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Terry Francona joins The Big Show Wednesday at 5 p.m. 01.23.13 at 8:21 am ET
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Former Red Sox manager Terry Francona, whose new book offers a revealing look at his relationship with Sox ownership, is scheduled to appear on The Big Show on Tuesday at 5 p.m.

Francona, recently hired to manage of the Indians after one year as an ESPN analyst, left the Sox following the collapse of September 2011. In “Francona, The Red Sox Years,” he discusses his often-tumultuous eight-year relationship with players and executives in Boston. Francona accuses the ownership group of caring more about public relations and TV ratings than baseball success. He also explains his difficulties in dealing with mercurial personalities such as Manny Ramirez.

Read More: Terry Francona, The Big Show,
Bobby Valentine on The Big Show: ‘I go through things with open eyes’ 08.15.12 at 4:02 pm ET
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Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine joined The Big Show Wednesday afternoon to discuss his efforts to change how things are done in the organization and some of the challenges he’€™s faced along the way.

To listen to the interview, go to The Big Show audio on demand page.

Asked if he has backed off in his managerial approach, Valentine said, “I don’€™t know. Again its that idea of making adjustments. I’€™ve been advised. I’€™m not a dummy. I go through things with open eyes. I’€™m trying to figure out, and again, this is four months into a very trying situation and I’€™m trying to figure out what works best to get the results we need.”

As for whether he feels has control of his team, Valentine said, “As far as how high we wear out pants or any of that stuff, I don’€™t need those kinds of controls. I think we’€™re working on a situation, an organizational structure, a team structure that could be as functional as possible as we go forward, day by day.’€

Valentine said it was his job to focus the team on the task at hand, but acknowledged that the scrutiny wears on the players.

“I think there is a lot of emotion flying around here these days,” Valentine said. “One of the things I was discussing with one of the players was that all of this noise is one of the reasons players don’€™t want to sign here, because they don’€™t have to deal with this in other markets. They don’€™t worry about the drama of the day. They can just go out and play baseball.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Bobby Valentine, Boston Red Sox, The Big Show,
Terry Francona on The Big Show: Kevin Youkilis getting traded ‘was the best thing for both situations’ 07.12.12 at 7:35 pm ET
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Former Red Sox manager and current ESPN baseball analyst Terry Francona made an appearance on The Big Show on Thursday afternoon to discuss numerous topics surrounding the Red Sox, including the clubhouse, which was described by Buster Olney last month as ‘€œtoxic.’€ While Francona said that he has no first-hand knowledge of the dynamics at play in the Sox’ clubhouse this year (“That’s none of my business,” he said), he did offer backing to his colleague.

‘€œI’€™ve known Buster long enough to know that he wouldn’€™t have wrote something unless people told him about it,’€ Francona said. ‘€œI mean he’€™s pretty conscientious about what he does. I think in September last year, and I didn’€™t use that word, but I alluded to a lot of things that I wasn’€™t comfortable with in that clubhouse. That’€™s part of the reason I felt like I said my voice wasn’€™t carrying the way it had anymore because things were happening that I wasn’€™t comfortable with.’€

Francona also talked about the re-emergence of Kevin Youkilis and how he thought the trade situation involving him and Will Middlebrooks went down.

‘€œThese things happen sometimes,’€ Francona said. ‘€œYouk was on the disabled list a couple of times, they bring up the kid Middlebrooks. I think everyone in the organization thought Middlebrooks was going to be a good player, but all of a sudden he comes up and not only is he the future, but he shows that he’€™s the present.

‘€œI thought it was the best thing for both situations. They need to let Middlebrooks play, and Youk going to the White Sox, he’€™s got a little chip on his shoulder and he feels like he has something to prove. He’€™s going to help them too.’€

Straying off of the Red Sox for a moment, Francona also talked about how he’€™s enjoying being an ESPN baseball analyst. But while he said there are parts of being a manager that he misses, he would only return in the right situation.

‘€œI thought being fair to ESPN, I should jump in with both feet and try to be as good of an analyst as I could,’€ Francona said. ‘€œSo that’€™s what I’€™ve tried to do. I didn’€™t want one foot in the door and one foot out. They have been unbelievably kind to me and I’€™m enjoying myself. But I’€™ve been in the dugout my whole life. I don’€™t know.

First of all, somebody has to want you and there’€™s not that many jobs. And second of all, it would have to be a job where I thought that I could excel or enjoy the challenge. Any manager’€™s job is a challenge, but I wouldn’€™t want to get in one just for the sake of managing because I’€™ve done that before. It would have to be one that I thought I could enjoy.’€

To hear the interview, go to The Big Show audio on demand page.

Read More: Red Sox, Terry Francona, The Big Show,
Terry Francona on The Big Show: Significance of All-Star Game has ‘run its course’ 07.13.11 at 6:00 pm ET
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Red Sox manager Terry Francona joined The Big Show for his regular appearance Wednesday afternoon  to talk about the All-Star break and the state of his ballclub.

When asked his thoughts regarding the All-Star Game impacting home-field advantage in the World Series, Francona said that he wasn’t a fan of it.

“Maybe the significance of this game has run its course,” he said.

Added Francona: “The way they’€™re playing the game with fan voting, they want interviews in the dugout, they want a lot of things to make it not like a regular-season game and then at the end you end up treating it like the most important game of the year.”

Following is a transcript of the conversation. To hear the interview, go to The Big Show audio on demand page.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2011 mlb all-star game, carl crawford, Josh Beckett, kyle weiland
Bobby Valentine on The Big Show: Lackey ‘the only whipping boy right now’ 06.29.11 at 5:56 pm ET
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Former manager and ESPN analyst Bobby Valentine joined The Big Show Wednesday to discuss the Red Sox. To hear the interview, go to The Big Show audio on demand page.

As Red Sox manager Terry Francona announced earlier on The Big Show, Adrian Gonzalez will start in right field Wednesday night against the Phillies and David Ortiz will get the start at first base. This will be Gonzalez’s second career start in right field, and Valentine recognized the risk of the move.

“They’re looking for some more offense, and this is a team that allows its pitchers to relax knowing that they’re going to put up a crooked number. This is a way to try and do that,” Valentine said. “I think that it is risky, as everyone knows and as Terry mentioned. I mean, my goodness, you’re putting your MVP candidate in a foreign place where he doesn’t really know the field that well. He’s going to be chasing after fly balls. I’m sure he told him to just pick it up on one hop or if necessary, two hops and throw it on in and drive in a couple.”

On the lack of production from the bottom half of Boston’s lineup in interleague play:

“It’€™s not really a pray (situation), but you hope to turn it over,” Valentine said when asked jokingly if he would pray in that situation. “And the challenge there is not necessarily to score a lot of runs with the bottom of the lineup, but to get it turned over, not hit into double plays. Have situations where it’€™s at least one batter at a time so three innings later you can get back to your guys that give you a chance to hit. And hopefully they get some men on base.”

On the decision to either keep or remove John Lackey, who’s holds a 7.36 ERA, from the starting rotation:

“Once again that’€™s a turnover situation,” Valentine said. “He either needs to turn over that fastball or turn over that starting role to somebody else. It’€™s kind of unfortunate in that Daisuke [Matsuzaka]’€™s no longer there so he’€™s the only whipping boy right now. You can’€™t bring Daisuke back. He went under the knife. Right now he’€™s got to do what is at least partially what’€™s expected of him and that is keep his team in the game.”

On second-year outfielder Josh Reddick, who is hitting at a .414 clip:

“I don’€™t know what I think yet,” Valentine said. “I’€™ve only seen him about 10 at-bats. He’€™s different for sure. He’€™s a little freer than the other guys.”

Valentine offered his thoughts on interleague play.

The National League game should be played in the American League city and the American League game should be played in the National League city, just so the fans of those cities kind of get to see what the other game looks like up close and personal,” Valentine said. But, frankly this DH thing was a three year experiment that’€™s gone 35 years now. And usually these experiments end after a few years, three, ten, a couple decades. This is going on a little too far I think. And I think if in fact they’€™re going to realign, like they say they are, and if in fact they’€™re going to have a two 15-team leagues, I think they should play one brand of baseball.”

On which brand of America’s pastime he prefers:

For me, it’€™s the pitcher in the lineup only because it is a different game,” Valentine said. “It’€™s more fun.  When I say you have to turn the lineup over, in the American League city you’€™re not thinking about turning the lineup over. You’€™re thinking about getting guys out so your boys can get up and you don’€™t care where you’re starting in the lineup because usually you have a 1-through-9 situation that’€™s going to be part of your offense. When you have that pitcher hitting, it turns into a whole different part of the game that I like, where you can think a little and try to make things happen instead of just what I think happens often in the American League, just watching things happen.”

Read More: Bobby Valentine, Boston Red Sox, The Big Show,
Peter Gammons talks playoffs, Red Sox on The Big Show 10.15.10 at 7:46 pm ET
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Baseball analyst Peter Gammons stopped by The Big Show on Friday to talk playoff matchups, the acquisition of the Liverpool soccer team by Sox ownership, and the Red Sox offseason. The ownership group behind the Red Sox recently bought the Liverpool soccer team, and Gammons offered his own insight for Red Sox management: “A friend of mine last week brought this whole thing up and he said ‘You know what, if things go bad, the Red Sox marketing campaign could be ‘It could be worse, we could be the McCourts.”’

Following are some highlights from the conversation. To hear the interview, visit The Big Show audio on demand page here.

On Tim Lincecum vs. Roy Halladay matchup in the NLCS:

“It’€™s a great pitching matchup. There were some studies done today of some of the great matchups. I think this is greater than [Bob] Gibson against [Denny] McLain in ‘€™68, just because McLain wasn’€™t very good down the stretch.  It was a little different; I mean he was fortunate to get to 30 wins. I mean, it still was 31 wins against Bob Gibson but not quite the same. They listed [Sandy] Koufax against Whitey Ford in ‘€˜63. There were a couple of names in the ‘€˜50s. But this is probably in 25-30 years, the best postseason matchup. The one that I could remember that I looked forward the same way was Catfish Hunter for the A’€™s and Tom Seaver for the Mets in ‘€˜73. What is fascinating to me, what we saw in the divisional series, is the return to the point where the elite pitchers have become the stars again. We’€™re not sitting there waiting to see how far Barry Bonds can hit the ball into McCovey Cove. We’€™re not thinking about, ‘It’€™s going to be 11-9.’ We saw so many elite pitchers; I think the losing teams of the 15 games of the divisional series combined for 24 runs. The elite pitchers were dominant, and I think from a fans standpoint, while it might be more fun to see a 9-6 game, people anticipate and will watch the great pitching matchups. Back in the 70’€™s when we had [Luis] Tiant against [Jim] Palmer, everybody in the city closed over that. Even though a 3-1 game might not be the most exciting, the pitching matchups are.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: MLB Playoffs, NLCS, peter gammons, Red Sox
Peter Gammons talks playoffs and Red Sox on the Big Show 10.01.10 at 9:00 pm ET
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With the end of the regular season approaching, Peter Gammons of the MLB Network and NESN joined the Big Show to discuss the upcoming playoffs, the changes the Red Sox have to make in the offseason, and the retirement of Mike Lowell.

Following are some highlights from the conversation. To hear the interview, visit The Big Show audio on demand page. Click here for the interview.

On a season of injuries for Red Sox:

If you take [Jacoby] Ellsbury, [Dustin] Pedroia, Victor Martinez and [Kevin] Youkilis, you probably have the best front four in baseball. They were together eight times all year. But there were other factors. The fact that their pitchers have a 4.99 ERA besides [Clay] Buchholz and [Jon] Lester, there’€™s blame there. … I never realized how important Okajima was to this team until they didn’t have him. …

I have no idea where they are going to go. I think the number of options that they have from here, there’€™s like ten scenarios, and I don’€™t know where they’€™ll go.

On how the Sox will proceed with David Ortiz:

I think they will pick [David Ortiz‘ option] up because I know they are really worried that if they don’€™t he’€™s going to be hitting against right-handed pitchers in either New York or Tampa, and I think that’€™s a tough thing to swallow. Now, he may not be happy about them picking up the one year … [but] he did sign the contract. I understand where he’€™s coming from and what he’€™s given to this franchise but that’€™s the luck of the draw.

On whether free agent Adrian Beltre might be back:

I think that’s going to be a very tough signing. I find Beltre a really compelling guy. He plays so hard. Now he’€™s at the point where he won’€™t tell them when he’€™s hurt because he’s afraid that they’ll make him sit down. Beltre just plays so hard all the time. I love the thing when on breaking balls he drops to one knee and hits the balls into the seats.

He has to be comfortable. He was really comfortable in Los Angeles and he’s really comfortable here. He was uncomfortable in Seattle. If he ends up in Detroit — which I think might be a stopping point for him — how comfortable is he going to be there? Very bad ballpark for him. It will be very interesting to see how he and [agent Scott Boras] come to this.

Could Adam Dunn end up in New York?

Adam is so adamant about not wanting to DH, I don’t think he’s going to have any choice. I really don’t. The Nationals are putting up a great front because people love him and he’s a great guy. They’re not going to sign him because they don’t know where to play him in the field. I can see that. He’s a big on-base guy. I could see the Yankees doing it. But the other problem there is, if you bring him in as the DH, what do you do with [Jorge] Posada?

On Carl Crawford’s free agent destination:

I’ll be fascinated by the Crawford thing. Everybody assumes he’s going to go to the Angels. I’m not so sure. First of all, [Angels owner] Arte Moreno isn’t always great with free agents. Arte likes to kind of do business, ‘OK, this is what I’ll pay you and that’s that.’

Crawford would like to move from being a leadoff guy to being a third hitter. He’d like to win batting titles. He likes this ballpark. This will be an interesting situation. If the Red Sox went to him, and said, ‘You’re going to play left field. Ellsbury is still going to be leading off. He’ll do more running. You only have to run 40 times a year and hit line drives all over the ballpark.’ That’s an intriguing guy.

On whether he thinks it more likely that the Sox pursue free agent Carl Crawford of Jayson Werth this offseason:

I think Crawford. I think. It’s clear that they believe in 2012 that [Ryan] Kalish is going to become a really good player in right field. And I buy that, I think he’s going to become a tremendous player. He’s going to hit, and I love the whole Darin Erstad, Grady Sizemore personality that he brings to a team. I was amazed — he walked in here and all the veteran players were like ‘Great, this is better than a trade, we brought up Ryan Kalish,’ which speaks volumes about who he is, what he is, the way he plays. I’m sure he’ll play at least half the season next year in Triple-A, but he’s the one guy who’s come up and made quite an impression.

Who are the contenders in the playoffs this year?

I think the shift has started to the National League. The best young players are in the National League. I think the best two postseason teams are Philadelphia and San Francisco. … Don’€™t underestimate the fact that the Giants‘€™ ERA is the best in one month since May 1968 and that the three main guys [Matt] Cain, [Tim] Lincecum, and [Madison] Bumgarner are 12-1 with an ERA of about 1.20 in September, even better than Halladay, Oswalt and Cole Hamels.

I still think it’s going to be Minnesota [coming out of the American League]. They’€™ve got to get their pitching back. [Francisco] Liriano has had three bad starts in a row. The Yankees have lost  nine consecutive starts by opposing left-handers. If the Yankees play the Twins, who they usually have beaten, Liriano and [Brian] Duensing have to come up big.

On John Lackey‘€™s struggles for Boston:

I think he should be better than this. He’€™s been OK. But it’€™s not just like they found a few holes. His stuff has not been as crisp. He’€™s been durable but his stuff hasn’€™t been as good as it was in Anaheim. I don’€™t think that that consistency he showed last year using both his off-speed pitches and his fastball was there this year. But it’s also different being here. Maybe his father-in-law is upset at him because he’€™s not winning all his games for the Red Sox. He has had a couple of arm problems and it will be interesting to see how he comes out next year. … In his case, it is how does he get his velocity back? In Beckett’s case, it’s how do I get my arrogance back?

Does Daisuke Matsuzaka come back:

I think they might trade him. Because his contract is not bad and he can pitch in the National League. Let’€™s say they lose Victor Martinez and Beltre, I can see them trading Daisuke for Carlos Beltran and putting him in left field. I think Beltran will come back and have a monster year. The Mets would love to do that if they have a general manager by Opening Day. I think there are a number of places he can be traded to. The Dodgers, Seattle. Of course, he may end up in court if he gets traded to the Dodgers.

On Mike Lowell’€™s retirement and legacy:

One of the most popular players in my time covering here. The number of people every day who come up and say, ‘I really love Mike Lowell,’ it’€™s great. He won two World Series rings, which means two more World Series rings than Ted Williams. He had great years in 2003 for the Marlins and 2007 for the Red Sox. He knocked in, what, 120 and 110 runs in those two years. He’€™s been a really good player, he’€™s played hurt and never recovered from the hip. It’€™s a nice thing to leave the game, or your job, and be that respected and that well-liked. I don’€™t think we’€™ll have anything to worry about Mike Lowell losing his money. He got hurt and he kept trying to play, but there was nothing he could do.

Read More: Adam Dunn, Giants, john lackey, Jorge Posada
Gammons on The Big Show: Sox in ‘very dangerous stretch’ 07.16.10 at 5:37 pm ET
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NESN Red Sox analyst Peter Gammons joined The Big Show on Friday afternoon to talk about the current state of the Red Sox, possible acquisitions they could make nearing the trade deadline, and George Steinbrenner.

‘€œWell, I think in the end, he’€™s done a great deal for the game,’€ Gammons said on Steinbrenner. ‘€œHe was the only owner who really understood that baseball is entertaining. He did buy a team and within four years he had a world champion with Reggie Jackson and Goose Gossage and all those guys he brought in.’€

Gammons also touched on the recent comments made by Dan Duquette on more evidence surfacing that could link Roger Clemens to performance-enhancing drugs.

Below is the transcript of the conversation. Visit The Big Show audio on demand page to hear the interview.

What are your feelings on the Red Sox right now?

I didn’€™t like the series matchups with Texas coming in here and then going on a 10-game road trip. I guess what they’€™re hoping is they get [Clay] Buchholz pitching tonight, [Josh] Beckett tomorrow, then after this week they get their rotation. They have to hope they carry them until they get all their players back.

What do you think their mindset is going into the last couple weeks? Is it just a wait and see attitude with them?

I mean, if there was something really good available they would probably go through with it. You’€™re not going to trade two players for a 10-home run hitting backup outfielder like David DeJesus. He’€™s a nice guy but once [Jacoby] Ellsbury comes back, he’€™s your fourth or fifth outfielder and that’€™s Kansas City’€™s primary chip, so that doesn’€™t work. Right now, they’€™ve looked around at pitchers. The Pirates won’€™t trade Joel Hanrahan who’€™s kind of like the best middle man in the league and Toronto wants Jose Iglesias for Scott Downs and that’€™s not happening, especially with Downs now hurt. They have to hope they get more innings out of their starters and around the 31st teams try to dump a couple salaries.

I maintain this season comes down to his next four weeks. Do you think they have enough muscle to stay in it?

I think they do if once they get Beckett and Buchholz back, they have [Jon] Lester, Buchholz, Beckett, [John] Lackey, and [Daisuke] Matsuzaka for their five-man rotation. They have to carry, which is entirely possible. Any sabermetric rating, they have Lester and Buchholz who are two of the three best pitchers in the league. Joe Girardi said he would have probably started Buchholz is he had been available for the All-Star game. That’€™s what has to happen, this is the time when the pitching has to carry them. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: George Steinbrenner, peter gammons, The Big Show,
Gammons on The Big Show: ‘I can’t figure out Daisuke’ 05.21.10 at 7:20 pm ET
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National Baseball Hall of Fame writer and current NESN analyst Peter Gammons appeared on The Big Show Friday afternoon to discuss the future of the Red Sox, David Ortiz, and the mini-drama that is Daisuke Matsuzaka. “I can’t figure out Daisuke,” Gammons said. “His stuff is so much better than it was, he gets swings and misses, but it really bothered me when all of a sudden it started up about, “Oh, it’s the catcher.” When the previous two years it was, “I had trouble with [Jason] Varitek.” A couple of players said to me, “It’s always going to be somebody else’s fault.”

Gammons went on to praise Varitek and the selfless work he has done this year as a part-time player.

Below is a transcript. To listen to the interview, visit The Big Show audio on demand page.

Things have looked good for the Red Sox recently, especially the pitching staff.

It is. I mean the statistic that defines the American League East race is that, beyond the quality starts, and the starters’ ERA, and the number of times your starters have got to the eighth inning, is the fact that the Yankees and Red Sox starters each have allowed five earned runs or more 16 times. Tampa Bay has allowed five earned runs or more for their starters once. That’s the race in a nutshell.

I thought there were two things that were encouraging this week, and believe me I don’t have a good feeling about going into Philadelphia and Tampa Bay and having Matsuzaka and Wakefield pitch on the weekend against the best team in the National League, but, with that said, I thought that the way they came back two nights in a row against the Yankees says something. Yes, I mean, they blew the game on Monday night, but as I have been saying all week, never again in my life will I see three consecutive games in which Mariano Rivera, Jonathan Papelbon and Mariano Rivera blew games and lost.

I mean, those things happen. But they did battle back, and then, Rob [Bradford] didn’t you say it during the winter, I have long believed in the end their two best pitchers will be [Jon] Lester and [Clay] Buchholz. And for them to just dominate the Twins, and keep the bullpen, except for one inning of Daniel Bard, keep the bullpen seated going into Philadelphia and Tampa was really important. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: peter gammons, Red Sox, The Big Show,
David Ortiz on The Big Show: ‘I’m not paying attention to any of [the media’s] crap anymore’ 05.20.10 at 6:50 pm ET
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David Ortiz stopped by the Fenway Park studio Thursday afternoon to talk to The Big Show about Mike Lowell‘€™s recent comments, Hanley Ramirez‘€™s situation in Florida and the fans’€™ and the media’€™s perception of him during his early slumps of the last two seasons.

‘€œIt’€™s not the fans,’€ Ortiz said. ‘€œIt’€™s the media. It’€™s the media that’€™s the one that thinks they’€™ve got everything figured out. You’€™ve got guys sitting down out there that have never played the game ever before, talking about how they think I’€™m supposed to leave, that you are done, that you can’€™t hit any more, that you can do this or you can do that. You never hit before in your life ever. You know nothing about that. ‘€¦ I’€™m right here, working hard, doing my thing. I’€™m not paying attention to any of their crap anymore.’€

Ortiz also discussed his upcoming charity event, an “Eat n’€™ Greet” to benefit the David Ortiz Children’€™s Fund on May 27 at Big Papi’€™s Grille in Framingham. Click here for more information.

A transcript of that interview follows. To hear the interview, click on The Big Show audio on demand page.

Now you have eight home runs, but today’€™s the anniversary of the day that you hit your first one last year. Is it kind of crazy to think that last year at this time you were coming to the ballpark and hadn’€™t hit one yet?

Well, that’€™s a hitter thing. There are things that you work on, get better and it makes a difference.

Were you aware that it was the one-year anniversary?


So last year is last year? It’€™s in the past. It’€™s not something you ever want to revisit again?

Of course not. Turn the page. I already got paid for last year [laughs].

The Red Sox are near the top of the league in power numbers, even after losing Jason Bay. Does that surprise you?

Not really. We’ve got guys, they know how to swing the bat. They played the game for a long time and are big run producers. The fact that people always have questions about our team and what we are capable to do, and the season is the only way to recover.

Is there any chance Dustin Pedroia will have more home runs than you at the end of the year? Do you guys talk about that?

Pedroia? Pedey’€™s swinging good. Pedey’€™s a great hitter. Pedey’€™s the heart and soul of this ballclub, and whenever you get down to Pedey, it’€™s good. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: David Ortiz, Red Sox, The Big Show,
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