|Pedro Martinez unplugged: ‘I’m hoping to become’ Johnny Pesky||02.18.13 at 6:22 pm ET|
FORT MYERS, Fla. — In an epic session with reporters Monday afternoon that lasted 23 minutes, 14 seconds, Pedro Martinez provided a glimpse into his personality that defined a legendary career and offered rare insight as to why one of the greatest Red Sox pitchers of all time decided the time was right to rejoin the Red Sox as a pitching consultant.
Toward the end of the session, he admitted that his goal, his main objective with the organization is not to become a pitching coach or manager but rather a character and ambassador like the late, great Johnny Pesky.
“Johnny Pesky, I remember Johnny Pesky hitting fungos in my first year here,” Martinez said of his first year in 1998. “I saw him in his last days. I’m extremely proud to have seen Johnny Pesky. I’m hoping to become someone like that.”
He joked that he also might be a lot like Luis Tiant, who was making the rounds Monday on the practice fields outside JetBlue Park.
“Probably, when I’m an old goat and running around,” Martinez said. “I probably won’t have the goatee. I’ll be around like Jim Rice, like El Tiante, Johnny Pesky.”
One thing he assured everyone, he will not be making an Andy Pettitte-like comeback in mid-season.
“No, not at all, not to play. Coming back to see the Sox in first place? Maybe,” Martinez said. “No chance [of pitching]. I just don’t think so. I did what I was supposed to do and that’s it.
“I hope to add some knowledge, any help I can to the staff in every aspect. Could be mechanically, could be in the field, could be off the field, could be mentally, which I know a lot. I know about going through struggles what we go through in the middle of the season, especially after the first half. So, I can relate to them a lot and actually get them going, hopefully and they can come and ask questions and I’ll be more than willing to answer.
“It’s weird but it feels like the first day to me. I get so excited to be a part of this team and be part of the tradition we have here. To me, it was just like the first day. I actually a little funny about putting pair of [uniform] pants on again. In shorts, it’s different. In regular pants like a player.”
Pedro was in uniform, at least gray pants and sweater top.
“Same size, same everything, even though I’m a little heavier,” he said.
Here is the rest of Pedro’s classic and wide-ranging address to reporters:
On the Red Sox letting him go after the 2004 World Series run: “I never held it against them because you have to understand that baseball has a dark side and it’s the negotiations. Every time you’re exposed to arbitration cases and all that, you realize there’s a business part of baseball that forces you to look for a negative about the player and the player actually tries to prove to the team that you’re worth whatever you’re asking. But money makes it all difficult. All that love for one day goes away. Once we settle and we reach agreement, it’s love again. Read the rest of this entry »
|Terry Francona on M&M: Johnny Pesky was the ‘greatest ambassador for the Red Sox you could ever have’||08.14.12 at 2:34 pm ET|
Former Red Sox Manager Terry Francona joined Mut & Merloni on Tuesday to discuss the recent passing of Red Sox great Johnny Pesky. Francona, who joined the Red Sox in 2004, said that one of the first calls he made as the manager of the Red Sox was to Pesky.
‘We bonded a little bit then, he came down to spring training and shoot, back in ‘04 he was pretty spry,’ Francona said. ‘He could hit some fungoes and he would walk around and talking to the guys. As time passed it became a little harder for him to move around. But he would sit on a lawn chair down on the third base line and sign autographs for fans and he would talk to anybody ‘ anybody about the Red Sox.
‘He was so passionate ‘ I mean, he lived the Red Sox. He was probably the greatest ambassador for the Red Sox you could ever have.’
Francona discussed Pesky’s role in the clubhouse during Francona’s time as manager, as the then-84-year-old was not there as the master strategist despite his long tenure in major league baseball.
Well, I could see ‘ everybody really adored him,’ Francona said. ‘And when you get to a certain age, you don’t necessarily talk about strategy of the game ‘ I mean, he certainly had carte blanche to do whatever he wanted ‘ but it was mostly just kind of befriending them or giving them an encouraging word.
‘I remember, shoot, in ‘05, when we raised the flag on Opening Day, Johnny was pulling the flag up. Anything to do with the Red Sox, he had such an enormous amount of pride. Things like that are the things I will remember.’
Pesky, of course, was one of the members of the Red Sox who had not won a world series during his eight seasons with Boston as a player. So when Boston’s 86-year World Series drought ended in 2004, the players recognized how much the championship meant to someone like him.
‘You see the videos of Curt Schilling and those guys giving Johnny hugs after the World Series. That’s not fake stuff,’ Francona said. ‘They were genuinely proud for Johnny.’
While he was certainly elated amidst the World Series celebration, Francona noted that the spring was really Pesky’s favorite part of the season.
‘[Spring training] is when he was the happiest,’ Francona said. ‘It was perfect for him because he could roam around and the rules weren’t so strict then about having people in uniform and he could go to the back field and talk to a minor league kid if he wanted to or he could sit in the dugout, or what I remember was he could just sit in that little lawn chair on the third base side and sign autograph after autograph and talk to anybody. Anybody that wanted to have a word with him ‘ he would sit there for hours.’
Former Red Sox general manager and current Orioles general manager Dan Duquette made an early morning appearance Tuesday on the Dennis & Callahan show as the two teams prepare for a three-game series starting Tuesday night at Camden Yards.
Duquette, who was with the Red Sox from 1994 to 2002, talked about the team’s struggles this season. The Red Sox are 57-59 going into Tuesday’s series, 5 1/2 games behind the Orioles, who occupy the second Wild Card spot.
‘They have a great lineup,’ Duquette said of the Red Sox. ‘I don’t know if their starting pitching is as strong as they had envisioned it. When your starting pitching isn’t a foundation for your team, it’s tough to overcome.’
With Carl Crawford‘s impending Tommy John surgery, there is a lot of talk, given the Red Sox’ struggles, of shutting him down as soon as possible to get the surgery done so he’s fully healthy for the beginning of next season. Asked, as a general manager, when he knows to throw the figurative white flag, Duquette said this season’s new second Wild Card spot adds a completely different dynamic than ever before.
‘A lot of that has to do with how your team playing and how far you’re out of the race,’ Duquette said of throwing a white flag. ‘With this new Wild Card race, you see all of these teams in the race. I mean, there’s like five teams neck and neck. And that gives hope to another town, another city that you can get into it.
‘It’s there if you can get it going. If you can get your pitching going and reel off 10 wins, you’re still in the hunt.’
|Pedro Martinez, Kevin Millar reflect on Fenway Park: ‘There’s nothing you can compare it to’||04.20.12 at 5:36 pm ET|
Pedro Martinez once again brought a jolt of electricity to Fenway Park with his presence, as his entry onto the field through the tunnel in center field drew one of the most emotional reactions of the day from the crowd, with the three-time Cy Young winner returning the affection by pointing to several parts of the park to express his affection for the place of his most lasting baseball memories.
Few players have ever had the affair with Fenway Park that Martinez did. Indeed, as Martinez noted, he is one of the few Red Sox stars who left town as a free agent yet continued to be a beloved figure in the city and region.
“I don’t want to curse this — and I don’t think I can anymore, because I’m not going to be playing anymore, and my love for Boston is always going to be in my heart,” Martinez prefaced. “I might be the only player that has gone away from Boston and still had the same support from the fans. Gone and being here, has the same support I got. I’m very privileged to the be that player that was never booed and never left a sour grape in Boston.”
That being the case, the pitcher’s affinity for Boston and for Fenway Park remains undampened, as fresh now as it was during the seven seasons he spent with the Sox from 1998-2004. The Sox recognized that in selecting Martinez (along with Kevin Millar, another member of the iconic 2004 team that claimed the first Red Sox World Series in 86 years) to deliver the pre-game toast to Fenway Park. After the toast, Martinez described the magic that he feels inside of the ballpark that celebrated its 100th birthday on Friday.
‘My feeling is unique toward Fenway, unique toward the city, unique in every aspect. Fenway has a way that you can’t find it anywhere else,” said Martinez. “You might find [it in] Chicago, with a little bit of tradition. But when it comes to Fenway, there’s nothing you can compare it to. I have been in many other fields and I have been all around the leagues, played in the National League, too. Even the old Yankee Stadium, there’s nothing that can be compared to Fenway. It must be the closeness that the stadium gives you. If you messed it up, you’re going to hear it. They’re going to let you know. And you can hear it. The same way when you do something good for Boston, you’re going to hear it and they’re going to embrace you. You’re going to feel, sometimes, people breathing close to you. That’s how close they are to you at Fenway. Fenway’s the only stadium that can give you that. Fenway becomes a unique place, and it should remain that way.” Read the rest of this entry »
|Fenway at 100: Park holds special memories for oldest living former Red Sox employee Al Rocci||04.17.12 at 9:34 am ET|
Throughout his life, no matter how poorly things went, Al Rocci knew he could never complain. Regardless of what direction his life was headed, he always knew that his retreat from everyday realities and struggles, Fenway Park, was never far away.
His official job title at the ballpark was usher, but after manning the gates, aisles and concourses of Fenway for 39 years, from 1936 until 1975, a more fitting title would be historian. It was where he watched Ted Williams step up to the plate and Johnny Pesky take the infield, where he watched the Red Sox make pennant runs, only to inevitably break the Fenway faithful’s collective heart.
What was once a chance to make some extra money in 1936 became a powerful presence in his life, one that left an indelible impact on the man that he is today.
With Fenway set to celebrate its 100th anniversary Friday, the 95-year-old Rocci stands as a remarkable and important relic of the ballpark’s storied history, as the Medford resident has the unique designation as the oldest known living Red Sox employee.
Rocci’s time and connection with the Red Sox is one that has spanned decades and one that has seen the drastic changes with both Fenway and the Red Sox organization itself. But Rocci’s long and well-defined connection with the Red Sox began in humble enough circumstances.
Growing up in the perpetual economic struggle and turbulence of the Great Depression, a time in which Rocci said that his family had to ‘scrimp and scrape’ to get by, Rocci was forced to go to work before and after school in order to make money for his family. Matters were complicated by the fact that Rocci’s father passed away when he was just 3 years old, something he described as ‘one of my worst setbacks’ in his life.
Though a part of Rocci’s early life was characterized by a series of setbacks, things quickly started to change as he was unknowingly about to begin a 76-year relationship with the team he grew up idolizing.
|Images from Oldtime Baseball Game||08.27.10 at 7:15 am ET|
Here are some photos from the 17th annual Oldtime Baseball Game, held Thursday night at St. Peter’s Field in Cambridge. The game raised money this year for the Marley Jay Cherella Memorial Fund, which helps support research for sudden infant death syndrome. The game also honored the memory of former Northeastern University standout and Red Sox minor leaguer Greg Montalbano, with former Huskies outfielder Todd Korchin receiving the inaugural Greg Montalbano Alumni Award. Montalbano died of cancer last year. Also taking part in the event were former major leaguers Johnny Pesky, Lou Merloni, Len Merullo, Bill Monbouquette and Mike Pagliarulo.
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