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Bobby Valentine on MFB: ‘I wasn’t able to establish the trust that was needed’ from Red Sox coaching staff in 2012 05.20.15 at 12:34 pm ET
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Former Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine, who will return to Fenway Park on Wednesday night to make an appearance with ESPN’s broadcast team, checked in with Middays with MFB on Wednesday morning and discussed some of the controversies that ensued during his brief tenure in Boston. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

Now the executive director of athletics at Sacred Heart University in Connecticut, Valentine said he has no hesitation about returning to Fenway despite his inglorious exit after a 2012 season that included poor play on the field and numerous controversies off it.

“I could give a darn about anxiety,” he said. “I have a lot of friends that I left in Boston. I’ve been in Boston 15 times in the last couple of years. I’m excited about getting back there.”

Valentine was fired one day after a disastrous season in which the Sox finished last in the American League East at 69-92, but he insists he doesn’t worry about any regrets.

“I don’t really look back much at any of my life,” he said. “All I know is that it’s all about sevens — there was seven years in Texas and seven years in New York and seven years in Japan and seven months in Boston. It was all kind of fun looking back at all those things. But I don’t do the microscope. I try to look forward and enjoy what I’m doing today.”

Much was made of the issues Valentine had with his coaching staff that season.

“I think you hit on the key word there: trust,” Valentine said. “That was my mistake, that I wasn’t able to establish the trust that was needed throughout that entire group that were in uniform together. Whether it’s my fault or someone else’s fault, who knows. I’m not a blame-thrower. I can just tell you that when you bring me back to that year that probably the biggest problem was that I delegated the people who were going to speak my gospel, that they didn’t know the language that the gospel was written in.”

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Read More: ben cherington, Bobby Valentine, John Farrell, John Henry
New PawSox owner Jim Skeffington dead at 73 05.18.15 at 11:22 am ET
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Jim Skeffington

Jim Skeffington

Providence attorney Jim Skeffington, who was part of the group that recently purchased the Pawtucket Red Sox with plans to move the team to Providence, died Sunday night, reportedly after suffering a heart attack while jogging.

“It is with profound sadness that I confirm the death of Jim Skeffington,” PawSox spokeswoman Patti Doyle said in a statement Monday morning. “His son, Jim Skeffington Jr., will issue a statement on behalf of his family later today.”

A Providence native, Skeffington graduated from Boston College and Georgetown Law School before returning to work with corporate and governmental clients in Rhode Island, according to the Providence Journal. He was involved in numerous public projects in the Providence area, including the Rhode Island Convention Center and the Providence Place mall.

“I am deeply saddened by the stunning news of the passing of Jim Skeffington,”
Rhode Island House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello said in a statement. “He was a true legend in the Rhode Island legal and business communities, having a hand in nearly every major project in our state for decades.

“Jim was a gentleman in every sense of the word and a real champion for all that is good about Rhode Island. It is tragic that he did not live long enough to see his vision for the Pawtucket Red Sox come to fruition, but he left a legacy that will live on for generations to come. He loved Rhode Island, and I will miss my friend.”

Skeffington and Red Sox president/CEO Larry Lucchino were the most visible partners in the new PawSox ownership group.

Read More: James Skeffington,
Buster Olney on MFB: Ben Cherington ‘going to have to make hard decisions’ soon 05.13.15 at 1:30 pm ET
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Buster Olney

Buster Olney

ESPN’s Buster Olney made his weekly appearance on Middays with MFB on Wednesday to talk Red Sox and other baseball news, as well as offer his thoughts on Deflategate. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

The Red Sox continue to plod along, a few percentage points away from last place in the American League East 1 1/2 months into the season. General manager Ben Cherington has come under fire, and it doesn’t help that the team has $17 million worth of outfielders in Rusney Castillo and Allen Craig playing in Pawtucket while the Sox offense struggles.

“I’m sure that based on what we know about how ownership has gotten involved in the conversion with Ben in the last week, I’m sure that that type of question has been asked,” Olney said. “I think probably what Ben has been doing is trying to maximize the value of all of his assets. In other words, he knew that in the winter if he traded Shane Victorino he was going to get pennies on the dollar. If you trade Allen Craig a week ago you’d get pennies on the dollar. So he kept everything in a holding pattern. And if the team was winning, then you could continue that. But I do think he is probably going to get smoked out a little bit in that strategy as long as the Red Sox continue to lag behind in the standings.

“At some point he’s going to have to make hard decisions about what to do with Victorino, about what to do with Allen Craig, about what to do with other parts of this team. The fact that there doesn’t appear to be a dominant team in the division does buy them perhaps a little bit more time.”

Justin Masterson, signed as a free agent in the offseason, had another rough outing Tuesday night, giving up six runs in just 2 1/3 innings in a 9-2 loss to the Athletics. Afterward, manager John Farrell suggested something is physically wrong with the right-hander.

“There’s no question that Masterson’s not right,” Olney said. “Whether it’s a physical issue or just an issue of performance, the Red Sox are going to have to answer that for themselves. But I can tell you — and I think I told you guys in spring training — when I talked with evaluators of other teams, they were a) surprised at the Red Sox’ commitment to Masterson, the signing, and b) they wondered if he can get the ball down. I was looking at it this morning, his ground ball ratio is at a career low right now. . . . When you throw from that angle, and your whole thing is being able to generate ground balls, if he’s not generating ground balls, he doesn’t have a lot of use to them — certainly not in a starting pitcher role.

“Let’s face it, with his ERA over six, with the team having the worst rotation ERA in baseball, with the ownership now involved and asking questions about what’s going on, you’ve got to believe they’re going to talk about either minor league options or maybe they’ll be one of the teams that’s aggressive in calling up Oakland and saying, ‘Hey, you know what, what’s it going to take to get Scott Kazmir?’ Because he presumably is going to be one of the first guys on the move in the trade market this summer.”

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Read More: ben cherington, buster olney, John Farrell, justin masterson
Buster Olney on MFB: ‘The whole [AL East] division is a complete mud bog’ 05.06.15 at 1:05 pm ET
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Buster Olney

Buster Olney

ESPN’s Buster Olney checked in with Middays with MFB on Wednesday to discuss the Red Sox‘ recent struggles and other baseball news. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

Olney said if the Red Sox offense can live up to expectations, the division race could change dramatically.

“You keep waiting for the Red Sox offense to be that predictable element for Boston,” Olney said. “I know that the Yankees had a great weekend against the Red Sox, they’re in first place now, but I think the whole division is a complete mud bog. We still haven’t seen what’s going to define this division.”

Red Sox owner John Henry said he still believes the Red Sox have the best team in the division. Asked if he agrees with that statement, Olney said, “Not right now. I don’t think there’s any question right now that they don’t. And I think they’re going to have to make some changes at some point unless you see guys start to turn it around. Look, I think Rick Porcello clearly is getting better. You watch Joe Kelly’s stuff and you think the tools are definitely there for him to get better. But I know from talking with evaluators with other teams that they believe that the Red Sox are going to have to start thinking about making some changes.”

Olney noted that the Red Sox remain in a prime position to make a deal.

“The one thing that you a lot from other teams is that as they address these issues, they’ve got the best stockpile of resources in prospects and dollars of any team in baseball,” Olney said.

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Read More: Allen Craig, buster olney,
Buster Olney on MFB: Dustin Pedroia’s power biggest takeaway from Opening Day 04.08.15 at 11:58 am ET
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Buster Olney

Buster Olney

ESPN’s Buster Olney made his weekly appearance on with Middays with MFB on Wednesday to talk about the Red Sox after their impressive start to the season. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

The Sox opened the season with an 8-0 victory over the Phillies, hitting five home runs — two each from Dustin Pedroia and Hanley Ramirez.

“The fact that Pedroia hit for power to me was the thing that jumped out,” Olney said. “Because I know all of last year — and look, nobody engenders more respect around baseball than Dustin Pedroia does, and people love the way he plays, but I heard it from a lot of people, whether it was scouts or other players, they wondered if Dustin was ever going to get back to being able to hit for any kind of power, because he’s had so many nagging injuries — wrist, hands, the whole thing — and that was a great sign on the first day that he was able to do something.

“When you’re playing the Phillies right now it is a little bit Christians and the lions situation because they are really bad. But that’s a great start for them.”

The much-maligned Clay Buchholz pitched like a No. 1, allowing no runs and just three hits through seven innings.

“We’ve seen it in the past, he’s certainly capable of pitching really well,” Olney said. “And you’re right, it’s a good sign, it doesn’t matter who you’re facing. You can only compete against the guys who are in front of you. … Everything that I saw, he looked in command. Most of the time you liked the tempo, which I always thought was a barometer when you watch Buchholz is how quickly is he working between pitches. The faster he works, the better it seems he is; the slower he works, the more uncertain he seems to be. The other day he seemed like he was very comfortable.

“It’s a great first sign from a team that needs, let’s face it, contributions from all ends of their rotation.”

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Read More: buster olney, Clay Buchholz, Dustin Pedroia, Jon Lester
SI’s Tom Verducci on MFB: Red Sox ‘the best team in a very weak division’ 04.06.15 at 1:07 pm ET
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Tom Verducci

Tom Verducci

Sports Illustrated’s Tom Verducci checked in with Middays with MFB on Monday to talk about the Red Sox and other news from around the majors. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

Verducci is predicting the Red Sox to win the American League East, but he didn’t voice very much confidence in them.

“I do think the Red Sox are the best team in a very weak division,” he said. “It could be 90 wins or maybe even less to win this division. You could make a case for any team to finish first — and maybe even last. … But to me the Red Sox are a team that has the best offense in all of Major League Baseball. And I think their pitching is just good enough to be the best in a weak division.”

There’s been speculation that the Red Sox will go after a premier pitcher sooner rather than later, but Verducci said that might not be as crucial as some people think.

“I’m not a real big believer in that,” he said. “I know a lot has been focused on the fact that the Red Sox don’t have an ace. The team that won the division last year with 94 wins didn’t have an ace — the Baltimore Orioles. I just think the way the game is played now is entirely different than what it was 10 or 20 years ago.

“Listen, in a perfect world I’d rather have the Nationals rotation than anybody else in baseball — I’d want five aces. There’s just not enough of those pitchers to go around. But with a dynamic offense, I think they have a premier defense, I think their defense could be one of the top three in the American League.

“To me, actually, the key is going to be the bullpen. Whether they have the right pieces now, whether they make changes during the course of the season. I think you can win with basically average starting pitching as long as you have a great offense, really good defense — which they have — and a really good bullpen. And I think the key is actually figuring out how they use their bullpen and what the construct is of that bullpen.”

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Read More: Alex Rodriguez, Jon Lester, Josh Hamilton, Tom Verducci
David Ortiz: ‘Dehydrating is part of being human’ 03.25.15 at 11:57 am ET
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After being questioned for taking time off at spring training due to dehydration, David Ortiz detailed his health situation to WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford and vowed to be ready to go soon.

Ortiz said the dehydration issue led to him becoming sick, and the Red Sox medical staff decided it would be best for him to rest.

“Everything just tied up on me and I started feeling sore. I couldn’t run,” he explained. “I’ve had it before. The minute I started feeling that way I went to the doctor and they already knew.

“I don’t know why people would criticize. Dehydrating is part of being human. You know how hot it’s been down here? I dehydrate and then I caught a bad cold. So all these symptoms get all your joints tied up, which normally happens. I started feeling soreness, so they shut me down. Now I’m starting to regroup and feel better. I have this thing I’ve got to manage the right way.”

Ortiz has made 19 plate appearance this spring (he had 40 last year), and he said he isn’t concerned with his limited preseason action. He noted that he has been working on his swing, although he’s still feeling sore.

“I’ve got to be smart about it. I’m not 20 anymore, and this ball club needs me for the season,” he said. “I see people getting worried about me in spring training and I’m like, ‘What’s going on? I thought the season was more important than spring training.’ But I understand. I get the memo. I know when people don’t see you playing out there, which is something everybody normally does, they start worrying. But everything is going to be fine for the season.

“Opening Day is a big deal, but not to me. It’s just another day. I want to be good for the season. I want to be able to do what I do for the season, and that’s what I’m worried about right now. I’m not really worried about stressing out about spring training. Spring training doesn’t mean [expletive] for me.”

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Read More: 2015 spring training, David Ortiz,
Reports: Jerry Remy’s Fenway Park restaurant closes for good 03.04.15 at 11:50 am ET
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According to multiple reports, Jerry Remy’s Sports Bar and Grill, located just outside Fenway Park, has been closed.

The franchise’s other three locations — Logan Airport, the Seaport District and Fall River (Remy’s hometown) — remain open.

The blog Boston Restaurant Talk reports that the establishment is in bankruptcy and the landlord — the Red Sox — will not renew the lease due to the financial problems.

The restaurant, at 1265 Boylston Street, opened in March 2010. Its roof deck overlooks Fenway Park’s right-field wall.

Remy came under heavy criticism last year when a Boston Globe report detailed how he had enabled and protected his son Jared, who had a long history of violence toward women before pleading guilty to first-degree murder last year in the 2013 killing of his live-in girlfriend.

Remy, who also has battled cancer, took some time away from his job as NESN Red Sox color commentator before returning to the booth.

Read More: Jerry Remy,
College suspends student for vile tweets about Curt Schilling’s daughter 03.02.15 at 12:08 pm ET
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Curt Schilling went on the attack Sunday night after seeing vulgar tweets about his daughter, a high school senior whom Schilling congratulated for deciding to play softball at Salve Regina University next year.

One of the most offensive tweeters, identified as Adam Nagel, a student at Brookdale Community College in New Jersey who hosts a sports talk show on the school’s radio station, was suspended for his actions. [Update: The school emailed to say the student had an hour-long weekly slot on one of the radio station’s student radio streams.]

The school announced the discipline on Facebook, writing:

Students and community members have rightfully expressed concerns regarding recent social media comments made by a Brookdale student.

The Twitter comments posted by this student are unacceptable and clearly violate the standards of conduct that are expected of all Brookdale students.

The student has been summarily suspended and will be scheduled for a conduct hearing where further disciplinary action will be taken. The Brookdale Police are actively investigating this matter. Brookdale takes this behavior very seriously and does not tolerate any form of harassment.

Our sincerest apologies to Gabby Schilling. Her achievement should be celebrated and not clouded by offensive comments.

Read More: Curt Schilling,
John Farrell on D&C: ‘I believe in and I like the talent that we have’ on pitching staff 02.25.15 at 11:09 am ET
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Red Sox manager John Farrell checked in with Dennis & Callahan from spring training in Fort Myers, Fla., on Wednesday morning to talk about the outlook for the team this season. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

The biggest question mark as spring training begins is the pitching staff, with the lack of a true No. 1 starter.

“We all know that there’s a label that certain pitchers have earned. But I tell you this: I feel very good about the five that are in the rotation,” Farrell said. “There’s talent. There’s some question with the bounce-back capability of Justin Masterson, with an injury late in 2013 that seemingly affected last year; Clay Buchholz‘s durability, consistency, comes to mind, but when he has been healthy he’s pitched equivalent to a No. 1; and, to me, Joe Kelly, who’s got the stuff to be that type of guy — we’ve got to extend his overall innings workload.”

Kelly’s name has been mentioned as perhaps the most likely candidate to be the team’s top starter.

“I think Joe Kelly’s got the ability to go I think a step up as he’s learning himself as a pitcher. He’s got the best stuff in our rotation,” Farrell said. “You’re looking at a guy who’s mid- to upper 90s with a very good breaking ball, a strong, competitive streak that we saw in the starts that he made for us last year. I’m going to talk optimistically, there’s no doubt about it, because I believe in and I like the talent that we have.”

ESPN analyst Curt Schilling appeared on D&C before Farrell and questioned Buchholz’s inner drive to succeed.

“I wouldn’t agree with that,” Farrell said. “Everyone certainly has the right to their own opinion. But having been with Clay for a number of years now, he loves to compete. He loves to be the best to his abilities. Now, there’s been some things that have held him back, and durability over the course of a career to date has come into play here a little bit. But I can tell you this: He’s driven and he’s got — as we all do — a lot of motivation coming off the year we just finished.”

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Read More: 2015 spring training, Clay Buchholz, Curt Schilling, Joe Kelly
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