Valentine: Ortiz 'decided not to play'

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Valentine: Ortiz 'decided not to play'

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Bobby Valentine was a guest on NBC Sports Network's "Costas Tonight" on Tuesday, and talked in-depth about some moments in the 2012 Sox season.

So, when Valentine got the inevitable news of his firing, how did he take it?

"I was relieved that I was not disappointed, if that makes any sense," Valentine said. "It was a trying season, and by September I knew there was writing on the wall. We just had to have a meeting and make it official."

But there was a point in the season when Valentine thought the team was going to start taking a turn for the better but that came to an abrupt halt.

"At one time we were about 53-50 and I thought we were ready to make a move and then David got his achilles and Will Middlebrooks, who is a wonderful young player by the way, broke his hand," Valentine said.

But despite the many injuries, Valentine isn't here to make excuses for the season that spiraled out of control.

"I think it was all my fault because I got paid to have that not happen, and it happened. So I'll take the full blame . . . or credit."

Valentine said that he didn't take the only advice that former "dean" Tom Landry gave him way back in his 30s.

According to Valentine, Landry said, "If anything, make sure your coaches speak your language."

"I should have heeded that advice and made sure that the coaches were my guys," Valentine admitted.

But there were reports that Valentine was "on an island" as Costas put it, not with the players much in-between games and in the locker room. The relationships weren't established enough.

"There could have been," Valentine admitted. "It wasn't like I was there alone. There was always someone from there from Ben's office, one of the assistant's is always in the manager's office, before and after games that's kind of what was going there. I felt that in today's world, and it seems today that it's true, that that world is the player's world. The clubhouse is theirs. It's not for the coaches or the managers. I just felt that was the way it was supposed to be."

Perhaps the culture hadn't changed fast enough, as Valentine said. Or perhaps, the players were still upset at some things that happened early on in the year.

There was the Kevin Youkilis debacle of Valentine saying he didn't appear really into the game. Then there was the Middlebrooks "Nice inning, Kid" moment of which Valentine denies happening based on the fact neither he or Middlebrooks can remember it.

But none made Valentine more bewildered than what occurred in spring training and boy, was it a sign of things to come for the reminder of the season. A simple pop up to left field, one in which the outfielder came in and shortstop Mike Aviles in this case came out. The ball belongs to the outfielder if he calls for it, and Valentine wasn't leaving that up for debate.

"I just said, 'Guys, on this matter this is not a democracy. We're doing it the way you do it in baseball.'"

What happened next to this day baffles Valentine. Valentine described players coming in later that day, saying, "Please don't yell at Mike like that, he's a really good player but I don't think he can handle being you yelling his name in front of other people.' I'm still incredulous."

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But issues with players weren't the only thing. Valentine was surprised at all the managerial voices that went in to decisions that he felt he should be able to make alone.

"I think that's unique to that group of guys," Valentine said. "I don't think it's indigenous to all of baseball, at least I pray it's not because it's not functional with the tail wagging the dog and taking a vote every time you have to decide how you're going to do things. A leader needs to lead. He leads by forming the pack and padding down the pack and other people follow. You can't have the guy in the back of the line coming up deciding which direction you're going to go in."

At some point, Cherington decided to go in the direction of blowing up the team. Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, and Carl Crawford headed to Los Angeles, ridding the Sox of the contracts they were previously tied to. But it was another player, David Ortiz, that "decided" to end his Sox season that day too.

"David came back that day," Valentine recalled. "David Ortiz came back after spending about six weeks on the disabled list. We thought it was only going to be a week. And he got two hits the first two times up, drove in a couple runs, we were off to the races, and then he realized that this trade meant that we weren't going to run this race, we're not even going to finish the race properly. He decided not to play anymore, and I think at that time it was all downhill from there.

MORE: Sports Tonight discusses Valentine's 'revisionist's history'

Time will tell how new manager John Farrell will fare. But Valentine hopes he'll call him for advice, not that he thinks Farrell needs it.

As far as his relationship with his players, he says most guys wished him well some making him tear up.

"We struggled, but we struggled together," Valentine said.

Avery Bradley (Achilles) will not play vs. Knicks

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Avery Bradley (Achilles) will not play vs. Knicks

BOSTON – Both New York and Boston will take to the floor tonight minus a starter courtesy of a sore Achilles injury.

For Celtics guard Avery Bradley, tonight will be the fifth time in the last six games that his right Achilles injury will keep him sidelined.

Meanwhile, New York’s Kristaps Porzingis will miss his fourth straight game with a sore left Achilles injury.

The 7-foot-3 Porzingis averages 19.4 points, 7.4 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game.

Porzingis’ absence tonight was established well before tip-off.

“I’d say I’m 90 percent ready; still not there yet,” Porzingis told reporters prior to the game. “But I’m getting closer … hopefully the next game or after the next game.”

As far as Bradley is concerned, he was a last-minute matter.

Celtics head coach Brad Stevens was asked about his roster earlier tonight, and indicated Tyler Zeller (sinus) and James Young (ankle) would be on the inactive list tonight with injuries.

Without Bradley, the Celtics are expected to start Marcus Smart who has filled in as the team’s starter previously when the 6-foot-2 Bradley was unavailable.

 Bradley is the Celtics' second-leading scorer with 17.7 points per game this season, along with a team-high 6.9 rebounds per game and 2.4 assists. 

Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines, Ivan Rodriguez elected to Hall of Fame

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Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines, Ivan Rodriguez elected to Hall of Fame

NEW YORK - Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines and Ivan Rodriguez were elected to baseball's Hall of Fame on Wednesday, earning the honor as Trevor Hoffman and Vladimir Guerrero fell just short.

Steroids-tainted stars Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens were passed over for the fifth straight year by the Baseball Writers' Association of America. But they received significantly more votes this time and could be in position to gain election in coming years.

Bagwell, on the ballot for the seventh time after falling 15 votes short last year, received 381 of 442 votes for 86.2 percent. Players needed 75 percent, which came to 332 votes this year.

In his 10th and final year of eligibility, Raines was on 380 ballots (86 percent). Rodriguez received 336 votes (76 percent) to join Johnny Bench in 1989 as the only catchers elected on the first ballot.

Hoffman was five votes shy and Guerrero 15 short.

Edgar Martinez was next at 58.6 percent, followed by Clemens at 54.1 percent, Bonds at 53.8 percent, Mike Mussina at 51.8 percent, Curt Schilling at 45 percent, Lee Smith at 34.2 percent and Manny Ramirez at 23.8 percent.

Players will be inducted July 30 during ceremonies at Cooperstown along with former Commissioner Bud Selig and retired Kansas City and Atlanta Braves executive John Schuerholz, both elected last month by a veterans committee.

Bagwell was a four-time All-Star who spent his entire career with Houston, finishing with a .297 batting average, 401 homers and 1,401 RBIs.

Raines, fifth in career stolen bases, was a seven-time All-Star and the 1986 NL batting champion. He spent 13 of 23 big league seasons with the Montreal Expos, who left Canada to become the Washington Nationals for the 2005 season, and joins Andre Dawson and Gary Carter as the only players to enter the Hall representing the Expos.

Raines hit .294 with a .385 on-base percentage, playing during a time when Rickey Henderson was the sport's dominant speedster.

Rodriguez, a 14-time All-Star who hit .296 with 311 homers and 1,332 RBIs, was never disciplined for PEDs but former Texas teammate Jose Canseco alleged in a 2005 book that he injected the catcher with steroids. Asked whether he was on the list of players who allegedly tested positive for steroids during baseball's 2003 survey, Rodriguez said in 2009: "Only God knows."

Bonds, a seven-time MVP who holds the season and career home run records, received 36.2 percent in his initial appearance, in 2013, and jumped from 44.3 percent last year. Clemens, a seven-time Cy Young Award winner, rose from 45.2 percent last year.

Bonds was indicted on charges he lied to a grand jury in 2003 when he denied using PEDs, but a jury failed to reach a verdict on three counts he made false statements and convicted him on one obstruction of justice count, finding he gave an evasive answer. The conviction was overturned appeal in 2015.

Clemens was acquitted on one count of obstruction of Congress, three counts of making false statements to Congress and two counts of perjury, all stemming from his denials of drug use.

A 12-time All-Star on the ballot for the first time, Ramirez was twice suspended for violating baseball's drug agreement. He helped the Boston Red Sox win World Series titles in 2004 and `07, the first for the franchise since 1918, and hit .312 with 555 home runs and 1,831 RBIs in 19 big league seasons.

Several notable players will join them in the competition for votes in upcoming years: Chipper Jones in 2018, Mariano Rivera and Roy Halladay in 2019, and Derek Jeter in 2020.