0-1 with three saves and an 11.57 ERA - before a stint on the disabled list with a hamstring injury, while Bailey has thrived in the role earning five saves.
Globe national baseball writer Nick Cafardo said via Twitter that the team wants to ease Hanrahan back without disrupting what seems to be working for the time being.
But with Bailey's injury history (he appeared in just 19 games for the Red Sox in 2012), Hanrahan may have another chance to close games later this season.
Hanrahan made rehab appearances for Pawtucket on April 26 and 28 and allowed two runs in his two innings of work. He is available to pitch tonight.
The Red Sox optioned Daniel Bard to Portland to make roster space for Hanrahan.
Red Sox DH David Ortiz, who has been hitting everything in sight since returning from the disabled list, revealed Sunday that he's been dealing with a personal issue off the field: He and his wife Tiffany are getting a divorce.
While sharing the news with WEEI.com and MLB.com, Ortiz stressed that he wants the public to treat his personal life as a private matter unrelated to his responsibilities on the field.
“I’m going to separate things,” Ortiz told WEEI.com and MLB.com. “Whatever is happening to me off the field is happening, but I try not to confuse that and bring that into my job. I know how to separate things. Personal life matters, and hopefully everybody respects that.”
Ortiz and his wife of nine years, Tiffany, have three children -- daughters Jessica and Alexandra, and son D'Angelo, who is a fixture in Fort Myers in February and at Fenway Park during the summer.
"There are some situations in life that work out for a period of time and at some point they don’t work out anymore and you have to move on," Ortiz went on to say. "I’m moving on. She’s moving on. Hopefully everybody respects that."
It’s safe to say Rangers closer Joe Nathan will never forget the night he “earned” career save No. 300.
With the tying run on first, and the Rangers leading the Rays, 5-4, in the top of the ninth Monday night, Nathan threw a 3-2 pitch to Ben Zobrist that appeared low and away for ball 4. Not according to home plate umpire Marty Foster, who called strike three. Ballgame.
Even Nathan seemed shocked by the outcome, as you can clearly see him mouthing “wow” as he walked off the mound.
Understandably, Rays manager Joe Maddon was livid over the call, and took to Twitter later in the evening.
That can't happen in a major league game.— Joe Maddon (@RaysJoeMaddon) April 9, 2013
Lost in all the hoopla; Nathan is now tied with Jason Isringhausen and Bruce Sutter for 22nd on the all-time saves list.
Valentine, who steered the Red Sox to a 69-93 last place finish in 2012, took yet more parting shots at the Boston media in a 'Sunday Q&A' session with the New York Post's Steve Serby.
“All the Boston [media] ever wanted to do is prove that they were a tougher media than New York,” Valentine said. “And I don’t paint everyone with the same brush — I think some of those guys are absolutely terrific people. And a good group of ‘em are absolute horses asses who are unprofessional, lazy and should not be in the business up here, in my opinion.
“I had one guy never talk to me the whole year because he said to me he didn’t like the answer I gave him in spring training. He covered my team the whole year! I think the New York media knows more about baseball and is more professional.”
This morning on WEEI's Dennis and Callahan radio program, co-host Kirk Minehan said he had it on good authority that the reporter who never spoke to Valentine was CSNNE.com's Sean McAdam.
The newly appointed athletic director at Sacred Heart University didn't back down when when Serby asked if he regretted his comments about former Red Sox third baseman Kevin Youkilis not being "as physically or emotionally into the game" at the beginning of last season.
“I think that they were absolutely heartfelt at the time, and they were totally blown out of proportion, and reacted to improperly by the outside world,” Valentine said.
Will this be the last we hear from Valentine on his experience in Boston? Definitely not, as the controversial former Sox skipper is writing a book that is scheduled to be released in 2014.
The book will include a section on Valentine’s one year as manager in Boston, but will mostly be a book about leadership.
Since being fired by the Red Sox last October, Valentine has, among other endeavors, accepted a position as a radio host, will be working for SportsNet New York as an analyst for the Mets' pre- and postgame shows, he's worked on a new movie that will be released by his film production company, and has accepted the position as AD at Sacred Heart.
Will it take three people to fill Carl Beane's shoes at Fenway Park this summer?
Beane, the voice of the Red Sox since 2003, had a fatal heart attack while driving in Sturbridge in May. His death, at 59, left the Red Sox with a void to fill, emotionally and physically, as the park's public address announcer.
Earlier this month, we confirmed that there were five finalists for the PA position:
Friday morning on WEEI's Dennis & Callahan show, Gerry Callahan reported that longtime sportscaster Bob Lobel, TV personality/satirist Dick Flavin, and former Red Sox media relations staffer Henry Mahegan would be the three sharing PA duties at Fenway Park this season.
The Red Sox would not confirm this report.
"I think they're waiting for the results of the swimsuit competition," Lobel said on Friday when asked to comment on the report. "I'd be pretty excited to be part of the mix. I've had a lot of fun doing the job as a guest."
When Lobel was asked if he would bring his endearing personality to the role if selected, he replied, "it will evolve, I'm just excited about it, if true, but I haven't heard a thing."
The finalists were brought to Fort Myers, Fla. in March, where their voices were heard in the open air of JetBlue Park and their presentations were analyzed by the Red Sox brass.
Mahegan, now a teacher and baseball coach at Charlestown High, saw heavy duty as one of the primary guest announcers last season.
Steinberg told the Globe he enjoyed the young “warm voice” of Mahegan, who knows the press box atmosphere and how the information flow works during a game.
Along with Lobel, Flavin, and Mahegan the other two finalists included Jensen Millar, who is indeed Kevin Millar's brother, and the Rev. Tom Kennedy, a fixture around Fenway for many years.
“What we’re looking for is a rising star,” Lucchino told WEEI in May. “We’re trying to find someone to fill a very big hole in the operation at Fenway Park."
Lucchino also said he had been speaking to his senior advisor, Dr. Charles Steinberg, about an idea to have the PA announcer say the balls and strikes count after each pitch, but said since no one has done this, he would have to get permission from Major League Baseball “down the road.”
“I hadn't heard of a final decision [on the PA position],” Steinberg said via email on Friday. “So if D&C are right, they're ahead of me.”
The Red Sox consider the PA job a part-time position, but it is an opportunity for someone to create a mood for the ballpark while watching the game unfold.
Most PA announcers in baseball do the job mostly for the love of the game.
Last May, the team held tryouts to replace Beane and the team held open-to-the-public along with invitation-only tryouts at Fenway again in January.
Last month, Steinberg told the Globe he was looking for the new PA voice to be the “color of Fenway.”
“It was a fun process for everyone concerned,” Steinberg said. “I think giving fans the stage to audition for this job was exciting in and of itself for so many of them.”
After Beane’s passing, the Red Sox had about 50 sports and media types handle interim PA duties at Fenway for the remainder of the 2012 season.
The Red Sox have had seven PA announcers in their history, starting with Frank Fallon from 1953-57. Former Bruins play-by-play man Fred Cusick did it in 1956 and 1957, and Jay McMaster had the job from 1958-66.
Sherm Feller took over in time for the Impossible Dream season in 1967. After Feller’s death in 1993, the Red Sox hired only the second female PA announcer in major league history, Leslie Sterling. (Sherry Davis, with the Giants, was the first). Sterling, now an ordained minister, was heard at Fenway from 1994-96, and Steinberg said there were “a few women” in the mix this time.
Ed Brickley from Winchester took over in 1997 and worked until 2002, when the Sox hired Beane.
Information from a Feb. 3, 2013 Boston Globe story was used in this report.
Red Sox pitcher Alfredo Aceves was a large part of a brawl between Mexico and Canada in the World Baseball Classic in Arizona Saturday.
After Canada’s Rene Tosoni was hit by a pitch from Mexico's Arnold Leon at Chase Field, home of the Diamondbacks, a huge fight erupted with punches thrown. Aceves got mixed up with a few Canadians in the brawl, but particularly with pitcher Jay Johnson (not pictured), a prospect in the Philadelphia Phillies organization.
See the video above to catch Johnson, No. 57 for Canada, land a few left-handed punches on Aceves. Johnson also hammers Mexico outfielder Eduardo Arredondo.
Canada went on to win the game, 10-3, but it was marred by the fight and debris being thrown from the stands.
Bobby Valentine was all over the news today after being introduced as the new athletic director at Sacred Heart University in Connecticut. He said he has moved on from his tenure as skipper for the Red Sox, and then proceeded to take some subtle shots at the team.
Valentine joined Chris "Mad Dog" Russo on his “SiriusXM Mad Dog Radio” show to discuss his transition. Here are some selected excerpts courtesy of the show:
Chris Russo: “Did you have the itch, say 10 or 12 days ago, to go find yourself a team in spring training?” Bobby Valentine: “Not really. No, I’ve been too busy to worry about standing around and watching guys stretch and play long toss.”--
Russo: “That was a very difficult situation last year…” Valentine: “It wasn’t that difficult actually, Chris, and it wasn’t that bad, to tell you the truth. It was six months of watching guys play baseball and trying to get guys off the disabled list. And I’m glad it’s over but it wasn’t what people made it out to be. It wasn’t torture. It really wasn’t that bad.” Russo: “That’s a good point because I do think people think, ‘God, Valentine, what a mess, disaster, 69 wins, the great Red Sox…” Valentine: “Yeah, we were 52-50 after 102 games. We were holding it together with duct tape and super glue and then we made the trade and we decided we weren’t going to play anymore so, you know. We developed. We did what we had to do. Weeded out the weak, that’s for sure.”
Russo: “You’re a very prideful guy who has had a lot of success, and you’ve heard all the backbiting, Valentine this, Valentine that. Part of you has to be upset by that, no?”
Valentine: “No, I don’t get upset by small-minded people and I found a lot of them over the last year. I move forward. I try not to get too involved with anyone who doesn’t know reality and can’t distinguish reality from their little fairy tale world that they live in, whether they are reporters or players or anyone else.”
Listen to more of Valentine's interview with Russo here.
Carl Crawford felt trapped by his contract with the Red Sox, a seven-year, $142 million deal he signed prior to the 2011 season, when he realized that playing in Boston was too tough on him and was a "toxic" environment.
Crawford reflected on his two seasons in Boston, in an interview with the Los Angeles Times, calling it the hardest period of his career.
"It was just everything," he said. "Me not playing well. Me being in an unfamiliar area in an environment that was toxic. Just all those things combined. You start to say, 'Is this ever going to end?'"
Asked if he regretted signing with the Red Sox, Crawford replied, "A lot of times I did. You hear a lot of talk about how I just wanted money. At some point, you just wondered if you made the right decision."
Crawford was traded to the Dodgers in August 2012 along with Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, and Nick Punto in a salary dump by the Red Sox.
"From the outside, you watch guys playing over there and you think you can go and play," Crawford told the Times. "But you realize, once you get there, it's a little tougher than you expected."
It's unclear from the story which element Crawford was calling toxic: the clubhouse, Red Sox fans, perhaps both. But it is clear that in addition to having two disappointing, injury-plagued season, his mental state also was affected. He told the Times he was in a depressed state of mind.
"I knew with the struggles I was having, it would never get better for me," Crawford said. "I just didn't see a light at the end of the tunnel. It puts you in kind of a depression stage. You just don't see a way out."
Daisuke Matsuzaka wanted to stick around the American League to play under manager Terry Francona again, but also so he can face the Red Sox.
Matsuzaka, who signed with the Indians on a minor league deal that would pay him $1.5 million if he makes the club, talked to Cleveland media Wednesday.
"What it came down to was I wanted to pitch for an American League team," said Matsuzaka, "and I wanted to pitch against Boston to see what that would be like. And, of course, I wanted to play under Tito again."
Dice-K spent the last six years in Boston, going 50-37 in 668.1 innings. But he pitched only 82.3 innings over the past two seasons, struggling to stay healthy with an elbow that required reconstructive surgery. He finished the 2012 season a shell of himself, going 1-7 with an 8.28 ERA, after several stints on the disabled list while recovering from Tommy John surgery. He said he feels much better about his health now.
"I've been throwing with pain for a while now," said Matsuzaka, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer. "So it's going to be important getting used to throwing without pain at first. Getting used to that might take some time. But I believe that without the pain, I should be able to become the pitcher I was in the past."
No, technically the correct answer is not, "Pretty tough, as the Red Sox proved all summer,'' though our judges will accept it.
How hard is it really to hit a fastball? Let's put it this way: It takes one-tenth of second just to locate a fastball traveling at over 90 miles per hour, and in that time it advances 12 feet.
That's one of the things you'll learn during a segment on a new series on Disney XD called "Disney XD ESPN Sport Science,'' which premieres Saturday at 11 a.m. We mention this because the program features Red Sox great Nomar Garciaparra participating in a fun experiment breaking down the difficulty, skill and science behind what it takes to hit a fastball.
The series is an offshoot of ESPN's Emmy Award-winning series Sport Science that uses science to uncover sports' biggest myths and mysteries. Other athletes who will be featured include Dwight Howard, Larry Fitzgerald, Vernon Davis.
Check out the clip below to see how Nomar fares, and whether he still adjusts his batting gloves after every pitch.
The documentary style film (read the Globe review), which follows the ups-and-downs of Wakefield and Mets knuckleballer R. A. Dickey throughout the 2011 season, had its VIP premiere last night at the Regal Fenway theater in Boston. Along with Wakefield, Hall of Fame knuckleballer Phil Niekro, former Texas Ranger Charlie Hough, and Belmont native and White Sox great Wilbur Wood attended the event.
Wakefield was asked how a foursome including himself, Niekro, Hough, and Wood would have fared as a rotation while in their prime. The 200-game winner replied: “We’d win more than we lose.”Venerable sportscaster Bob Lobel and Boston Latino TV film critic Tim Estiloz hosted a Q&A session with the audience after the screening.
"The guys that are standing behind me now with Charlie Hough, Phil Niekro, and Wilbur Wood have been mentors of mine when I first started throwing [the knuckleball]," Wakefield said. "You'll see in the film it's a very close-knit fraternity. There's only a handful of guys that ever did it in the big leagues and it's a way that we share our thoughts and ideas with each other."
Wakefield spoke about the challenges of being filmed during the season while trying to win games, and specifically while going for his 200th win, which took eight tries.
"It can be a little invading, especially being an athlete and being so ritual, and superstitious, and being in such a routine like you don't want that interrupted but [directors Ricki Stern and Annie Sundberg] did a fantastic job understanding that side of the game and learning that as the film was being done to make it a little easier."
Wakefield also spoke about the struggles that all the knuckleballers went through not only to make it to the big leagues, but to stay in the game when they had lost the magic touch.
"It was a struggle from Day 1 when we all started learning the knuckleball," Wakefield said. "Dealing with adversity with the pitch, dealing with nobody wanting you feeling like you're on a desert or deserted island by yourself, and I think one of the life lessons that I learned a long time ago from Phil [Niekro] was learn to accept your losses without being defeated. I think we call all use that adage in our life, because we all go through hard times in life and you can learn to accept those hard times and keep moving forward, never look behind you."
"Knuckleball!" premieres locally starting Friday, Sept. 21 at the Coolidge Corner theater in Brookline.
Read the Globe's Ty Burr's review of the documentary here.
Former Red Sox pitcher Josh Beckett thought he had an easy single when he lined a ball to right field in the third inning of the Dodgers' game Thursday against the Cardinals in Los Angeles. The right fielder had other plans.
Carlos Beltran took a few steps to his right to make the play and threw a strike to first base to beat Beckett by a step at first base.
Dodgers famed announcer Vin Scully's reaction? "Haven't seen that in a long, long time."
The Dodgers lost the game, 2-1, and fell two games behind the Cardinals for the second wild-card berth in the National League.
Beckett pitched 5 1/3 innings, giving up one run on seven hits, with two walks and six strikeouts, but got no decision in the loss. In his four starts as a Dodger, the former Red Sox righty has a 3.38 ERA.
During the interview, host Glenn Ordway asked Valentine if he had "checked out", and Valentine took issue with the question.
"What an embarrassing thing to say," said Valentine. "If I were there right now, I'd punch you right in the mouth. Ha. How's that sound? Is that like I checked out? What an embarrassing thing.
"Why would somebody even -- that's stuff that a comic strip person would write. If someone's here, watching me go out at 2 o'clock in the afternoon, watching me put in the right relief pitchers to get a win, putting on a hit-and-run when it was necessary, talking to the guys after the game in the food room -- how could someone in real life say that?"
Valentine was asked about the season as a whole and whether or not he'd like to return for another as the team's manager.
"This is what I chose to do," said Valentine. "I think it's been miserable, but it's also been part of my life's journey. You learn from misery."
On wanting to manage the Sox next season, Valentine said, "Of course. If that's what I'm asked to do, that's what I'm going to get paid to do."
The Red Sox are 63-74 this season, a disappointing fourth place in the American League East. In addition to poor performance on the field, Valentine's relationship with his players has come under fire.
Valentine also took issue with a report that he arrived at the ballpark late for a game Saturday night. Valentine reportedly got to the Oakland Coliseum around 4 p.m. for a 7:10 p.m. start.
"I shouldn't have to explain that," said Valentine. "That pisses me off. Whoever wrote that knew what happened. They knew that my son was coming to see me for the first time in this lousy season and that I got to see him on the road, and that his flight was late, and that I was waiting at the airport in San Francisco for his flight to come in, and that I sent the lineup in and reported to my coaches that I was going to be a little late."
Valentine added, "Four o'clock, like that's so late for a 7:15 game. Joe Maddon gets there everyday at 4 o'clock, just for the record."
You can listen to the full audio of the interview on WEEI.com.
Did you see that catch Repko made?
While highlights from a Red Sox season of lows are few and far between, there was an amazing play that may have been the catch of the year down on the farm in Pawtucket on Sunday night.
Jason Repko, the 31-year-old minor league journeyman who has spent time with the Dodgers, Twins, and Red Sox, robbed Scranton/Wilkes-Barre's Kosuke Fukodome of a grand slam when he sprinted to the left field warning track to make a tremendous leaping catch that carried him over the outfield wall at McCoy Stadium.
"It definitely felt good, but we still lost. I want to be happy about it, but you can’t be because you lost and you still feel down about the game," Repko said on Monday, via ESPNBoston.com. "All in all, when I got home and saw it on TV, I was like, 'that was kind of cool.' I enjoyed it, and to see it [on SportsCenter] was cool."
On the downside, Repko suffered a gash on his arm during the play, and the PawSox went on to lose to the Yankees's Triple-A affiliate, 6-2.
The newest Dodgers starter and former Red Sox pitcher of seven years, Josh Beckett, opened up a little to WEEI's Rob Bradford about leaving Boston and starting fresh in Los Angeles. The most notable points included his consultation with the other players traded before waiving his 10-and-5 rights and how the media -- not necessarily the fans -- ran him out of town.
- Beckett said he called Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Nick Punto to see if moving to Los Angeles is something they wanted to do. Everyone seemed on board, he said, and general manager Ben Cherington's professionalism made the move as easy and not awkward as possible.
- "Once they want you out of there, they want you out of there," Beckett said. "By them, I don't necessarily mean the fans. There are certain people in the media who painted me out to be a monster with horns, and that's just not the case. ... They're going to keep on, keeping on, keeping on until they get what they want."
- When asked if he had any regrets for his actions in Boston, such as playing a round of golf the day after he was scratched from a start, he said that being himself is all he can be, and that lying doesn't make anything better. He also said that he has been the same person when he was in Florida, in Boston and now in Los Angeles.
- Beckett compared himself to Keith Foulke, who helped the Red Sox win their first championship in 86 years but still became a "monster" to Red Sox Nation in 2006. "It's just a matter of time before they get you, basically. And that's unfortunate," he said. "I think Jonny Lester knows that. I think Clay Buchholz knows that. Your time will come."
A fan was so overjoyed after catching a foul ball at Monday night's game against the Royals that she began crying.
According to a survey by North Carolina-based Public Policy Polling, 50 percent of Red Sox Nation wants Terry Francona to return as the Boston Red Sox manager.
Twenty-four percent did not want him back, and the rest weren't sure.
It has been a tumultuous season for the Red Sox and manager Bobby Valentine, who succeeded Francona as Boston's skipper. The data says that as this season wore on, fans longed more and more for the return of Tito.
Here are the numbers on how respondants answered this question: "Would you like to see Terry Francona return as manager of the Red Sox someday, or not?"
Nostalgia for ex-skipper Terry Francona has ... risen steadily over the course of the last five months. Toward the end of spring training, 39 percent wished Tito were still managing for the 2012 season, and 28 percent preferred their new field general, with a third of fans unsurprisingly still not sure. Then in June, almost at the midway point of the season, we asked if fans would like to see Francona ever return at all: 46 percent said yes, 27 percent no. When we asked the same question this month, that had bumped up a hair to 50-24.
Other tidbits from the poll:
- Fans are split on a separate question as to whether Valentine should be fired with 35 percent saying keep him and 34 percent wanting to let him go.
- Seventeen percent of those asked said the Red Sox still would make the playoffs. But the poll, taken of 1,115 likely Massachusetts voters from Aug. 16-19, happened before the blockbuster trade of Aug. 24 that effectively raised the white flag on the 2012 season.
Of course, no one has surveyed Francona, now working as an ESPN baseball analyst, to see if he would like to return as manager of the Red Sox someday. Or not.
Adrian Gonzalez made it clear that he liked his new home in Los Angeles when he homered in his first at-bat as a Dodger on Saturday. On Sunday, Gonzalez told the LA Times' Dylan Hernandez that the Boston media didn't take to his calm demeanor.
"I won't throw my helmet, I won't scream, I won't use bad words if I strike out. That's what they want over there," Gonzalez said of the Boston media.
"I was the same person in San Diego. They took me over there and I didn't change. My intensity, how I prepared, everything was the same. When they took me over there, they took me over there to drive in runs. And I did that."
Gonzalez also said that he never thought about wanting to leave Boston and that his happiness on the West coast had nothing to do with leaving Boston.
Live from Fenway Park for today's press conference on the blockbuster trade between the Red Sox and the Los Angeles Dodgers.
In the video above, fans react to the news that the Red Sox traded Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett, and Nick Punto to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Bill Shaikin, who covers baseball for the Los Angeles Times, has Tweeted that the Dodgers have been awarded a waiver claim on Adrian Gonzalez.
Pete Abraham, the Boston Globe's beat writer for the Red Sox, says there are three possible outcomes for Gonzalez: The Sox withdraw him from waivers; he is traded to the Dodgers; or Boston gives him to the Dodgers.
Abraham also reported the deal would probably have to involve some players to be named later as only players who clear waivers could be traded by Dodgers.
Starting in 2013, Gonzalez has six years and $127 million left on his deal.
Red Sox president and CEO Larry Lucchino said it was "unnecessary" to focus on how many players showed up for Johnny Pesky's funeral after only four players attended.
The players in attendance at the Swampscott funeral on Monday were David Ortiz, Clay Buchholz, Vicente Padilla, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia, according to a report.
"There was a tremendous turnout at the Johnny Pesky's funeral," Lucchino told listeners on WEEI's Dennis & Callahan show. "We had over a 100 people there in terms of ownership, front office, current players, staff, former players. It was a very impressive turnout. I think the people who knew Johnny best had came to it. Our players will have had a chance on Tuesday night to participate in a ceremony on the field -- they all willingly and enthusiastically participated on that date -- and then there's going to be another memorial service. So I think it's unnecessary to focus on that issue."
The Boston Herald's Inside Track reported the the team rented buses for the players and staff to attend the funeral, but there was still a paltry turnout.
“We ordered the buses for the front office to go, knowing that any players could join us or drive separately from their homes,” Sox spokesman Charles Steinberg told the Track. “Between the ownership, front office, current players and staff, and former players, we were well represented by the people who knew Johnny best.”
Instead of attending Pesky's funeral, for which the buses left around 11 a.m. Monday morning, the team reportedly showed up for Josh Beckett's charitable Beckett Bowl later that night at Jillian's/Lucky Strikes Lanes.
"Remember, our players got in at about 4 in the morning" that day, Lucchino said. "[The buses] were designed primarily for the front office ... The buses were pretty full, entirely full."
Seattle Mariners ace Felix Hernandez threw baseball's 23rd perfect game Wednesday. On Thursday, Red Sox righthander Clay Buchholz struck out three Orioles hitters on nine pitches in the sixth inning -- the 47th "perfect inning" in MLB history.
The nine pitches, according to MLB.com's Gameday, featured three foul balls, three called strikes, and three swinging strikes.
Buchholz vs. Adam Jones
Strike 1. Called strike on 77-mph curve
Strike 2. Swinging strike on 77-mph curve
Strike 3. Called strike on 90-mph cutter
Buchholz vs. Matt Weiters
Strike 1. Foul on 91-mph four-seam fastball
Strike 2. Swinging strike on 89-mph cutter
Strike 3. Called strike on 93-mph four-seam fastball
Buchholz vs. Chris Davis
Strike 1. Foul on 92-mph four-seam fastball
Strike 2. Foul on 91-mph cutter
Strike 3. Swinging strike on 86-mph splitter
The Red Sox righthander's perfect frame immediately followed his team's game-winning rally, a three-run sixth inning to help the Sox to a 6-3 victory at Camden Yards.
Comcast SportsNet's Joe Haggerty reports that rehabbing Red Sox starter John Lackey, who has been traveling with the team while recovering from Tommy John surgery, was seen drinking in the Red Sox clubhouse after last night's 5-3 loss in Cleveland:
There were others that just don’t seem to care about wins or losses anymore.
Like John Lackey, who apparently needs to travel with the team and work with trainer Mike Reinold while recovering from Tommy John surgery – a fairly standard rehab that literally thousands of pitchers have come back from stronger-than-ever over the last 30 years.
But for whatever reason, the underachieving righty needs to travel with the team even though he won’t be throwing even one measly pitch for them.
Lackey was so busted up after the latest defeat that he was strutting around the clubhouse with a can of Bud Light in each hand, or what is known as “double-fisting” on every college campus in the history of mankind.
So much for the Bobby Valentine ban on alcohol in the Sox clubhouse that was implemented during spring training.
In February, Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine banned alcohol in the clubhouse and on team flights returning to Boston. At the time, no distinction between home and road clubhouses was reported.
"There's no beer in the clubhouse and no beer on the last leg of plane trips," Valentine said in Fort Myers in February. "It's just what I've always done, except for when I was in Texas I guess. I'm comfortable with it that way."
The edict was expected given the news last fall that starting pitchers John Lackey, Josh Beckett, and Clay Buchholz drank beer and ate Popeyes fried chicken in the clubhouse at Fenway Park while games were going on last season.
However, players are allowed to drink beer after the game on the road with their postgame meal, according the Globe's Nick Cafardo. Haggerty's story caused a stir because many were not aware of a different rule in road clubhouses.
In another report, Boston Dirt Dogs writes that embattled Red Sox starter Josh Beckett was spotted at a Boston bar at closing time Monday night, less than 36 hours before he gave up eight runs to the Texas Rangers in a Wednesday matinee at Fenway Park.
The 1912 Red Sox World Series trophy was auctioned for $239,000 last Thursday at the National Sports Collectors Convention in Baltimore.
The buyer has not been identified. Before the sale, Heritage Auctions had estimated the 14-inch silver trophy would sell for at least $300,000.
The seller, Robert Fraser, bought the trophy from Bruce Garland for a $74,000 finder's fee, including commission, in 2007. According to Fraser, Garland bought the trophy from the family of Jake Stahl, the manager of the 1912 Sox.
The Red Sox have traded Matt Albers and Scott Podsednik for lefthanded pitcher Craig Breslow. The details of the deal were reported by Arizona Diamondbacks beat writer for FOXSportsArizona.com, Jack Magruder. Globe national baseball reporter Nick Cafardo reported earlier the Red Sox were close to acquiring Breslow.
— Jack Magruder (@JackMagruder) July 31, 2012
#Dbacks source confirms Breslow to Boston. Angels also were looking at Breslow, need lefty.
The reliever has pitched in 40 games and has a 2.70 ERA. He's averaging almost a strikeout per inning.
The Globe's Nick Cafardo reports via Twitter that Red Sox outfielder Ryan Sweeney is expected to miss at least eight weeks after injuring his left throwing hand by punching a door in the Red Sox dugout after Tigers second baseman Omar Infante made a diving stab to rob him of a hit in the bottom of the eighth inning of last night's game.
Ryan Sweeney expected to be out eight weeks.— Nick Cafardo (@nickcafardo) July 31, 2012
“I just came down, walked down the stairs, and kind of punched the door a little bit,’’ said a forlorn Sweeney in the clubhouse. “I’ve done [it] before, but maybe not to this extent.’’
Sweeney injured the outside knuckle on his left pinkie and was unable to return to the game. “I just couldn’t throw the ball, so they had to put Cody in,’’ he said.
Asked last night if he felt as though he fractured it, Sweeney said, “I don’t know. I’ve never broken my hand before, so I don’t know what that feels like. I know it hurts a little bit right now.’’
Ryan Kalish will likely replace Sweeney on the Red Sox roster.
We'll have more in Boston.com's Extra Bases blog shortly.
Photo courtesy Heritage Auctions
Robert Fraser is giving up his favorite living room decoration – the 1912 Red Sox World Series trophy – but it wasn't easy for auction houses to convince him to let it go.
"I was heartbroken," Fraser said. "I loved having it on display in my living room."
Fraser, 52, is expected to be compensated handsomely when it will be auctioned at the National Sports Collectors Convention Aug. 2 in Baltimore. The current bid, via Heritage Auctions, is $90,000.
But Fraser, who said he paid Bruce Garland a $74,000 finder's fee, including commission, for the trophy in 2007, said it could sell for up to 10 times what he paid.
"All you need is a few people," Fraser said.
Heritage Auctions estimates the 14-inch silver trophy will sell for at least $300,000.
According to Fraser, Garland bought the trophy from the family of Jake Stahl, the manager of the 1912 Sox.
Another trophy that was produced in 1912 went to Jimmy McAleer, the team's then co-owner. That trophy has never been located, according to Heritage Auction's Chris Ivy, and could have been melted during the Great Depression.
"It's a one-of-a-kind item," Ivy said. "It's a priceless item."
Asked if the Red Sox would get involved in the bidding, Ivy responded, "I'd be surprised if they didn't."
The Red Sox have a replica of the trophy on display in Fenway Park. The Red Sox defeated the New York Giants four games to three in the 1912 World Series.
"I think Robert's timing is phenomenal," Ivy said. "The fact that this is 2012, 100 years from Fenway's opening."
This piece is on the cover of Heritage Auction's Platinum Night catalog.
The trophy was also the subject of a resolved dispute in New Jersey. A judge said that vintage baseball memorabilia collector/dealer Peter Nash had acted "in bad faith" and has no legal claim to the trophy.
Fraser is an agent for Terrie O'Connor Realtors in Saddle River, NJ.
Jim Rogash/Getty Images
The Red Sox are reportedly looking at shipping out left fielder Carl Crawford, despite the difficulty of moving his hefty contract, according to FoxSports.com's Ken Rosenthal.
According to Rosenthal's report, the Red Sox reached out to the Miami Marlins and the Los Angeles Dodgers. However Rosenthal's story has conflicting sources on whether discussions actually took place.
The Red Sox, sources said, reached out to both the Marlins and Los Angeles Dodgers, though another source said that no discussions took place with the Dodgers. The Marlins, historically open to any possibility, would at least consider the concept, sources said.
“There’s nothing going on with Carl,” Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington said. “He’s our left fielder and we’re glad to have him back in our lineup.”
Crawford returned on Monday after missing the first 89 games of the season with wrist, elbow and groin injures. He's in the second year of his $142 million contract, which would make any move difficult.
Valentine was at the Coolidge Corner Theater in Brookline Wednesday night to introduce the film at an advance screening of the documentary that is focused on 16-year-old baseball players, or peloteros, in the Dominican Republic vying for a handful of professional baseball contracts.
"That little island, half that little island, come some of the most fabulous baseball players to ever walk the earth including some who are with us right here at Fenway Park," Valentine said on why he enjoys the film so much. "Probably the one you know the most is David Ortiz, the one you know the least is a young No. 77 [Pedro Ciriaco] ... who happens to be from San Pedro de Macoris, where you will see the streets that he rode his bicycle on, where you will see the parks that he learned to play baseball in, where you will see the academy where he ran around trying to get the opportunity to be at Fenway Park where he is right now, five years later."
The film sheds light on some of the most pressing issues surrounding the export of Dominican baseball players to the US, including age and identity fraud and exploitation, and looks at instances of coercion and other improprieties in the process. As the Globe reported Tuesday, one scene depicts a Pittsburgh Pirates scout pressuring a 16-year-old and his family to sign immediately, under the threat of an investigation into his age.
At its core, however, Ballplayer: Pelotero is a story about two gifted prospects, shortstops Miguel Angel Sanó and Jean Carlos Batista, doing their best to navigate a flawed system with the hopes, fears, and burdens of their entire families riding on their success or failure.
Baseball commissioner Bud Selig has complained to the Red Sox about concerns MLB has with the documentary.
The league is displeased with the film’s allegations of corruption and coercion in the signing process for young prospects from the Dominican Republic. MLB spokesman Pat Courtney said in an e-mail to the Globe that the league “had a conversation with the Red Sox about the inaccuracies and misrepresentations that were in the documentary,” but did not elaborate on what they were.
''I expressed our concerns to Red Sox ownership and that was it. What they did from there is up to them,'' Selig said Tuesday. ''There were a lot of things that were inaccurate.''
MLB says many of the issues with the recruiting of Dominican amateur players have been rectified since 2009, the period covered by the film.
''It doesn't really reflect what's happened in recent years in the Dominican,'' said Rob Manfred, MLB's executive vice president of economics and league affairs, in a statement.
''There are not a lot of headlines that are going to come out of this, but that somebody has a problem with something that Bobby Valentine did, probably a pretty big headline that would come out of it,'' players' union head Michael Weiner said. ''More seriously, I don't think it's Bobby's involvement. When you expose the kinds of practices ... it's not an easy thing for MLB to see, and I know that it's not a complimentary treatment of some of the facets of the way MLB has handled it down there.''
The film's co-directors, Jon Paley, Ross Finkel and Trevor Martin, issued a statement defending their work.
''It is frustrating to hear commissioner Selig state that our film is inaccurate,'' they said. ''We stand by what we documented in 'Ballplayer: Pelotero' and would welcome the opportunity to showcase the documentary to Mr. Selig so he can specifically address what he feels is inaccurate.''
Valentine was originally scheduled to take part in Q&A with the audience immediately following the screening, but that appearance was cancelled on Wednesday. The Sox manager introduced the film, but left before the Q&A session.
Before Valentine exited the stage at the Coolidge Corner Theatre, he did address Red Sox fans in the audience with the rally cry: "And let's go Sox, second half!"
Baseball: Pelotero opens at the Coolidge Corner Theatre in Brookline for a full run on Friday.
For more background on the film, check out the Globe story: Valentine film delivers heat.
Material from The Associated Press and The Boston Globe was used in this report.
The Red Sox' designated hitter hit .309 with 29 homers and 96 RBIs last season, but the newly positioned Sox general manager, Ben Cherington, didn't offer him a multi-year deal. Instead, he offered Ortiz arbitration. They agreed to a one-year, $14.575 million deal, a $2.025 million raise from the year before.
"It was humiliating," Ortiz said. "There's no reason a guy like me should go through that. ... And yet they don't hesitate to sign other guys. It was embarrassing."
Ortiz, who is in his 10th year with the Red Sox, was the team's only All-Star Game selection this year. He's hitting .302 with 22 home runs and 55 RBIs.
Cherington said in an e-mail to USA Today the Red Sox would not look to start negotiations on an extension during the season.
After Mayor Thomas M. Menino introduced Martinez, he said he considered himself a Bostonian, but that the Lifetime Achievement Award he received made him a “Bostonian for life.”
Other honorees included former Celtics great Robert Parish, Patriots’ two-time Super Bowl champion Rodney Harrison, Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs, former Yale rower Chris Ernst, and former Revolution defender Alexi Lalas.
A poignant moment of the ceremony came when Harrison said, “The reason why I’m here is Junior Seau.” Harrison said that Seau inspired him to play the way he played all the time, including practice.
“The biggest compliment I got when I retired was when Bill Bellichick said I was the best practice player he’s ever had.”
Seau recently took his own life by shooting himself in the chest, raising awareness for concussions and health concerns in the NFL.
Harrison chose his wife, Erika, to present the Football Legacy Award to him to show people how important his wife was to his career.
“I’ve gone through multiple injuries, devastating injuries,” he said. Nobody really understands the impact it makes on the family. Who has to deal with it? The wife.”
Sportscaster and former Celtic Bill Walton introduced Parish, “The Chief,” who bowed to the crowd after accepting the Basketball Legacy Award. Walton repeatedly said, “Hail to the Chief,” and cracked jokes.
Parish, a four-time NBA champion and Hall of Famer, drew laughs from the crowd when comparing Michael Jordan and Larry Bird.
“Bird was slow, couldn’t jump,” he said, noting both had unparalleled determination.
Jacobs was introduced by NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, who said Jacobs, “wants to win more than anything else for Boston.”
Jacobs was honored for last year’s Stanley Cup but also for his commitment to community service and philanthropic contributions.
In light of the 40th anniversary of Title IX’s enactment, Ernst, captain of 1976 Yale women’s crew and gold medalist at the 1986 world championships, was honored.
“There’s nobody I’m more impressed with in this room than [Ernst],” said sportswriter Jackie MacMullan, who presented the Special Achievement Award to Ernst along with Mary Mazzio, who created an award-winning film about Ernst called “A Hero for Daisy.”
The Revolution’s leading career goal scorer Taylor Twellman called Lalas “a pioneer for our sport.” Lalas was a member of the 1994 US World Cup team and helped spark interest in soccer in America.
Celtics coach Doc Rivers was messing around on the computer one day and ran into this thing called Positive Coaching Alliance.
As the story goes, he liked what he saw so much from the organization online that he signed up and has been on the advisory board ever since with luminary coaches like Phil Jackson. That was two years ago.
Rivers, along with Boston Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine, Boston College men's ice hockey coach Jerry York, and Harvard men's basketball coach Tommy Amaker headlined the first annual Sports Leadership Breakfast at Fenway Park Tuesday morning, a panel discussion put on by the alliance that served as both a fundraiser and a roundtable on positive coaching skills.
"If you look at Doc and Phil and other really great coaches, one of the characteristics is they get the best out of everyone," said Jim Thompson, the alliance's founder. "Not just their star players. Their role players come online and people who are playing with the Lakers or the Celtics do better when they're playing with those coaches. They go elsewhere and they're not so good. So even at the highest level, that kind of positive coaching, where you're making a team, the concept of Ubuntu is one we use actually in our workshops now. We're spreading it all across the country. The idea is that I can't be all I can be, unless you're all you can be. That's a huge concept and the greatest coaches do that."
The PCA also honored two local coaches, Needham football coach Dave Duffy whose Rockets were runnerup in the Division 1 EMass Super Bowl, and O'Bryant's girls basketball and volleyball coach Gertrude Fisher. Both accepted checks for $1,000 on behalf of their athletic departments.
The panelists addressed a number of topics in the discussion, including the involvement of parents -- which struck a chord with Rivers -- positive reinforcement and showing deference to referees.
"Obviously it's very difficult," said Amaker of dealing with referees. "All of our sports and teams that we're playing for, we're fighting all the time, competing with our teams, for our players. They need to see you, I think, sometimes that you're fighting for them in particular. But I think we also have to have some semblance of discipline about ourselves. I think sometimes players are going to play to their coaches in that regard, so I think it's important."
Said Valentine: "You go out and you just try and be honest and get to know the guys when you go out to either protect your players or go out and talk to the umpire. I mean, I got thrown out of a game this year when I went out and just said 'what the heck, can I get thrown out for what I'm thinking?' And he said 'no.' And then I told him what I was thinking."
Rivers was particularly pointed about parents dealing with coaches. Being a father to multiple star athletes, he professes to never interfere with their coaches and believes no parent should.
"I just think parents need to support their kids and enjoy their kids and help them at the games, and just say great job," Rivers said. "I know that's hard but I think it'll be better for the kid."
York, whose powerhouse hockey team is tops in the nation, lamented the difficulty of finding high character players.
"It's awful hard to determine character when you're recruiting a 17-year old and the mom and dad are selling that this is a perfect fit for you," York said. "And the coach is selling it and the player's on his best behavior. So it's a little bit of a gamble."
It seems everyone has something to say about Kevin Youkilis leaving Boston and joining the White Sox. And now the president has chimed in.
Speaking at a fundraising event at Symphony Hall in Boston last night, President Obama thanked the city for sending third baseman Kevin Youkilis to the White Sox, his hometown baseball team.
"And finally Boston, I just want to say, thank you for Youkilis," Obama said. "I'm just saying, he's going to have to had to change the color of his Sox, ha, ha, ha, ha."
The chuckles in the crowd quickly turned to a round of boos for the president.
"I didn't think I'd get any boos out of here but..." Obama said jokingly to the room of wealthy backers. "I should not have brought up baseball, I understand. My mistake, my mistake. You've got to know your crowd."
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady comes in at No. 28 on the top-100 list with total earnings of $27.1 million. In March, Brady restructured his contract to provide the Patriots with more than $7 million in additional salary cap room for the 2012 season. Brady signed a four-year, $72 million extension in 2010 and reportedly converted $4.8 million of his base salary and $6.25 million of other bonuses into a signing bonus that can be prorated over the final three years of the deal that ends in 2014, when Brady will be 37 years old. Brady earns $23.1 million in salary plus $4 million in additional income through endorsement deals with Under Armor, Audi, and UGGs and others.
Logan Mankins is the next New England professional athlete to be ranked on the list. The four-time Patriots Pro Bowl guard comes in at No. 51, earning $21.9 million in 2012, including about $1,000,000 in endorsements. Mankins missed half of the Patriots 2010 season when he held out after saying he was unhappy with his current deal. In 2011, Mankins signed a six-year, $52.25 million deal that extends through 2016. It was the largest contract paid to an NFL guard at the time.
Celtics star Kevin Garnett, currently an unrestricted free-agent, comes in at No. 57 on the list with total earnings of $21.1 million, which includes $4 million in endorsements. Garnett has earned $291 million in salary in his career according to Forbes, second all-time only to former Celtics center Shaquille O'Neal.
Injured Red Sox outfielder Carl Crawford checks in at No. 98 on the list with $16.9 million in total earnings in 2012, which includes about $150,000 in endorsements. Former Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein signed Crawford to a seven-year, $142 million deal following the 2010 season. Crawford struggled in Boston during the first year of the deal and has yet to take the field in 2012 due to wrist and elbow injuries.
Jailed boxer Floyd Mayweather sits atop the Forbes list with earnings totaling $85 million. He is followed by boxer Manny Pacquiao ($62M) , golfer Tiger Woods ($59.4M), basketball star LeBron James ($53M), and tennis great Roger Federer ($52.7, to round out the top five.
Mayweather, who made $85 million for two fights last year, is currently serving a three-month jail sentence in Las Vegas for domestic battery. Pacquiao lost his WBO welterweight title to Timothy Bradley earlier this month.
Woods had been the highest paid athlete on the list since 2001. He's lost endorsement deals from Gillette, Tag Heuer, and others since personal issues surfaced in Nov. 2009.
James's $53 million in earnings includes $40 million in endorsement money, which includes new deals to promote Dunkin' Donuts and Baskin Robbins in Asia. It was LeBron's first significant endorsement deal since the Miami Heat center signed with Fenway Sports Management to oversee his marketing career in 2011. James’s income also got a boost when he received cash as part of his partnership with Fenway Sports Group last year, through which James received a stake in the Liverpool soccer club.
Other notables on the top-100 highest paid list:
- Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning is No. 10 with $42.4 million in total earnings
- Alex Rodriguez of the Yankees was tops among baseball players and No. 18 overall with $33 million in earnings
- Giants QB and Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning checks in at No. 30, with $26.6 million
- Yankees captain Derek Jeter is No. 36 with $24.5 million in earnings
- Liverpool Reds legend Steven Gerrard comes in at No. 97 on the list. Reds/Red Sox owners John Henry and Tom Werner paid the LFC star $12.5 million in 2012, while Gerrard earned another $4.5 million in endorsements, mostly through his affiliation with Adidas.
Athletes from 11 different sports qualified for the top 100, and 30 football players made the cut, which is more than any other sport, including 13 players from the NBA.
The earnings figures published by Forbes includes salaries, bonuses, prize money, appearance fees, as well as licensing and endorsement income for the 12 months between June 2011 and June 2012.
Take a look at the complete list via a photo gallery from Forbes here.
First he invented the wrap. Now he's perfecting the rap.
In a video that surfaced on Saturday, a man that clearly appears to be Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine was captured on camera doing backup
grunting rapping while walking near someone leading the vocals, presumably on the streets of Chicago this weekend.
Not sure if Jay-Z is going to come calling or if Kanye has anything to worry about at this point.
But stay tuned.
The Red Sox also have the highest average ticket price in baseball, with a cost of $88.26 per ticket.
To identify the five teams in each major sport with the highest ticket prices, 24/7 Wall St. examined a two-year average of secondary-market ticket prices for each team compiled by SeatGeek, a search engine for event tickets.
Three of Boston's four major pro teams, MLS soccer teams were not ranked in the report, ranked in the top-five among the most expensive seats to purchase on the secondary market, which according to SeatGeek, is more reflective of fan demand.
The top-five team rankings for average ticket prices are as follows:
National Football League
5. Green Bay Packers: $213.43
4. Dallas Cowboys: $214.71
3. Chicago Bears: $219.82
2. New York Giants: $238.45
1. New England Patriots: $241.86
Major League Baseball
5. New York Mets: $63.56
4. Chicago Cubs: $65.24
3. New York Yankees: $70.81
2. Toronto Blue Jays: $71.89
1. Boston Red Sox: $88.26
National Basketball Association
5. Boston Celtics: $99.43
4. Chicago Bulls: $111.12
3. Miami Heat: $123.35
2. New York Knicks: $161.93
1. Los Angeles Lakers: $169.80
National Hockey League
5. Vancouver Canucks: $158.09
4. Pittsburgh Penguins: $160.28
3. Montreal Canadiens: $186.67
2. Winnipeg Jets: $197.26
1. Toronto Maple Leafs: $199.62
Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino was captured on camera Wednesday giving his take on the dramatic Celtics run through the NBA playoffs, and he referred to Kevin Garnett as "K.J." and Rajon Rondo as "Hondo" when praising the players' efforts.
“There’s a lot of heart on this team, let me just tell you,” Menino said. “K.J. is a great ... but Hondo's really the inspiration. I mean Hondo drives that team.”
Maybe the mayor thinks Celtics great John "Hondo" Havlicek is driving the action from his floor seats under the basket at the Garden or former Phoenix Suns guard Kevin Johnson, a.k.a. K.J., is doing a great job as the current mayor of Sacramento. Maybe not.
Update: The mayor's office tweeted the following Thursday morning:
You know it's championship season when Iflub our athletes' names! Sorry KG & Rondo, it's kind of my thing- another Menino-ism! #GoCeltics— Mayor Tom Menino (@mayortommenino) June 7, 2012
This is not the first time the mayor has mixed up and botched the names of local sports stars. Some of Menino's past slip-ups include:
-- At the Fenway 100 celebration at Fenway Park in April, Menino reminisced: "2004 coming in here when Davy Roberts stole second base, Mueller [supposed to be pronounced Miller] hit the double, got him in, then Ortiz won the game. There's so many ... Jim Lomberg had that great year he had."
That would be Red Sox righty Jim Lonborg in 1967.
-- During the dedication of the Bobby Orr statue on Causeway Street in 2010: "Boston, we have an amazing set of remarkable athletes whose actions have become ionic (sic) in sports. Havlicek stole the ball, Fisk waving the ball fair, Flutie launching the Hail Mary pass, Varitek splitting the uprights.”
It was old friend Adam Vinatieri (not former Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek) who sealed the deal for the Patriots first Super Bowl victory when he nailed the game-winning 48-yard field goal in 2002 to beat the heavily-favored St. Louis Rams.
-- Speaking of football, last season the mayor referred to Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker as "Wekler" and called tight end Rob Gronkowski "Grabowski."
-- At a dedication ceremony at the Tobin Community Center in 2010, the mayor referred to NBA commissioner David Stern as "Donald Sterns."
-- Menino used the term "great ball players" to describe the Stanley Cup ice hockey champion Bruins last year.
-- The mayor also referred to the band Dropkick Murphys as the "Dropkick Murphy" and called the screen on the scoreboard at the Garden a 'Jumbletron' in lieu of the term JumboTron.
Click here to see a photo and video gallery of other famous sports flubs.
The Globe's Peter Abraham reported via Twitter the Red Sox have sent struggling starting pitcher Daniel Bard to Triple-A Pawtucket.
Darnell McDonald has been activated.
Bard had his worst outing as a starter on Sunday vs. the Toronto Blue Jays. He walked six and hit two batters in 1 1/3 innings, allowing five runs in a 5-1 loss.
We'll have more in the Extra Bases blog as it becomes available.
While David Ortiz is on track to make the All-Star team for the eighth time, other Red Sox players are not faring so well in the first ballot update released today.
In a battle between seven-time All-Stars in the AL designated hitter voting, Ortiz (1,204,904 votes) leads Michael Young (1,049,170 votes) of the Rangers by a slim margin.
But that's where the good news ends for fans hoping to see some Red Sox domination at the ballot box for the midseason classic that will be played on July 10 in Kansas City.
Most shocking in the early results is that Adrian Gonzalez, a starter for the AL in 2011, wasn't even listed in the top five voting. Prince Fielder leads the first base field with 1,027, 070 votes followed by Mark Teixeira, Paul Konerko, Mitch Moreland, and Albert Pujols, newly acquired by the Angels. Gonzalez is somewhere behind Pujols, who has 478,020 votes.
At second base, Dustin Pedroia (699,422 votes) -- a regular at the top of the voting charts in the past -- is a distant third behind the Rangers' Ian Kinsler (1,447,171 votes) and Robinson Cano of the Yankees (1,164,448 votes).
Old friend Adrian Beltre is part of the Rangers domination in the early voting at third base. Beltre, one of five Rangers that are on pace to start the 83rd All-Star game, leads the pack with 1,179,864 votes. Kevin Youkilis, injured for a good part of the 2012 season, did not crack the top five vote-getters.
Derek Jeter leads all AL shortstops with 1,698,777 votes while the surprising Mike Aviles did not make the top five.
Despite a push from Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine and others in the media, Boston catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia is not in the top five in the catcher balloting. Mike Napoli of the Rangers leads with 1,224, 565 votes.
In the AL outfield, Josh Hamilton of the Rangers is the top vote-getter overall with 2,587, 991 votes. He is followed by Curtis Granderson, Nelson Cruz, Jose Bautista, Adam Jones... and eventually the injured Jacoby Ellsbury (346,774 votes), who is in 14th place. No, Carl Crawford is not in the top 15 vote-getters among outfielders.
In 2011, the Red Sox had six All-Stars named or voted in: Josh Beckett, Jacoby Ellsbury, Adrian Gonzalez, Jon Lester, David Ortiz, and Kevin Youkilis.
The Red Sox also had six All-Stars in 2010: Pedroia (injured), Ortiz, Victor Martinez (injured), Clay Buchholz (injured), and Lester.
In 2009, the Sox came through with six All-Stars again: Tim Wakefield, Kevin Youkilis, Pedroia, Jason Bay, Jonathan Papelbon, and Beckett.
And back in 2008, the Red Sox dominated the AL squad with seven selections as Pedroia, Youkilis, Manny Ramirez, and Ortiz were voted as starters. Papelbon, Jason Varitek, and J.D. Drew were selected as reserves.
Fans can cast their votes for the 2012 All-Star game starters up to 25 times at MLB.com until Thursday, June 28, at 11:59 p.m. ET. Then the final postion player for each squad is selected via an online vote from July 1-5.
The pitchers and reserves for both teams will be determined through a combination of player ballot choices and selections made by the two All-Star managers -- AL manager Ron Washington of the Rangers and NL skipper Tony La Russa.
The full American League voting update released today follows:
Prince Fielder, Tigers: 1,027,070
Mark Teixeira, Yankees: 697,602
Paul Konerko, White Sox: 671,430
Mitch Moreland, Rangers: 618,226
Albert Pujols, Angels: 478,020
Ian Kinsler, Rangers: 1,447,171
Robinson Cano, Yankees: 1,164,448
Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox: 699,422
Robert Andino, Orioles: 317,434
Chris Getz, Royals: 278,585
Adrian Beltre, Rangers: 1,179,864
Miguel Cabrera, Tigers: 886,365
Evan Longoria, Rays: 789,434
Alex Rodriguez, Yankees: 657,315
Mike Moustakas, Royals: 432,379
Derek Jeter, Yankees: 1,698,777
Elvis Andrus, Rangers: 1,033,986
J.J. Hardy, Orioles: 489,941
Alcides Escobar, Royals: 392,195
Asdrubal Cabrera, Indians: 344,065
Mike Napoli, Rangers: 1,224,565
Matt Wieters, Orioles: 713,469
Joe Mauer, Twins: 637,364
Russell Martin, Yankees: 431,435
A.J. Pierzynski, White Sox: 424,646
David Ortiz, Red Sox: 1,204,904
Michael Young, Rangers: 1,049,170
Raul Ibanez, Yankees: 492,183
Billy Butler, Royals: 477,257
Edwin Encarnacion, Blue Jays: 391,131
Josh Hamilton, Rangers: 2,587,991
Curtis Granderson, Yankees: 1,406,128
Nelson Cruz, Rangers: 992,992
Jose Bautista, Blue Jays: 930,814
Adam Jones, Orioles: 857,543
David Murphy, Rangers: 652,379
Nick Swisher, Yankees: 624,215
Brett Gardner, Yankees: 437,126
Ichiro Suzuki, Mariners: 433,899
Jeff Francoeur, Royals: 422,304
Austin Jackson, Tigers: 389,664
Nick Markakis, Orioles: 384,390
Alex Gordon, Royals: 378,459
Jacoby Ellsbury, Red Sox: 346,774
Yoenis Cespedes, Athletics: 344,279
Image courtesy of United States Postal Service
The United States Postal Service said it will feature Red Sox hall of fame player Ted Wiliams individually on its new "Forever" stamps, a change from its original plan.
Williams, Joe DiMaggio, Larry Doby and Willie Stargell were to be featured on the new "Forever" stamp sheets together, but demand for the stamps spurred the postal company to reconsider the group configuration.
"We’ve heard from Indians, Pirates, Red Sox and Yankees fans and we’re stepping up to the plate to immortalize their revered players individually,” said U.S. Postal Service Stamp Services Manager Stephen Kearney in an e-mailed statement.
The stamps, designed by Los Angeles based artist-illustrator Kadir Nelson, will be released July 21, but will be available for order through Aug. 21. There will be a special event in Boston July 21 for the Williams stamp unveiling. Details about that event will announced later, according to the postal service.
"It will be interesting to learn which of the four players sells the most individual sheets," Kearney said.
Red Sox fans can order the stamps online at http://www.usps.com/play-ball, or by calling 1-800-STAMP24 (1-800-782-6724).
Or, in the spirit of the enterprise, by mailing a check or money order to:
MLB Pre-Order Offer
USPS Stamp Fulfillment Services
8300 NE Underground Drive #210
Kansas City, MO 64144-0001
We caught up with Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia Thursday at the Hard Rock Cafe in Boston where he along with teammates Daniel Bard, Darnell McDonald, and other members of the Red Sox staff were on hand promoting the new music album: "Fenway Park Greatest Hits" to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the ballpark and to benefit the Red Sox Foundation.
Saltalamachhia talked about what's contributed to the Red Sox turnaround on the recent road trip that just concluded in Baltimore.
"I feel good," Saltalamacchia said. "Like I said before we started the road trip, the starters set the tone, and they've done a great job with that, they've set the tone, bullpen's done their job where they just come in and shut guys down, and our offense put some runs on the board and we're able to just continue and feed off each other."
We caught up with Red Sox starter Daniel Bard -- fresh off his fourth victory of the season -- Thursday at the Hard Rock Cafe in Boston, where Bard and teammates Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Darnell McDonald and other members of the Red Sox staff were on hand promoting the new music album: "Fenway Park Greatest Hits" to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the ballpark and to benefit the Red Sox Foundation.
"Today, already before the first CD is sold, we're already aware of $20,000 to the Red Sox Foundation by virtue of this CD," Dr. Charles Steinberg from the Red Sox front office said during the event.
Bard, Saltalamacchia, and McDonald are part of several current and former Red Sox who appear in a variety of roles alongside professional musicians on the album. Bard plays acoustic guitar on the song "Let the Good Times Roll," made famous by the Boston band The Cars. Saltalamacchia plays guitar on the Aerosmith hit "Dream On." And McDonald sings backup vocals on the Fenway favorite "Sweet Caroline."
Bard spoke about the ongoing process of transitioning from a reliever to a starter this season.
"It's definitely a process, and I guess we're about nine starts into that process, plus spring training, so I'm learning something new every time out," Bard said. "It's kind of just learning that every start's a new battle and definitely learning new things about yourself, so I'm just trying right now to find that consistent delivery and mentally, I'm good. As long as I can scratch out a win like I did yesterday, or help the team win, but not really feel like I had my good stuff, I'll take it."
We'll have more video Q&A with Saltalamacchia talking about the Red Sox turnaround from today's event in The Buzz shortly.
Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine spoke Wednesday on WEEI's Dennis & Callahan show about having Kevin Youkilis, Adrian Gonzalez, and Will Middlebrooks all in the lineup at the same time. Valentine was asked if the new outfield alignment was sustainable over the long term.
"I don't think it's an everyday thing," Valentine said. "I think it's something that can be used throughout the year, but no I don't think it's an everyday solution ..."
"You have to see things to figure out what can go right and what can go wrong only because of the lack of familiarity with Adrian playing right field mainly, but even Kevin, he'd have to get back in the saddle at first base to do it every day. I just don't know that it's an everyday fix."
Regarding third baseman Middlebrooks's status with the big club, Valentine said he and Sox GM Ben Cherington were both on the same page.
"I totally am on board with Ben's take (that Youkilis would not lose his job to injury)," Valentine said. "Kevin's going to play third base. This is a situation that arose out of necessity, not out of choice. We're lucky to have a guy as versatile as Kevin to play on both sides of the infield and a guy as willing and versatile as Adrian who would move from first to right field to allow us to line those guys up for a while."
The Red Sox manager expressed a few concerns with having Gonzalez in the outfield, but nothing that is stopping him from using doing it again. Valentine said Youkilis would be back at first base today with Adrian Gonzalez in right field if he "had his legs under him." Valentine also said Scott Podsednik would get a start in center field in today's matinee at Camden Yards.
Before Tuesday's 4-1 loss to the Orioles, Youkilis downplayed his return from a DL stint. He started at first base.
"There's not more to the story than playing tonight and just going out there and playing ... that's it. There's not a story here, just going out and playing ... I played first base for five years here, it's not like they asked me to play center," Youkilis said.
Regarding having the speed-challenged Gonzalez play in Fenway Park's spacious right field, Valentine did not rule it out.
"Adrian is a very astute baseball player," Valentine said. "He positions himself as well as anyone I've seen in the outfield in the two games he's played there. He understands the hitters that we're playing against and he's moving more than normal, so if we pitch properly and the guy hits it where they're supposed to, I think that he'll be able to close a gap, but there's no way of covering all the ground because of a lack of foot speed."
Valentine did not embrace the idea of having Gonzalez play left field because of the added challenge of having a different view of the ball coming off the hitter's bat on the left side of the field, but wasn't ruling out having the All-Star first baseman seeing substantial playing time in right field while the outfield injury crisis continues.
"He played right field one winter ball season in Mexico," Valentine said, and then adding later, "We had a situation where Adrian, to try to allow the team to win, was volunteering to pitch, and the relationship I've had with Adrian from the first day of spring training has been one where he communicates his thoughts freely and he has thoughts every day on what could be the best thing and the best solution for our team and when this situation presented itself, it was eye contact was all that was needed and he came walking in and said 'if you're thinking about me in right field, go for it. I'll come out tomorrow and take fly balls.' You know he came out the next day and took some fly balls and you know, we're ready to go and that was just interleague play. When Cody [Ross] got hurt, he came in after the game and said the same thing."
Valentine indicated Middlebrooks would be on the Red Sox bench rather than be sent back to Triple-A Pawtucket.
"On occasion that probably will happen," Valentine said. "I don't know [if he'd go to Triple-A]. We'll see how the usage is being executed. I think we just have a situation where we have to play this by ear. This isn't something that was planned out over the winter or even was planned out last week or two weeks ago when Will first came up and Kevin first went on the disabled list. This is a work-in-progress. We'll adjust to it as the situation presents itself."
CBS Boston is reporting that David Ortiz was involved in a car accident on Boylston Street on his way to Fenway Park this afternoon.
According to the report, everyone involved in the accident, including Ortiz, is OK.
The Globe is working to get details on this story. Check Boston.com for details as they become available.
Red Sox slugger David Ortiz was involved in a minor car accident on his way to Fenway Park earlier today.
Someone rear ended Big Papi (David Ortiz) right in front of our hotel. What a character. yfrog.com/kfgx5twj— Brendan McCormack (@BMacinCle) May 11, 2012
WBZ first reported Ortiz's accident, which was on Boylston Street. No one was injured.
"I lost a little control coming out of the gas station and I hit a car, but I’m fine. Everybody is fine," Ortiz said.
Two witnesses at the scene told WBZ that it appeared Ortiz was speeding.
“What happened was he was speeding, tried to slam on his brakes and spun out of control, hit a car and then turned around," Tyler Bishop said.
“I think everybody is going to make mistakes,” said Kayley Bishop. “He went a little too fast and he’s not going to do it again."
Ortiz is today's lineup against the Cleveland Indians.
A Red Sox fan that wore a bag on his head during the early innings at Fenway Park during last night's Red Sox-Indians game created quite a stir on Twitter last night.
Jon O'Hara, who spoke about wearing the bag on his head on 98.5 The Sports Hub's Toucher and Rich show this morning, was seated in the second row just to the left of home plate during the early innings of last night's game.
"I don't recognize this Red Sox team so I don't want them to recognize me," O'Hara said during this morning's interview.
O'Hara had to leave the section, that was in full view of NESN cameras, after the second inning when the people that had the tickets for those seats showed up. He said he continued to wear the bag when he took his seats in the loge section.
While he was in the second row, O'Hara said one of the Fenway ushers approached him and said he may be asked to take the bag off, but no one had said anything yet.
Had to take bag off head at Fenway ... People behind couldn't see. The other 30 thousand people wish they couldn't— Jon O'Hara(@JonOcomedy) May 11, 2012
His disappearance after the early innings led to the creation of a hashtag -- #FreeTheBagGuy -- and the hashtag was trending in Boston by the fourth inning.
Here's another picture of the O'Hara giving the thumbs up while Shin-Soo Choo stepped into the batter's box.
Dennis "Oil Can" Boyd's book publicity tour is still having ramifications. Last week, he revealed in interviews that using cocaine was regular pregame fixture. But overlooked in the drug revelations was Boyd's comments on former teammate Wade Boggs, whom he called a racist who used racial epithets on a daily basis.
Boggs, who played with Boyd during Boyd's tenure in Boston from 1982 to 1989, vehemently objected to the accusation on WEEI's Dennis & Callahan's radio show.
"Absolutely, positively, 100 million percent, I am not a racist, I am not a bigot," Boggs said. "You have a delusional drug addict who let not only his family down, but his team, the city of Boston, Red Sox Nation when it counted most. Now he wants the good people of Boston to go out and spend money on this garbage to support his habit. I find that extremely amusing."
Boggs' wife also joined the radio program, defending her husband and Boggs' father, who Boyd said was the source of his racism.
"I have never heard either one of them use the word that starts with an ‘N’ in public or even in private," said Debbie Boggs. "They never used that word. We have relatives that are African-American in our immediate family. They are so hurt."
Boyd's book, "They Call Me Oil Can," will be released this summer.
According to a report by 98.5 The Sports Hub's Hardy, Red Sox righthander Josh Beckett played golf in the area last Thursday afternoon, two days before he was scheduled to miss a start against the Orioles because of stiffness in his latissimus muscle.
The Sports Hub's Michael Felger said the report had been confirmed when he opened the Felger and Mazz show today, but that Hardy did not reveal the name of the golf course to protect his sources. Clay Buchholz was reportedly golfing with Beckett on the off day for the Red Sox.
After Beckett's 126-pitch effort last Sunday in Chicago, the Red Sox announced that Beckett's next start would be skipped because the righthander admitted he had soreness in his lat muscle. He also admitted that the situation existed before his last start.
"I don't know that I'm aware of it," Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said of the golf report during his weekly appearance on WEEI's Big Show today. "I'm aware of the story being out there... No, I haven't gotten to Josh about that yet and I'm trying to sort out my feelings. Golf is as much a part of the pitching culture as a curve ball, I know that for sure.
Valentine stressed that Beckett wasn't shut down with an injury after his last start.
"When we decided for Josh not to make his start, it wasn't because he was injured," Valentine said. "It was a precautionary situation because his his lat was a little tight,"
Valentine said he needed to get specifics before he could comment on the situation.
"Again, I don't know the specifics of the situation," Valentine said. "I don't know if he was out at a charity match, just putting, or if he was whaling away and felt that might have loosened things up. I have no idea what the situation actually is, so it's hard for me to comment on it. ... If that was the case [that he played golf, drove the ball], I would say that was less than the best thing to do on that day off."
Beckett addressed the situation that had the Red Sox recommending he skip a start last week.
"It's kind of been there for about a week, kind of leading into my last start," Beckett said. "On your start day, you can always make yourself believe that things are better than they are. I really wanted to pitch. I just ended up making things worse."
Beckett is scheduled to make his next start Thursday against the Cleveland Indians at Fenway Park.
"He threw (Monday) and said he felt fine and was ready to go," Valentine said earlier this week in Kansas City, where the Sox are taking on the Royals.
The Globe will attempt to speak with Beckett and Valentine later this afternoon in Kansas City. Check our Extra Bases blog for updates.
Theo Epstein is taking his biannual benefit concert with him to Chicago.
The former Red Sox general manager and current Cubs team president will hold a concert benefiting Cubs charities and Epstein's Foundation To Be Named Later on June 14 at the Metro music venue in Chicago's Wrigleyville. The show will be headlined by The Smashing Pumpkins and will also feature The Figgs, Jenny Dee and the Deelinquents, and members of Buffalo Tom. Comedians Mike O'Malley, Jeff Garlin and Joel Murray will serve as the evening's emcees
Hot Stove Cool Music was founded in 2000 by former Boston Globe baseball writer Peter Gammons and former Boston Herald writer Jeff Horrigan. The event has raised more than $5 million for Epstein's foundation and the Jimmy Fund. Tickets are $50 and can be purchased on the venue's website. The concert is the night before the Cubs and Red Sox start a weekend series at Wrigley Field.
The last Hot Stove, Cool Music Boston event was held in January, and there are plans to continue to have a Boston show once a year.
“Anyone who wants to shag baseballs is welcome to go over the highway,” Jose Canseco said, a reference to the proximity of Interstate 290 to the outfield wall at the team's ballpark.
Team owner Todd Breighner said signing the 47-year-old Canseco, who played his final major league baseball game in 2001, was not a publicity stunt.
“Clearly this is not a gimmick,” Breighner said. “Jose is here to play baseball. We're very proud to have Jose here,” Breighner said. “The team is excited, the ownership group is excited, Jose is excited.”
Canseco, an admitted steroids user, played for the Red Sox in 1995 and 1996.
Information and photograph provided by the Worcester Telegram & Gazette (Chris Christo photo).
Former Red Sox pitcher Derek Lowe, who won the clinching games in the divisional series, league championship series, and World Series in 2004, is missing his championship ring.
The Fort Myers News-Press reports that the Lee County (Fla.) Sheriff's office is investigating the theft of Lowe's World Series ring, as well as a trophy, some necklaces, and women's shoes and purses from his home. The total value of the stolen goods is estimated at $90,000.
The 38-year-old Lowe is currently a pitcher for the Cleveland Indians. He lives in Fort Myers during the offseason.
The New York Post, the tabloid newspaper known for its sensational and humorous headlines, couldn't resist using the occasion of Fenway Park's 100th anniversary to take a potshot at the Red Sox.
"100 Years of Ass Kicking," screams the paper's front page this morning.
The Yankees have a 1,133-954 lead over the Red Sox in their all-time series, including Friday's 6-2 Yankees victory, according to the Red Sox media guide. However, in the last four years, the Red Sox have split or won the season series, including a 12-9 edge last year.
Terry Francona may attend Fenway Park’s big party after all.
ESPN reported that the former Red Sox manager told the network on Wednesday that he would accept the team’s invitation to attend the 100th anniversary celebration of Fenway Park on Friday. Francona is now an analyst for ESPN.
Last week, Francona told the Globe’s Dan Shaughnessy that his feelings were still too raw after parting ways with the Red Sox following eight seasons as manager following the 2011 season.
“I just feel like someone in the organization went out of their way to hurt me,” Francona said, in reference to an explosive Globe story that examined why the Red Sox blew a 9 1/2-game lead and missed out on the playoffs last September.
The Red Sox will host the Yankees on Friday on the 100-year anniversary of the first game played at Fenway Park. They have invited every living former Red Sox player back to Fenway Park to take part in the ceremonies.
Photo by Steve Silva / Globe Staff
The Popeyes fast-food restaurant near Fenway Park gave fans heading to the Red Sox' home opener a good chuckle with this sign today.
For those who have hibernated from Sept. 29 until, say, Thursday, the sign was a reference to Red Sox pitchers who spent their off-days eating fried chicken and drinking beer in the clubhouse rather than watching games from the dugout bench.
Are you a Red Sox fan with $100,000 or so kicking around and a penchant for masochism that somehow hasn't been fulfilled by the end of last season and the beginning of this one?
If so, have we ever got the item for you:
The infamous “Buckner Ball” from the 1986 World Series, Game Six, perhaps the most recognized baseball in the world, will the be the centerpiece of The Seth Swirsky Collection when it comes across the block as part of Heritage Auctions’ May 3-5 Vintage Sports Collectibles Signature Auction. The ball, being offered without a reserve, is expected to bring more than $100,000.
“This is indeed the ball that dribbled between Bill Buckner’s legs when Mookie Willson hit his ‘little roller’ up the line in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series, giving the Mets the win,” said Chris Ivy, Director of Vintage Sports Auctions at Heritage. “It represented the cumulative crushed hopes of generations of Red Sox fans for almost 20 years until the Sox finally shook the curse in 2004. It’s a crucial piece of baseball history and easily the most notorious baseball ever hit – or missed – depending on how you look at it.”
It should be noted that Swirsky purchased the ball from Charlie Sheen. Feel free to supply your own punch line.
Are you a Red Sox fan with $100,000 or so kicking around and a penchant for masochism that somehow hasn't been fulfilled by the end of last season and the beginning of this one?
If so, have we ever got the item for you:
The infamous “Buckner Ball” from the 1986 World Series, Game Six, perhaps the most recognized baseball in the world, will the be the centerpiece of The Seth Swirsky Collection when it comes across the block as part of Heritage Auctions’ May 3-5 Vintage Sports Collectibles Signature Auction. The ball, being offered without a reserve, is expected to bring more than $100,000.
“This is indeed the ball that dribbled between Bill Buckner’s legs when Mookie Willson hit his ‘little roller’ up the line in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series, giving the Mets the win,” said Chris Ivy, Director of Vintage Sports Auctions at Heritage. “It represented the cumulative crushed hopes of generations of Red Sox fans for almost 20 years until the Sox finally shook the curse in 2004. It’s a crucial piece of baseball history and easily the most notorious baseball ever hit – or missed – depending on how you look at it.”
It should be noted that Swirsky purchased the ball from Charlie Sheen. Feel free to supply your own punch line.
The commercialization of Red Sox nation took a turn toward the intimate last season with a new line of clothing from Victoria's Secret.
The line, trademarked as "Pink Loves Red Sox", features comfortable clothing for women as well as, ahem, underwear. Victoria's Secret debuted the line last summer, and model Chanel Iman and David Ortiz promoted the event at Cambridgeside Galleria.
There are some new items in the collection this season. You can see two examples of the clothing above. The Pink line should go well with the hats.
What do you think? Will you buy it? Leave a comment below.
Red Sox starter Josh Beckett is in Cleveland today getting his right thumb examined by Dr. Thomas Graham, a hand specialist, according to multiple reports.
Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports was the first to report the Beckett visit to see Dr. Graham at the Cleveland Clinic. According to Rosenthal:
The team wants Beckett to visit Graham for “peace of mind” and still expects him to pitch the second game of the season, sources say. But the visit will mark the second time in two days that Beckett has seen a hand specialist for a thumb problem.
Beckett was in San Antonio on Monday to be examined by Dr. Mark Bagg, another hand specialist.
“If he needed to talk to me, he was going to talk to me. He didn’t talk to me, so I think he was fine,’’ Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said Monday regarding Beckett.
Beckett threw a lengthy bullpen session on Sunday and did not miss any of his starts this spring. He allowed two earned runs on seven hits over 19 innings against major league competition.
“He threw 100 pitches yesterday and felt great, hit location,’’ Valentine said. “He’s had a little situation that he’s getting taken care of today just for peace of mind.
Red Sox reliever Andrew Bailey is also having his right thumb checked out by Dr. Graham in Cleveland today as well.
The Globe reported Monday that Red Sox team doctors in Boston determined Bailey will require surgery. If Graham agrees with the recommendation for surgery, it could happen as soon as today.
Graham also performed surgery on Kevin Youkilis and Jarrod Saltalamacchia in 2010. Youkilis had a torn muscle in his right thumb and Saltalamacchia a torn ligament in his left thumb.
Red Sox BeerGate has spread up from inside the clubhouse to a couple of steps down from the field of play.
Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, and John Lackey drank beer in the Red Sox dugout during games, two Sox employees told Channel 7 today. According to the report, no other Red Sox players participated in the in-game beer drinking, which started as early as the sixth inning. The employees told Ch. 7 that Beckett, Lackey, and Lester would fill plastic cups with Bud Light beer inside the clubhouse and return to the dugout to drink the beers and watch the game.
“Beckett would come down the stairs from the dugout, walking through the corridor to the clubhouse and say, ‘It’s about that time,'" a team employee told Ch. 7. "Beckett was the instigator, but Lester and Lackey were right behind him. It was blatant and hard not to notice what was going on with all three guys leaving at once.”
LeBron is in, Henry is out.
While LeBron James managed to rub it in the faces of both distraught Red Sox fans and distraught NBA fans by announcing that he would be attending the soccer match between Liverpool and Manchester United on Saturday, Sox owner John Henry has reportedly decided to cancel his plans to be in attendance at Anfield.
According to the Herald's Inside Track column, Henry and wife Linda Pizzuti canceled their planned trip to England to watch the LFC-Man U match in person.
“Too much going on here,” Henry wrote in an email to the Inside Track.
James, who owns a minority stake in Liverpool, had announced on Twitter that he would be attending the match between the Premier League arch rivals.
"Just got to Liverpool, England," James wrote. "Riding through the city. What a beautiful place. Home and birthplace of the One and Only 'BEATLES'"
Great. On the day David Stern threatens another deadline that could cancel the NBA season for the calendar year, the league's best player is psyched about attending a soccer game.
Meanwhile, back in PanicTown, NESN.com's Twitter feed is promoting James' attendance of the game as a good thing, quipping, "LeBron James takes his talents to Anfield."
Good for whom exactly?
Updated Oct. 14, 9:53 a.m.
Kevin Youkilis, a weekly guest on WAAF's Hill-Man show during the season, spoke on the radio program today about the disappointing end to the Red Sox season, shared his thoughts on reports that have surfaced recently about some players, and confirmed that he's having surgery to repair a sports hernia tomorrow.
"I'm still in shock," Youkilis said regarding the events that took place over the last five days. "I don't think it's really hit in a lot of ways, whether it's the bad September, Tito resigning, and it's been wild, and the one thing is is I think for a lot of us players, it won't hit us until we walk through those doors in Fort Myers and realize that Terry [Francona] is no longer with us and the crazy thing is is we're all going to be walking into a different environment anyway with the new spring training, so it's going to be a weird couple of months but I think hopefully this team will get the pieces together and be prepared for the 2012 season."
Youkilis was asked if had any awareness that Francona was feeling he was unable to get through to the team.
"Every year there's different players that come in, whether it be young guys or veterans, it's always different," Youkilis said. "I don't know. I think sometimes it was hard to tell. We started out 2-10, and then we had the most unbelievable months ever where we were just winning like it was the easiest game possible and then we had the month of September, so I think the biggest thing was is in all this is the fact that the thing that is upsetting is there's so much finger pointing at this person and that person and this and that but we're failing to realize that we're all at fault.
"Everyone needs to understand that every single person on that team. Everyone from the coaches to the general managers to the front office, whomever, we're all at fault. We always go with the philosophy that we win as a team and we lose as a team. And we all lost. To sit around and blame this person and that person and try to figure out the answers, it will take... you're just going to... too much blame will go around. We all need to be accountable and we all were at fault."
Youkilis was asked about a published report that singled him out as a potential problem in the clubhouse.
"Jackie MacMullan, I've always respected and every time she comes in the clubhouse, which this year was maybe three times, that one really irked me," Youkilis said. "It really irked me for two things. One, she comes around three times a year, so she really doesn't know what's going on in that clubhouse, and the funny thing was when I read this article, and it said that I brought up the Jacoby Ellsbury thing which, this thing is getting overplayed more than anything I've ever dealt with in my life and she came to me because she was writing a story on Jacoby. So she asked me what happened last year, what transpired, and then I read this article like I didn't even mention this...
"I have no issue with Jacoby. When this game was over and I went up to him, I said I just want to tell you that that was one of the most remarkable seasons I've ever seen a player and I just think that, I just want to tell you, I know it didn't end well but that was one of the most impressive seasons I've ever seen. The thing is it's played out like everyone keeps talking about that and everyone's misquoting, and that's the problem. My philosophy is this, and I will believe in this until my dying day: There should be implemented, which has always been implemented, when you're hurt, you either go to Fort Myers or you go with the team, and I'm not going to change my philosophy, and it's a matter of opinion, some people don't believe in it, some people do, it's opinion and it's not that big of a deal, and everything is really blown out of proportion and quite frankly, I was answering a question about this this year that I don't even know why. It didn't matter. And you sit there and you sit back at your locker like what is going on here? God, this is a never-ending story."
Youkilis was asked if there was an issue of calling guys out in the locker room this year.
"No, I don't think so," Youkilis said. "I think we're talking about, for three months this season, life was good. Life was real good. And going along with that Jackie MacMullan thing, she said I was a detriment because I was meddling in people's affairs. The thing that happened was, she was in the locker room, and I'm going to set this straight, something was happening because one of her colleagues keeps on writing stories that are inaccurate about players. And the thing I was frustrated about, and I keep getting frustrated about, is: Why are there more stories now written by sports reporters that don't talk about sports? They talk about people's personal lives, they talk about what's going on. And then, when they're not accurate on those stories, one, that's not fair to the person that they're writing about, but two, it's not fair to the public. It's not fair to the fans [to get] inaccurate stories. They don't need to be fed inaccurate stories and the problem is we have no accountability anymore. Things just get blasted on Twitter. Things get blasted out everywhere, and next thing you know, the story's out there, the athlete can't answer the question because, you know what, either way, you're better off not answering...
"And that's the problem a lot of guys have is they don't want to say too much, or they don't want to say what's on their mind because they're sometimes worried and that's the problem right now is, and the fact is when stories are inaccurate, we don't see, and it's been going on for years, it's like the blurb is down in the bottom corner of the newspaper. But I think that was one of the tough things. And that was the thing, I was frustrated because somebody was writing an inaccurate story about one of my teammates. And the problem is we all try to stick up for each other, and it's media vs. players, media vs. players, media vs. players. And it doesn't need to be that way."
Youkilis said he expects the finger pointing to be rampant during times like this.
"When things like this happen, in a town like this that is so passionate about their baseball, they want answers," Youkilis said. "And sometimes there is no answer for it. And we can sit around and make up as much stories as you want and say it was this, it was that, this person did this, and I know there's a story out there that a source on the team, and I hope all the players that want to say what they want to say about this year, say, 'Put my name on it.' Don't be a coward, don't be a guy that's going to be the source said. Put your name on it and say what you gotta say if you want to say it... if people are going to talk to reporters, be a man, put your name on it. Don't go to this media source to try to get this going."
Youkilis was asked about reports of Red Sox starters drinking beer in the clubhouse this season.
"You know that's something that's in-house, and I don't even want to talk about," Youkilis said. "That's in-house things that, if it happened, if it didn't happen. A lot of us position players, we're so busy playing that we don't what's going on. There's things that you have no idea what's going on. You're so busy playing that you don't know even half the stuff. That's the funny thing too is, I swear to you I'm always the last person to find out things, too."
The Red Sox third baseman wouldn't say whether or not there was a beer-filled cooler in the locker room.
"I mean, that's another thing too, that's... I don't know if that's been out there, that's in the media, what we have and what we don't have," Youkilis said. "I don't know if I'm allowed to say if there is or there isn't."
Youkilis was then asked if he cared if anyone who wasn't playing had a beer in the clubhouse.
"I don't think it's the right thing to do, personally," Youkilis said. "I don't think it's the proper way to go about things but I also don't think that's how you win or lose games. To say that's the reason why you're losing games, I don't think so, but yes, I don't think that's the right thing to do."
Youkilis also spoke about the Red Sox conditioning, which has come into question this season.
"The funny thing is is the greatest player of all time is Babe Ruth," Youkilis said of the larger-than-life baseball legend. "People are going to say whatever, and I'm speaking for myself. I don't have what you call the best body in the world. It's been well-stated and well-known. I think people are expecting baseball players to look like football players and I'm just going to tell you right now, that's not going to happen. Pitchers need to have a little more weight, and they're going to tell you that. If pitchers are skinny and ripped up, they're going to have a lot of physical issues. I've always loved that one: 'Oh, my God that pitcher looks out of shape,' I'm like, 'How are they out of shape?' What they're doing is they're going down hill every time and to have more weight that's going to give you more velocity a lot of times. Not to say that you should be 300 lbs., and six-foot tall, but I think that [Josh] Beckett's overplayed and guys are out of shape and this is what happened and I think that's kind of crazy because our strength coach [Dave Page] is really good, great guy, and he works his butt off and is very passionate about this team and being healthy."
Youkilis was asked about some of the complaints aired by Red Sox players at the end of the season and if he thinks some on the team feel they're entitled.
"Overall, and talking to guys around the league, the younger generation is a lot more entitled," Youkilis said. "And I think that's something that's going to go on for years...
"Sometimes it's tough and you're not feeling good that day, you got in at 4 a.m., you’re just not feeling it that day. It’s tough but you gotta go out and play and I know everyone’s blowing this up about Adrian [Gonzalez], I think he’s just giving you an example about how a season with all the crazy games on Fox or ESPN, it can have an effect on players but on the other end, you got to think as a player, too, and a lot of this stuff is why we get paid a lot more in Boston and New York and all these other places but New York had to go through the schedule we had to and we can’t use excuses why we win and lose.”
Youkilis also confirmed that he is scheduled to have surgery to repair a sports hernia tomorrow.
“I’m having surgery tomorrow,” Youkilis said. “The best thing is is the doctor said in four weeks you should be 100 percent and ready to do stuff and then hold off on lifting a little bit longer but he told me I could be riding a stationary bike in a week, so I’m pretty pumped about that.”
Red Sox manager Terry Francona might be looking for a new job as early as today according to a report by Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports.
Rosenthal writes that according to major league sources Francona will meet with Sox management this morning, and "the expected resolution is" that Francona will no longer be employed as the manager of the Boston Red Sox.
While Francona's departure is not certain, it is the likely outcome, in part because he is pressing for a resolution, sources say. He would not be fired; the Red Sox would simply decline their club options on him for 2012 and '13.
The New York Daily News is now reporting that the Red Sox and Francona have parted ways and it was Red Sox principal owner John Henry's decision:
The Daily News has been told by sources that Francona is out as Red Sox manager in a meeting this morning with team owner John Henry. The sources said that the decision to end the Sox' relationship with Francona was Henry's call, not general manager Theo Epstein's...
In addition, the Chicago Sun Times is reporting that Francona wants out of Boston, and that the White Sox could be a logical landing spot now that Ozzie Guillen has departed.
“He [Francona] has had his fill of the whole thing," a source told the Sun-Times.
Francona was asked during yesterday's press conference at Fenway Park whether he wanted to stay with the Red Sox.
“Theo and I talked today a little bit. I think we’ll continue to talk tomorrow," Francona said. "Maybe it’s best today to stay with where we’re at. I’s still pretty fresh and pretty raw. It’s a fair question."
Former ESPN sports guy and Friend-of-Tito Keith Olberman also writes that he's heard Francona is heading out of Boston:
As a peck of mainstream baseball guys report that Terry Francona will probably not return as manager of the Boston Red Sox – possibly by mutual consent – I can tell you that early in the week I was told by one source that it was a foregone conclusion. There was only the one indicator, so obviously I didn’t say anything, but I will note that all of the murmurs about people not being on the same page, and the Sox thinking Francona’s light touch with his players had somehow contributed to the September collapse, did not come out of thin air. I got to visit with my friend Tito over the weekend here in New York and while it was two friends talking and should remain that way, I have to say that all the stuff you’ve heard, he’d heard.
Speculation has already begun on who might replace Francona in the Red Sox dugout.
ESPN's Buster Olney tweeted this morning: "A guy who would be a good fit if the Red Sox and Francona part ways: Pete Mackanin, who is currently Charlie Manuel's bench coach."
And there's more chatter about Red Sox GM Theo Epstein.
The Sun-Times is reporting via Gordon Wittenmyer that the Chicago Cubs will be making a run at Epstein:
A day later in Chicago, the question became the same one uttered by a player amid the din that night: ‘‘You think [Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein] would leave to come here?’’
If the answer is yes — and one report Thursday suggested he has told friends he would ‘‘embrace the challenge’’ — the next sound could be the cheering coming from the Cubs’ boardroom.
Epstein yesterday said "nobody blames Tito [Francona] for what happened in September -- that would be totally irresponsible and totally short-sighted."
It's the rubber game of the series, with Lester (14-6, 3.09 ERA) up against Burnett (9-11, 5.31 ERA). While you're watching the game, trade your opinions and insights with other Sox fans in this moderated chat.
As the July 31 non-waiver trading deadline approaches in baseball, we take a look at some of the reports surrounding the Red Sox:
Last updated: 7/30, 10:39 a.m.
Red Sox keeping tabs on Mariners' Bedard
The Globe's Peter Abraham wrote on Friday that Red Sox front office personnel will be keeping a close eye on Mariners lefthanded starter Erik Bedard, who took the mound Friday for the first time since coming off the disabled list. While he was seen as a good option to hedge against the possibility Clay Buchholz's back injury might keep him out longer than originally anticipated, Bedard was awful Friday, lasting less than two innings, allowing five runs on three hits and four walks. Abraham says other starting pitchers who are possible Red Sox targets include Dodgers righty Hiroki Kuroda, Jeremy Guthrie of the Orioes, Rich Harden of the Athletics and Rockies ace Ubaldo Jimenez.
Last updated: 7/29, 10:59 a.m.
White Sox put Thornton on market
The Globe's Nick Cafardo reports the White Sox want to ship the lefthanded reliever, and are hoping to interest the Red Sox because the White Sox have been keeping close tabs on the Red Sox farm system. Thornton has two years left on his contract at $5.5 million per.
Last updated: 7/27, 2:19 p.m.
Slowey could be an option for Sox rotation
LaVelle Neal of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports that the Red Sox, Dodgers, Cardinals, and Blue Jays were scouting Kevin Slowey in July. The righthander has appeared in only six games this season because of an abdominal injury.
Last updated: 7/27, 2:05 p.m.
Red Sox looking at Spilborghs for help
According to CSNNE's Sean McAdam, the Red Sox have an interest in 31-year-old righthanded-hitting outfielder Ryan Spilborghs of the Rockies as a low-cost bench upgrade.
Last updated: 7/25, 2:05 p.m.
Ludwick could provide outfield help
One name that has surfaced in the search for righthanded hitting outfield help is Padres outfielder Ryan Ludwick. The former Cardinal is batting .242 with 11 home runs and 61 RBIs on the season.
Last updated: 7/25, 1:55 p.m.
Choate could fill relief need for Sox
SI.com's Jon Heyman reports that Marlins reliever Randy Choate could be on the Red Sox radar as a lefthanded relief specialist. Choate is 1-1 with a 1.31 ERA in 20.2 innings of work this season.
Last updated: 07/25, 1:47 p.m.
Breslow could have right stuff for lefty
Left-handed reliever Craig Breslow could be a potential Red Sox target to give them some lefthanded bullpen relief. The former Red Sox reliever is 0-2 with a 3.28 ERA in 35.2 innings.
Last updated: 07/25, 1:07 p.m.
Willingham could fill need
According to reports, Oakland's Josh Willingham could be one of the righthanded hitting outfielders on the Red Sox radar to fill a part-time role in Boston. Willingham is batting .241 with 13 home runs and 50 RBIs.
Last updated: 07/25, 12:37 p.m.
Sox look into Harden
According to Peter Gammons, the Red Sox have inquired about making a deal for Oakland starter Rich Harden, who missed most of the first half of the season with a strained lat muscle. Harden is 2-1 with a 4.63 ERA.
Last updated: 07/25, 12:37 p.m.
Kuroda could provide relief to rotation
Last updated: 07/25, 12:25 p.m.
Clippard on the Sox radar
According the Globe's Nick Cafardo, Nationals setup man Tyler Clippard has shown interest from the Red Sox in addition to the Braves, Yankees, and the Rangers, who have made "a lot of inquiries" into the righthander. The Nationals All-Star has a 1.73 ERA and 72 strikeouts in 57.1 innings.
Last updated: 07/25, 11:30 a.m.
Jimenez would bolster Sox rotation
Rockies GM Dan O'Dowd has stated that Jimenez may be available at a cost. O'Dowd told the Denver Post that it would take a "Herschel Walker-type deal" to move the Rockies' ace. Jimenez is 6-9 with a 4.20 ERA in 2011.
Last updated: 7/25, 10:44 a.m.
Report: Red Sox have discussed Francoeur
According to Fox Sports' Jon Morosi, the Red Sox have discussed acquiring outfielder Jeff Francoeur from the Royals. "One person who was briefed described the talks as "exploratory." Francoeur is batting .269 with 13 homers and 60 RBIs. The righthanded hitting outfielder is batting .309 vs. lefthanded pitching.
Longtime Braves pitcher John Smoltz, who had a cup of coffee with the Red Sox in 2009, had a few minutes to talk baseball with Boston.com today. He made his midseason awards predictions and declared no team is as balanced as the Red Sox.
You can hear Smoltz and Matt Vasgersian on the call for Thursday's Rays-Yankees game on MLB Network at 7 p.m.
Boston.com: We're a little past the halfway point now, but no team is running away with its division. What race is the most intriguing to you?
John Smoltz: The most intriguing would certainly be what's happening in the NL Central, but when it comes down to Boston and New York every year that's always what most people want to see or like to see and the animosity that exists between the two of them. It certainly looks like it's going to go down to the wire. Both teams have jockeyed, both teams have had injuries -- significant injuries -- both teams have stayed right where they're at for the most part. It's going to be a battle.
B: As you mentioned, is there any bigger surprise team in baseball than the first-place Pirates right now?
S: No. They've won the last two games with just dominant pitching. Their closer [Joel] Hanrahan is having an unbelievable year. Kudos to what's going on there because this time of year they are about ready to ship players other places, now they may actually be in the market looking for players.
B: All right, awards time. Who are your AL/NL Cy Youngs and MVPs?
S: That AL Cy Young is going to go absolutely down to the last start because you've got three horses right now in the race: CC [Sabathia], [Jered] Weaver and [Justin] Verlander. I never got caught up in one start, so that's why I'm still going to give Verlander the edge, but if CC continues at the rate he's continuing he's going to win it. Verlander had one bad start in his last nine or 10 games.
As far as MVP, at this current rate [Adrian] Gonzalez.
For National League Cy Young, it's going to be interesting to see how the team of -- whatever team, the Braves or Phillies, that wins the division is going to have the Cy Young.
As far as MVP, that one's more wide open. [Jose] Reyes has got a chance on a team that may not going anywhere. He might get traded; he might end up being the losers MVP because he gets traded. You got Prince Fielder in the last year of his contract, maybe trying to put his team on his back to win the MVP. I think the National League is wide open; there isn't an obvious choice.
B: The Red Sox have a small lead over the Yankees, but with the trade deadline looming many expect those two to make some upgrades. What is a bigger need for the Red Sox: pitching or a right fielder?
S: Well, you know what's interesting is I never would have said pitching, but they seem to find ways to sustain injuries every year and can overcome some of them, but not when you get a rash like they've got, a 1-2-3-4-5 situation. Every starter has been hurt.
B: [Josh] Beckett has been fairly healthy.
S: Yeah, but he missed a start or two and tweaked his knee. You're right, he hasn't gone on the DL. As far as needs, I think they are the most balanced team. If they all of a sudden made a rule that nobody could trade, Boston would be in the best position. There's no team without a weakness, but I think it's kind of hard to even imagine that Boston could upgrade, depending on what they'd be willing to give up, in a scenario that if they get healthy they're as good as anyone.
B: You spent a little time in a Red Sox uniform at the very end of your career. When you were on the mound in Fenway, how would you compare it to the experience in Atlanta?
S: Well there's really no comparison. Fenway is unique in itself, the whole idea of pitching in Fenway is unlike any other ballpark, period. The atmosphere, as well as the tradition of the guys that played there and the fans, games being sold out all the time, there really isn't a comparison I can make with Atlanta that I can make. Atlanta is a bigger ballpark, nicer, bigger room for the pitcher to give up mistakes, certainly not sold out all the time. Two totally different kind of venues.
Catching three balls at last night's Home Run Derby wasn't enough for Keith Carmickle, who risked his life chasing a ball hit by Prince Fielder at Phoenix's Chase Field. He toppled over a railing, but other fans held him up by his feet and right arm some 20 feet above concrete surrounding a pool in right-center field.
This incident occurred the same day as a memorial services for Shannon Stone, the firefighter who died of injuries suffered in a fall from the stands at a Rangers game last Thursday.
Carmickle's brother, Kraig, and his friend Aaron Nelson caught him.
"I stepped up on the table, I missed the ball by 2 or 3 feet and went over," Keith Carmickle said. "We caught three balls and I told the guys I was going to go for the cycle. Dude, they were really holding onto me."
American baseball fans voted the Yankees as their favorite team in baseball for the ninth consecutive year, edging the Red Sox (2d) for the third year in a row, according to The Harris Poll.
The Red Sox were tied with the Yankees in the poll for what team will win the World Series, while the Phillies finished in third.
Other notes from the results:
- Thirty-six percent of Americans say they follow Major League Baseball. Forty-one percent followed in 2009.
- The Yankees, Red Sox and Braves have finished as baseball's favorite teams in the same order for three straight seasons.
- Besides the Yankees, Red Sox and Phillies, no team received more than five percent of the vote for the expected World Series winner vote.
- The Padres and Blue Jays were voted as America's least favorite teams, however, no Canadien residents were surveyed.
The Harris Poll surveyed 2,163 adults online between June 13 and 20 by Harris Interactive.
It’s been said ad nauseum, but it needs to be said again: Interleague play needs to go the way of Old Yeller. It just so happens that the Red Sox proved that last night against the Philadelphia Phillies.
How so, you ask? Because part-time players David Ortiz and John Lackey showed they can play full-time. Let me explain.
Of all people, Big Papi is having another one of his stellar seasons. Despite the doubts of his place in Red Sox kingdom, he keeps on trucking, batting .311 (.391 OBP and .581 SLG) with 17 homers and 48 RBIs. Nobody is questioning whether or not the man should get at-bats. They just want to know at what cost, especially with injuries and interleague play forcing an awkward scenario into Terry Francona’s hand. On one side, to have a player of Ortiz’s talent on the bench is a waste. But on the other, experimenting with players out of position can be dangerous. Not because of injuries, but because of errors that can be costly to the game. The brouhaha yesterday over inserting Ortiz at first base -- in which he played only four times in 2010 and 17 times in the last 5 years -- while moving Adrian Gonzalez to right field inevitably starts the chatterboxes.
But that same chatter drowns out the larger issue at hand. When guys like Ortiz and Gonzalez show up and perform their jobs at par no matter where they stand on the diamond, nobody thinks “of course, they’re professional athletes.” Instead, they breathe a sigh of relief and clamor for Theo Epstein to find another suitable outfielder for 15 days. And while Ortiz played flawlessly at first base, Lackey doubled in a run to left center off of Vance Worley (later working the count admirably on his counterpart). Between the three, you could say they played more than ably in the field and at the plate.
You know why? Because they’re baseball players. And despite the label of a P, DH or 1B, they all know this game more than the average schmuck and can honorably man any number of positions outside of stepping on the mound. It’s a stance I’ve argued for years and what I believe is the fallacy of the American League. The players need to play both phases of the game, for sanity’s sake as much as integrating the leagues.
History bears a large part of the blame. The competition of the NL and the AL (and its former incarnations) predate the last two centuries. From the beginning, the differences in price, rules and level of competition have fueled this ever idiotic debate of the National League vs. the American League. And that was the selling point for the first Major League Baseball agreement that would feature a “World Series” to determine a champion. When the DH came along in the 70s, it revolutionized the game in favor of the AL. It’s an advantage that has tipped the scales in the debate, allowing for AL teams to post higher batting averages every year since 1973. (Between 1973 and 2010, the NL has batted an average of .258 and the AL has batted an average of .265). I don’t think it’s far-fetched to say the argument of which league is better has ever ended. But we all really know the answer.
However, now we must worry if the luster of the DH has worn off and, presumably, the core difference between the two leagues. I think so. The whole notion of two separate leagues with two separate sets of rules is practically archaic in modern sport. Baseball fans don’t want nor need that. They want the best competition possible and a level playing field. In essence, they want conferences and uniform rule play. Think of the NBA, NFL or NHL. A reversion to the rules prior to 1973 would help balance the argument. And I believe Ortiz as well as Lackey exemplified last night what it means to play full-time, earning their stripes in both phases of play.
But what’s more, there is a strong sentiment that baseball is an east coast sport, as if there aren’t 12 teams west of the Mississippi River. As the invention of the commercial airplane allowed the advent of baseball west, the ease of travel should also bury the notion of a regional game in which clusters of teams are forced to play each other 11 to 20 times a year and a measly three or four interleague series. Where’s the balance in that? There’s something admirable about taking a west coast swing. San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Colorado are all worthy opponents and nice trips to boot.
Baseball doesn’t need interleague play. It needs league play and conferences to sustain its historical differences. Teams should play their interleague counterparts more frequently -- not less. Just as designated hitters should play the field more and pitchers should take more cuts in the box. (If you’re man enough to throw a 90 mph fastball high and inside, you should be man enough to see one coming at you.)
So instead of Red Sox fans concerning themselves over a possible rusty first baseman, they should be concerned about their slugger’s 0 for 4 outing, Lackey’s pitching and getting a chance to see how Cole Hamels, Tim Lincecum and other young studs of the NL fare against their beloved Sox. There’s no reason to keep the status quo for the sake of the status quo. It didn’t make sense in 1973 and it doesn’t make sense now.
"We expect to win," Buckner said before the game. "I like what I've seen so far. I think we have a good defense, the pitching's been pretty solid so far, so that's good, it means we're going to be in all the games. We've got some guys that can play."
Rox catcher Chris Grossman hit a solo home run in the second inning and first baseman Melvin Falu went 3-for-4 with two RBIs to lead the Brockton offense. Righthanded starter Mike Smith picked up the win for the Rox, throwing five innings of one run ball.
Former Red Sox relief pitcher Bob Stanley threw out the first pitch.
"Not good," manager Terry Francona told the Globe's Peter Abraham.
The Red Sox wore plain white uniforms and caps for most of the 1910s and 1920s, according to the team, and didn't add words to the front until the 1930s. The Cubs, on the other hand, changed their uniforms almost every year in the 1910s.
The uniforms will be signed by the players and auctioned. Proceeds will go to the Red Sox Foundation charity.
Former Red Sox and current Atlanta Braves pitcher Derek Lowe was arrested last night for driving under the influence, Georgia State Police told the Atlanta Journal Constiution.
Lowe was pulled over around 10 p.m. last night. A trooper "detected a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage" on Lowe's breath. The 37-year-old pitcher took a field sobriety test but refused a state-administered alcohol test. He was taken to jail and was also charged with reckless driving and failure to maintain lane.
Lowe pitched for the Red Sox from 1997 to 2004. He won 21 games for the Red Sox in 2002 and was a playoff hero in 2004, winning the clinching games against the Angels, Yankees, and Cardinals as the Sox won their first World Series title since 1918. Lowe left as a free agent following the 2004 season, with off-the-field issues factoring into Boston's decision not to bring him back.
But can he hit lefthanded pitching?
Miami Heat star LeBron James is teaming up with Red Sox owners John Henry and Tom Werner in a deal that brings the basketball superstar together with the parent company for the local baseball team.
The Celtics' nemesis' deal with the Sox owners gives James a minority stake in Liverpool Football Club (LFC), which Fenway Sports Group (FSG) -- led by Henry and Werner -- purchased in October. The Fenway group will partner with James's sports marketing firm, LRMR Branding & Marketing to become the exclusive representative for James.
“I am thrilled to be working with John Henry and Tom Werner,” James said in a statement. "These guys, like me, have a passion for sports. You can see the drive and commitment they have for their teams. For me, this is about being in business with an organization that loves sports as much as I do.”
As part of the deal, James obtained a piece of LFC, one of the world's most famed soccer teams and a longtime marquee franchise in the English Premier League now owned by FSG.
The 26-year-old James will work with FSG via Fenway Sports Management (FSM), the sports marketing arm of FSG established in 2004. FSM has Boston College sports, the Deutsche Bank PGA golf championship, Roush Fenway racing, Liverpool FC, and Professional Bull Riders among its client base.
"I can't even explain the level of excitement that we have right now," James' manager and LRMR CEO Maverick Carter told the Associated Press. "As far as my business career goes, it's one of the most exciting times. And the opportunity for growth for us is huge. The guys at FSM understand it too and they probably see it even more than we do."
The deal came together quickly, but Carter and James have been familiar with Henry and Werner for some time. Their relationship was born, in part, through mutual acquaintances with Berkshire Hathaway — billionaire Warren Buffett's company.
And that relationship between James and the Red Sox owners presents a bit of irony — after all, James is a devout Yankees fan.
"It's strictly business. ... It's very humbling," James said.
"That's the great thing about sports: It brings people together," Carter said. "And this is about business."
Werner believes this will be a powerful collaboration between FSG and LRMR and LeBron.
"There are very few athletes who can match his global reach, appeal and iconic status,” Werner said. “We are very excited that LeBron will be part of the Liverpool FC family. LeBron and Liverpool each has a powerful presence internationally, with particular strength in Asia, but we feel the business opportunities for both working and being identified together in emerging international markets will result in unforeseen opportunities that neither would have been able to realize alone."
Red Sox chief operating officer and FSM president Sam Kennedy said Wednesday that the group is not looking to get into representing individual athletes, but the chance to work with a blue-chip brand such as James was too good to pass up.
"What FSM does for Roush Fenway, Liverpool, and the Red Sox, we will now do for LeBron James," Kennedy said. "We will aggressively pursue business opportunities for him."
James has pursued marketing opportunities across the globe before, especially in Asia and Europe — obviously, two key markets for Liverpool as well.
James stressed that the relationship is a partnership, one brand helping another, and that LRMR's operations aren't being essentially taken over by FSM.
"We're not interested in talent or athlete representation but we think he is one of the most remarkable athletes of his time," Werner said to the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday. "We believe we can open doors for LeBron and LeBron can open doors for us."
James said he was "humbled" by the deal.
"The first time I stepped on an NBA court I became a businessman," James told the Journal. "This is a great opportunity for me."
"There are very few athletes who can match his global reach, appeal and iconic status," Werner said. "We are very excited that LeBron will be part of the Liverpool FC family. LeBron and Liverpool each has a powerful presence internationally."
“LeBron shares our love of all sports and we are very excited to make him part of the Liverpool family," said Ian Ayre, Managing Director of Liverpool FC. "We look forward to working with LeBron, LRMR and FSM, and exploring the business opportunities this new relationship could bring forth both here in the U.K. and abroad."
“Liverpool is one of the most important clubs in all of sports, and I am excited to be affiliated with this incredible organization,” James said.
The news of James' ownership stake in LFC has lit up the football club's online discussion forum.
"Can he play left back?" was one question that was posted.
"It may have an impact in Asia, where Lebron is a God," wrote another veteran forum member. "What people don't realise though is that while he is one of the most hated athletes around, he's also one of the most popular. For every guy who hates him there is one who idolises him."
Kennedy said the partnership represented a new way of thinking about the sports marketing business.
"[This partnership] enables us to apply our team and brand marketing experience to elevate LRMR and LeBron to new heights,” Kennedy said. “We’re thrilled to play a lead role in developing their global sports marketing strategy and we’re excited to engage the corporate community and explore how we can build their brands in the domestic and international marketplace by aligning them with one of the brightest stars in professional sports.”
"Eighteen championships," James said to the Journal regarding Liverpool's success. "I see myself trying to do the same things they have."
Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.
Michael Felger and Tony Massarotti have built a strong following and strong ratings in their 18 months as 98.5 The Sports Hub's afternoon drive tandem.
Today, they have one more acknowledgment of their success, agreeing to a three-year contract extension to remain with The Sports Hub.
“In the last 18 months, Mike and Tony have built a very compelling show that speaks to an enormously devoted and passionate listener-following,” said Mark Hannon, CBS Radio's senior vice president and market manager. “We are thrilled they will be part of 98.5 The Sports Hub for years to come.”
Said Felger: "This job is a blast. I don't know what I'd do without it. I think this station has been good for Boston. We needed another voice, another perspective. I consider myself lucky to be included among the group that helps provide it."
Not long after its debut in August 2009, the Sports Hub emerged as a legitimate competitor to WEEI (850), which long had a sports-radio monopoly in the market.
Felger and Massarotti have been at the forefront of the Sports Hub's ascent, challenging WEEI's long-established and recently revamped "The Big Show" in the 2-6 p.m. window and frequently winning the battle between the stations in the Arbitron ratings in the crucial men 25-54 demo.
In a tweet last night entitled "the warlock's carry-on," actor and train-wreck Charlie Sheen linked to a photo that displays his Mets-Red Sox 1986 World Series pin (pictured above) that he presumably plans to take with him, along with a baseball glove, on an upcoming flight.
Sheen, a longtime Cincinnati Reds fan who spent his formative years in Dayton, Ohio, has always showed a passion for baseball and has starred in two popular movies on America's pastime.
In the Chicago White Sox period piece "Eight Men Out," Sheen played real-life major leaguer "Hap" Felsch. In David S. Ward‘s 1989 Cleveland Indians classic "Major League," Sheen played the memorable role of Ricky "Wild Thing" Vaughn (right), a foul-mouthed flamethrower who spent some time in the California Penal League.
Cincinnati.com has details on Sheen's "epic" parties with the Reds that took place back in 1990 and 1992.
Sheen purchased the "Bill Buckner baseball" at a 1992 auction for $93,000. For those who may have forgotten, that's the ball that went through Buckner's legs during Game 6 of the 1986 World Series, allowing the New York Mets to go on to win the Series in seven games.
Sheen sold most of his baseball collection in April of 2000, and the Buckner Ball is currently in the collection of songwriter Seth Swirsky, who refers to it as the "Mookie Ball," after the Mets' Mookie Wilson, who hit the grounder that rolled through Buckner's legs during the infamous Game 6 play.
As an interesting aside, Swirsky has what he claims to be a note from '86 Red Sox manager John McNamara regarding the Buckner Ball. The text of that note follows:
I hate to remember the '86 W.S. -- it still is bitter. Bill Buckner is not to blame for that loss as we had chances to score more & didn't capitalize; The wild pitch or passed ball that tied the game was the "major" factor in that inning. The ground ball just ended the game.
Boston Dirt Dogs also posted a satire piece recently that has Sheen purchasing the Red Sox from current owner John Henry.
Sheen, who made a surprise appearance on ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live last night, will also be making a stop at Boston University's Agganis Arena on April 12 in a live show entitled "My Violent Torpedo of Truth," as part of a US and Canada tour.
The A's released the following statement on the matter:
Coco Crisp was arrested and detained early this morning under the suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol. He was released from the City of Scottsdale Jail this morning and arrived at Phoenix Municipal Stadium on time for team pre-game drills. The A's are aware of the situation and take such matters seriously. The team and Coco will have no further comment until further details are available.
Crisp, a former Red Sox center fielder, was pulled over by Scottsdale police while driving his 2009 Rolls Royce Phantom, according to TMZ, who also has the mug shot following Crisp's arrest. According to TMZ, police said Crisp was stopped after officers noticed him "failing to stay in one lane of traffic."
The 31-year-old Crisp, who agreed to and performed field sobriety tests at the scene, was released from jail and arrived at Phoenix Municipal Stadium in time to take part in pregame drills before the Athletics' Cactus League game against the Cleveland Indians. He was in the A's clubhouse before the game but did not speak with reporters, nor did he play in today's game.
Crisp is in his second season with the A's and is expected to play center field and be the team's leadoff hitter. Crisp signed with Oakland as a free agent in December 2009. He hit .279 with eight home runs and 38 RBIs in 2010 but played in just 75 games because of a fractured pinkie and strained rib cage muscle.
After Johnny Damon signed with the Yankees, the Red Sox traded with the Cleveland Indians to acquire Crisp in Jan. 2006. The deal sent the center fielder along with catcher Josh Bard and reliever David Riske to Boston in exchange for third base prospect Andy Marte, reliever Guillermo Mota, catcher Kelly Shoppach, a player to be named later, and cash.
In 2006, Crisp broke his left index finger attempting to steal third base and spent the next 42 games on the disabled list. Crisp played in 145 games for the Red Sox in 2007, batting .268 and scoring 85 runs. While Crisp was the team's starting center fielder throughout the 2007 season, he was benched mid-series during the ALCS for rookie outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury. Crisp remained benched for the 2007 World Series, only appearing late in games for defensive substitutions. In Nov. 2008, Crisp was traded to the Kansas City Royals for relief pitcher Ramon Ramirez.
Crisp is the third major league player to be charged with DUI during spring training.
The Tigers' Miguel Cabrera was arrested last month in Florida on DUI charges, and the Indians' Austin Kearns is facing a similar charge after being pulled over in Kentucky and arrested on Feb. 12.
In other Coco news, Crisp was in Los Angeles a couple of weeks ago taking a little batting practice with ubiquitous newsmaker and baseball fan Charlie Sheen.
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Liverpool Football Club superfan Linda Pizzuti spoke on Saturday about her experiences watching soccer matches unfold at LFC's home stadium at Anfield and the similarities between Red Sox fans and LFC fans.
"It is a lot of fun," Pizzuti said in a brief Q&A from the Red Sox player development complex. "The Red Sox fans and Liverpool fans have a lot in common in that they're both really well informed. They know what's going on. They know who the players are, and what their skills are, where they should be playing as opposed to where they're playing sometimes, and they both bring an incredible amount of fun and atmosphere to Anfield and to Fenway."
During her first days at the Kop, the wife of Reds and Red Sox principal owner John Henry became the not-so-secret weapon for LFC. After she witnessed two consecutive Reds wins at Anfield, she was dubbed 'Lucky Linda' by the fanatical Reds fans.
LFC has moved up to sixth place in the Barclays Premier League and hasn't lost a match since Jan. 12 at Blackpool. The high-priced arrivals of Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll after the departure of superstar Fernando Torres to Chelsea has added some spark along with popular manager Kenny Dalglish, who replaced the embattled Roy Hodgson in January.
In the video above, The Globe's Stan Grossfeld talks to Bostonians about the Sox... and slush.
Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal is reporting that the Red Sox made multiple offers for Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista at last month's baseball winter meetings.
Rosenthal says the offers came after Jayson Werth signed with the Nationals but before the Red Sox closed their deal with Carl Crawford.
According to the report, the Blue Jays were not enthusiastic about trading Bautista, who led the majors with 54 homers last year and has one year of arbitration left before he becomes a free agent.
Last updated: 12/13, 12:57 p.m.
Rangers, Yankees still waiting on Lee
Multiple reporters have suggested that free agent lefthander Cliff Lee will make a decision between the Rangers and Yankees this week. The Rangers presented contract proposals to Lee on Thursday night in Little Rock, Ark. hoping to resurrect their chances of re-signing the top free-agent pitcher on the market. Shortly after the news broke that Carl Crawford would be joining the Red Sox, the Yankees reportedly guaranteed a seventh year in a new offer to Lee. That's up from a six-year proposal worth nearly $140 million.
Last updated: 12/13, 1:55 p.m.
Yankees aggressively pursuing Russell Martin
ESPN's Buster Olney tweeted that the Yankees are aggressively pursuing free agent catcher Russell Martin. Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News tweets that the Red Sox appear to be the top choce of free agent catch Russell Martin, who has offers from the Yankees and Blue Jays in addition to Boston. Martin started only 89 games last season because of a hip injury.
Last updated: 12/09, 3:34 p.m.
Sox may be favorites to get Downs
Other teams believe the Red Sox will sign lefty reliever Scott Downs, according to Ed Price of AOL Fanhouse. The Sox might be willing to give up a draft pick in order to acquire Downs, a source tells WEEI's Alex Speier. Downs is a Type A reliever, meaning the Blue Jays would be owed a Sox draft pick if the Sox were to sign him. The 34-year-old Downs may be the top left-handed specialist on the market. He posted a 2.64 ERA and had 7 strikouts per 9 innings last season.
Last updated: 12/09, 3:44 p.m.
Teams asking about Cameron
Since signing Carl Crawford, the Red Sox have already received several inquiries regarding the availability of outfielder Mike Cameron, according to ESPN's Jayson Stark on Twitter. Stark tweets that the Sox are telling teams they plan to keep Cameron but will listen [to offers].
Last updated: 12/07, 3:51 p.m.
Epstein targeting Fuentes
Red Sox GM Theo Epstein said Monday that he plans to acquire at least two relievers via trade or free agency. The Red Sox were expected to meet with left-hander Brian Fuentes on Tuesday. Fuentes, who had 48 saves for the Angels in 2009 and a combined 24 saves for the Angels and Twins last season, may have to settle for a setup role if he is unable to land a job as a closer. Ron Mahay and Koji Uehara are also possible targets to bolster the bullpen.
Last updated: 12/07, 2:15 p.m.
Ordonez heads list of righthanded bats
This from the Globe's Nick Cafardo: The next order of business for the Red Sox might be to find a righthanded bat to play leftfield. While veteran Mike Cameron is aboard, the Sox may try to add another. After all they were after Jayson Werth for a spell and hoped to add someone of that quality along with Adrian Gonzalez. One interesting name to ponder is Magglio Ordonez, a free-agent coming off an injury who the Red Sox nearly traded Nomar Garciaparra for. Ordonez is still a very good hitter though it appears the Detroit Tigers may soon make a run to keep him. The White Sox' Carlos Quentin is another name, though the price may be steep. Jermaine Dye, who sat out last year but is planning to return, is also a possibility and someone who is familiar with Terry Francona.
Last updated: 12/07, 12:33 p.m.
Upton likely to stay in Arizona
Arizona GM Kevin Towers just took Justin Upton off the market. So you can forget the idea of the Red Sox trading for him. "It's highly unlikely Justin Upton leaves the desert," Towers told the Globe's Peter Abraham. At this point, the Sox are unlikely to have enough prospects to complete the deal anyways, unless they want to deal away Ryan Kalish, Jose Iglesias, Drake Britton, Felix Doubront or Stolmy Pimentel.
Last updated: 12/07, 11:04 a.m.
Options drying up for Beltre
Theo Epstein said he hoped he'd have an Adrian in his infield next season, but the Sox signed Gonzalez, leaving little room for Beltre. This from the Globe's Nick Cafardo: With the Orioles trading for third baseman Mark Reynolds with the Diamondbacks that would seem to take them out of the Beltre market. The A's are also out after they felt snubbed by Beltre the past two years. Who's left? The ideal spot for Beltre would be the Angels, close to his LA home, who are still the frontrunners. But if the Angels are in on Carl Crawford, would they sign both?
Last updated: 12/05, 5:50 p.m.
Werth, Nationals agree
Right fielder Jayson Werth agreed to a $126 million, seven-year contract with the Washington Nationals. The 31-year-old Werth was also being pursued by the Red Sox, but Washington's offer was likely far more than the Sox could have given.
Last updated: 11/23, 12:24 p.m.
Martinez signs with Tigers
Victor Martinez's four-year, $50 million deal with the Detroit Tigers did not catch the Red Sox by surprise. For several days, the Tigers had pushed Martinez to make a quick decision and had a deal in place Monday night. The Red Sox constructed two offers for Martinez: three years and $36 million or four years and $42 million. Historically, catchers decline rapidly in their mid 30s and Martinez will turn 32 in December. The Sox were willing to gamble on Martinez staying healthy and productive — but only to a point. Martinez hit .302 with a .351 on-base percentage and a .493 slugging percentage for the Red Sox last season. As a catcher, those are tremendous statistics. But as a first baseman or designated hitter, Martinez would not be nearly as valuable at $12.5 million a year.
It appears Linda Pizzuti is fast becoming the not-so-secret weapon for Liverpool Football Club, after watching two consecutive Reds wins at Anfield. The wife of Red Sox and LFC owner John Henry has quickly earned the moniker 'Lucky Linda'.
The 31-year-old Pizzuti endeared herself to LFC fans last week when she asked them on Twitter what songs she should learn to chant during the matches.
The First Post reported last week, the LFC fans will want to see more of Pizzuti at the Kop:
As one correspondent in the press box at Anfield commented last night, "She'd better be prepared to fly over for every match. The Kop needed a new lucky mascot after Liverpool's dreadful start to the season. They're not going to let her go now."
After Liverpool's impressive 2-0 win over Chelsea on Sunday, Pizzuti tweeted:
"We had some Red Sox folks there for their first match & they were also blown away by the passion, humor, and power of LFC supporters... Didn't believe it was possible, but Anfield was even more electric and exciting than what I got to experience on Thursday...
No word yet on whether Pizzuti will be on hand tomorrow when Liverpool takes on Wigan Athletic at DW Stadium tomorrow.
Free agency formally began yesterday, and the Red Sox apparently have not waited long to contact a player long believed to be someone they would covet.
Citing a baseball source, ESPNBoston.com's Gordon Edes reports that the Red Sox have been in touch with Jayson Werth's agent, Scott Boras, to express interest in the five-tool outfielder who has spent the past four seasons with the Phillies.
Werth, a 32-year-old seeking his first big payday after injuries plagued the early years of his career, is hitting free agency at the right time. He is coming off arguably his best season, during which he batted .296 with a .921 OPS, hit 27 homers, and led the National League with 46 doubles.
The only other free agent outfielder who will draw similar interest is Tampa Bay's Carl Crawford, and Werth is the only true high-end power-hitting outfielder available.
Crawford, like Werth, will appeal to the Red Sox and a number of other suitors, though there are no reports of specific teams contacting him yet.
The Boras factor is of interest to the Red Sox. He's notorious for prolonging free agency for his clients, and he represents not only Werth, but third baseman Adrian Beltre. Crawford is represented by Brian Peters.
Meanwhile, in the Bronx, the Yankees reportedly wasted no time checking in with the agent of ace lefthander Cliff Lee, who beat New York twice in the ALCS while leading the Texas Rangers to the World Series.
According to the New York Daily News, the Yankees were one of several teams Sunday to express interest in Lee, one of baseball's premier pitchers the past three seasons.
The Daily News reported that the Rangers, Nationals, Phillies, Cubs, Brewers, and Angels also contracted his agent, Darek Braunecker. It was uncertain whether any team made a formal offer, but that seems to be a mere formality as far as the Yankees are concerned:
The Yankees are expected to be aggressive in their pursuit of Lee, who is far and away the best player available on the free-agent market this winter. Lee, 32, is believed to be seeking a six-year deal worth at least $23 million annually.
The Yankees nearly acquired Lee at the July 31 trade deadline from the Seattle Mariners for premier prospect Jesus Montero, but the Rangers trumped the offer with a package including first baseman Justin Smoak.
Now that the Giants have been crowned World Series champions for the 2010 season, it's time to turn our focus to 2011 and the Red Sox roster.
There's lots of work to be done to rebuild the third-place Red Sox. The Sox have only five days of exclusive negotiating rights with Victor Martinez and Jason Varitek, who were among the first players to file for free agency. And the Sox must make a decision on David Ortiz this week.
To get the stove cranking, here's a look at the latest rumors and available players that may impact the Red Sox this offseason:
Will David Ortiz get a multi-year deal from Boston this week? Ortiz told WEEI.com recently that he's not comfortable coming back for the final year of his current contract, and the Red Sox must decide whether to pick up Ortiz's $12.5 million option by Thursday or consider offering the 34-year-old designated hitter a new multi-year contract.
"I'm not comfortable coming back just for one year because it's going to be the same roller-coaster that I had this year," he said. "All the question marks. People still don't realize what you're capable of doing even after eight years. I'm the kind of guy who likes to be left alone, play my game and be the best at my position."
In today's Globe 10.0, Bob Ryan and Dan Shaughnessy debate what the Red Sox should do with David Ortiz.
Is Carl Crawford the answer to fire up the Red Sox fan base? According to Peter Gammons, the Red Sox are going to go hard after the fleet-footed outfielder:
“There is no doubt in my mind that they are going to go really hard after Carl Crawford. That will be a matchup with the Angels, and you know there are some puffs of smoke coming out of New York that suggest the Yankees might go after him, even though their primary need is pitching.”
ESPN's Buster Olney has more on the Crawford pursuit:
Carl Crawford is going to get extraordinary offers as a free agent this offseason, but if everything is equal (if the Red Sox or the Yankees make the same level of offer as the Angels) do not underestimate the impact of the competitive callus Crawford has built up against Boston and New York in his career. For years, he has been battling the Red Sox and Yankees, and he will need to be persuaded to join them, according to a friend.
Crawford and Jayson Werth, another veteran outfielder the Sox are reportedly interested in pursuing, are both Type A free agents.
Can the Sox hang on to catcher Victor Martinez? Gammons doesn't think so at this point:
I don’t expect Victor Martinez to come back [to Boston], I think Detroit is going to give him four or five years. And I don’t think anybody else is going to give him four or five years to be a catcher.
Where will Adrian Beltre land? According to the Globe's Peter Abraham, the Tigers are in the mix for the third baseman:
The Red Sox and Tigers are doing a little dance as teams prepare for free agency. Detroit has apparently decided to keep Brandon Inge and have him play third base, which takes one team out of the mix for Adrian Beltre. However, the Tigers are said to be very interested in Victor Martinez after light hitting Alex Avila did their catching last season. Then there's Carl Crawford. The Sox would love to have him and so would the Tigers, who see a Crawford-Austin Jackson combination giving them premier defense in the outfield. The Tigers had Ryan Raburn in left field for most of last season.
Is the captain returning to the Red Sox? The Globe's Nick Cafardo writes that Jason Varitek would be a nice veteran backup for the Brewers, who need someone to mentor Jonathan Lucroy, but the veteran catcher is still in Boston's plans.
Cafardo also reports today that the Red Sox have told Bill Hall they will reject the $9.25 million option but want the utility man back. Hall is expected to see what's available for a starting job, but could return to Boston.
With John Farrell heading off to Canada to manage the Blue Jays, the Sox are in the hunt for a new pitching coach, and Curt Young continues to lead the pack of favorites to replace Farrell. Buster Olney wrote last week that, barring a dramatic change, the Red Sox will hire Young, who recently ended a seven-year tenure with the A's and has a relationship Terry Francona, who was a coach in Oakland before becoming manager of the Red Sox [Update: Young named Sox pitching coach].
On the front office side, it looks like J.P. Ricciardi is considering joining the Red Sox braintrust according the New York Post's Joel Sherman:
[Mets GM] Sandy Alderson is expecting to hear no later than today from J.P. Ricciardi if the former Blue Jays GM will accept a key role in baseball operations. Ricciardi also is weighing an offer from the Red Sox. The Boston job holds particular allure to Ricciardi because he still lives in Worcester County, Mass., and has two school-age boys he wants to stay close to. Besides the obvious — the Red Sox in Boston — the organization’s top two minor league affiliates, Triple-A Pawtucket and Double-A Portland (Maine), are within a reasonable drive. However, Ricciardi has told friends the allure of working again with Alderson, who he considers a mentor, also is attractive, especially since he might be able to do a significant piece of his work from home.
For a look at more players who may be on the Red Sox radar this offseason, take a look at our free agent photo gallery.
John Henry finally touched base with the passionate fans of a certain team in transition this morning. The Red Sox? No, the Reds. As in the Liverpool Football Club Reds.
The Red Sox principal owner and prospective Reds buyer broke his year long silence on his Twitter account by offering encouragement to fans of the Premier League football club on the morning of the critical court case that will determine whether Henry's New England Sports Ventures (NESV) will be allowed to buy the venerable soccer team.
"...everyone is hoping for the best," Henry said in a message to Liverpool fans on his Twitter account today. "There have been enough twists and turns. Hopefully all gets sorted out soon; LFC moves forward."
Liverpool, which won the last of its 18 English league titles in 1990, is off to its worst start to a season since 1953.
Before today, Henry's last tweet was over a year ago, after the Red Sox lost the first two games to the Angels in the 2009 ALDS. "Angel pitching dominant in first two games," Henry tweeted at the time. "We've been here before a couple of times." The Sox went on to lose Game 3 and the series at Fenway when the Angels rallied for a comeback win off Jonathan Papelbon in ninth inning and advanced to ALCS.
Today, Henry broke his silence on the Liverpool takeover situation when he tweeted: “Hello LFC supporters!"
In response to questions, Henry said: “It would be inappropriate and presumptuous at this time to respond to questions. In the interim, we're all rooting for the same thing.”
Henry later added, "One question I can answer: Who are we?" and linked to a new video about NESV.
According to the Liverpool Echo newspaper, Henry is looking forward to getting together with Liverpool fans.
"Mr Henry is said to have become increasingly frustrated that he has not yet been able to travel to Merseyside to meet fans and do interviews," according to the Echo.
Royal Bank of Scotland, which holds the bulk of Liverpool's debt, is seeking a court order preventing co-owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett Jr. from removing two of the three rival board members supporting a $476 million sale to New England Sports Ventures.
You can follow the proceedings from the High Court in London live here on LFC online and on Twitter @liverpool.
Red Sox fans got a first-hand view of Manny Ramirez over the weekend. It was never going to be one of those "remember-where-you-were" moments, but Manny's return proved even less memorable than it could have been. And that's after Manny's big, heartfelt confession that he was wrong, he's grown up now, and if given the chance, he would have come back to Boston.
The Labor Day holiday had something to do with the lack of interest in Manny. So did Hurricane Earl. But, being in the stands Saturday night, a "mixed reaction" is being too kind to Ramirez. It was about 80-20 boos-to-cheers.
Which leads to how Ramirez is being perceived in Chicago. He went 4-for-9 over the weekend at Fenway, though he failed to drive in a run. Ramirez may perform well on the field for the White Sox this month, but the Manny mystique certainly isn't there this time around. A Chicago Tribune poll asking readers about their initial impressions of Ramirez lists three possible responses, all of them starting with "What was all the fuss about?"
Following the news that Ramirez would be coming to Boston, the Tribune's David Haugh wrote that it was hard to applaud bringing in a player with Ramirez's reputation.
Both the Tribune and Sun-Times are having fun with the length of Manny's hair, but it feels forced. The White Sox as a team aren't marketing Ramirez like the Dodgers did two years ago. There won't be a Mannywood on the South Side. The manager, Ozzie Guillen, is still the team's biggest personality, and Manny's presence isn't going to change that.
Are you a Sea Dogs fan? Do you enjoy watching Double A baseball games in torrential rain and wind?
If so, you're in luck.
The Portland Sea Dogs are giving away tickets for their game with the New Hampshire Fisher Cats on Friday night to anyone named Earl.
To take advantage of the offer, people named Earl can contact the Sea Dogs ticket office at 207-879-9500. If your your name is Earl, you'll get one free ticket in either reserved or general admission seating. The game is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Hadlock Field in Portland.
Proper identification is, of course, required.
Now it appears the White Sox may get their chance to acquire Ramirez, provided no team with a worse record puts in a claim ahead of them.
As expected, Ramirez, the enigmatic former Red Sox slugger, was placed on waivers by LA this afternoon, according to a report by ESPN's Buster Olney.
The news comes as little surprise. Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com was the first to report earlier this week that if Ramirez, who is batting .306 with eight homers in 63 games during an injury-plagued season, would be claimed by the White Sox if the Dodgers exposed him.
But the process is not simple, nor is it cut-and-dried that the 38-year-old will end up in Chicago. Teams have until Friday afternoon to make a claim, and the team awarded the claim will have until Tuesday afternoon to try to work out a trade with the Dodgers should they request compensation.
Ramirez must pass through waivers in the NL before any AL team can claim him, and the order is determined from worst record to the best. The White Sox currently have the sixth-best record in the AL.
The situation is further complicated by his full no-trade clause since he would have to approve any transaction.
Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com has reported that the Chicago White Sox plan to claim former Red Sox outfielder Manny Ramirez if the Dodgers put him on waivers, which could happen today.
Rosenthal said sources have also told him the Rays and Rangers may have an interest in Ramirez, but the White Sox would have dibs if Ramirez is placed on waivers.
The Dodgers are out of the NL West pennant race and a long shot in a crowded NL wild-card race, and may look to dump the $4.25 million remaining on Ramirez's salary for the season.