BOSTON (CBS) – It seems as though there is more talk about the Boston Red Sox off the field than there is about their play on it.
Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal joined 98.5 The Sports Hub’s The DA Show on Monday night to talk about David Ortiz calling a players only meeting a few weeks back, a story he broke over the weekend.
Is it surprising that Ortiz was the one to call the meeting, as the perception is that Dustin Pedroia is the true leader of the ball club?
“My perception of the team is that — and I’m not there every day — yes, Pedroia is the heart and soul, but Ortiz is a leader of the team,” said Rosenthal. “And it was entirely appropriate for him to call that meeting even more so than Pedroia; he is the longest tenured member of the club, a vocal person when he needs to be, and it did not stun me for a moment when I heard it was him.”
“It was a heated meeting, and to some degree the hitters were addressing the pitchers,” Rosenthal said of the meeting, which took place on May 10 after the Sox suffered an embarrassing loss to the Cleveland Indians the night before. “I don’t know if Ortiz alone spoke or if others spoke; it was very difficult getting any information on this. But my understanding from multiple sources is the hitters indeed challenged the pitchers.”
Did the meeting have any effect on the team?
“To know how they changed is kind of difficult to say, but they did win five straight,” said Rosenthal. “And their performance Saturday night (a 7-5 win over the Phillies) I thought was just inspired; it was tough, it was cool. Gonzalez out in right field sliding around out there making catches, what Sweeney did to save those two runs; just a whole team effort put forth.”
“I don’t know if it had anything to do with a meeting that took place a bunch of days before,but that was a team that came together at least on that one night,” Rosenthal said of the Sox’ Saturday performance. “They’ve shown some grit here, they’ve shown some heart…. In my view they’ve become more likable over the past week because of what they’ve shown.”
Where was manager Bobby Valentine during this meeting, and was he a topic that was brought up? While Rosenthal is not sure of Valentine’s involvement, he is not hearing great things about the man in charge.
“That dynamic is difficult to get into,” said Rosenthal. “What I’ve been told by people is that he doesn’t have a great grip on the team. Maybe part of that meeting — and I don’t know this, I’m just speculating –was ‘hey, we have to do this for ourselves, no griping about the manager.’ Could have been, I don’t know. Players only meetings are not unusual in the game, and sometimes they’re necessary.”
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“Ultimately, these are grown men, these are adults. The manager, I know a lot of people see them as great motivator. That might be true in football, but not in baseball where there are 162 games. Motivation, if it’s not coming from within you have a problem.”
How does this meeting relate back to what happened last September? How has Valentine’s approach play into the Sox’ up-and-down play thus far? Find out that and more with Ken Rosenthal on The DA Show!