Could the disarray in the Boston Red Sox clubhouse get any worse? In addition to their on-field woes, most of the team failed to show up for the funeral of Red Sox legend Johnny Pesky earlier this week.
Of the current, active roster, only David Oritz, Clay Buchholz, Vincente Padilla, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia paid their respects at the Pesky services. The Red Sox even had arranged for buses to transport staff, players, and other officials to the church.
It gets worse, according to the Boston Herald:
By contrast, that same night, nearly the entire team turned out for pitcher Josh Beckett annual Beckett Bowl and country music show at Lucky Strike Lanes and the House of Blues.
Team president Larry Lucchino went on the Dennis and Callahan show on sports radio WEEI and came up with a lame excuse for the players. He claimed that since the team got back into town afer the Yankees series at 4 a.m., it was understandable that the players couldn’t manage to make a 11 a.m. funeral.
Let’s face it; professional athletes keep crazy hours. If showing respect to Johnny Pesky and his family was important to them, they would have found a way to show up. Every player on the team wore number 6 for Tuesday night’s game to honor his memory, however.
The Red Sox brought in Bobby Valentine to try to straighten things out on the team after last year’s September collapse, but Valentine has proven more “passive” than aggressive. Last night, for example, the Sox blew several leads and as a result, wound up being swept at home by the Los Angeles Angels. Vernon Wells homered into the Green Monster in the top of the ninth, but on replay it looked like it may not have been been a home run after all. Valentine, however, failed to ask the umpires to consult the video as the MLB rules allow him to do.
It was recently revealed that Red Sox players had a contentious meeting with ownership on July 26 that may or may not have been effort to get Valentine fired.
Unlike in Johnny Pesky’s era, contemporary professional athletes in general, not just the Red Sox by any means, have developed a sense of entitlement and narcissism that probably has its source in the massive, almost obscene, player salaries and guaranteed contracts that the owners and the unions together have allowed to come into being.
Johnny Pesky was a player, manager, broadcaster, and a special instructor for the Red Sox and was unofficially called the club’s goodwill ambassador over a 60-plus-year baseball career. He was a constant presence at spring training and at Fenway Park. His legacy is also a permanent part of the ballpark in the form of the right-field foul pole, which is nicknamed the Pesky Pole.