Adrian Gonzalez isn't in Fort Myers yet, but he's already delivered the first State of the Sox address of the spring.
Visiting ESPN, he appeared on SportsCenter and also did an interview with ESPN Boston Radio's Adam Jones. And he put forth a take on last September's collapse that we're certain to hear over and over as the players emerge from their winter hibernation:
We just didnt play good baseball . . . More than anything it was just the fact we didnt play good baseball. We didnt play good defense for our pitchers, we didnt get those timely hits that we needed to to bring in that extra run. We didnt prevent enough runs. It was a team as a whole that failed. We look forward to erasing that and getting back into the playoffs.
In other words, forget about the chicken. Forget about the beer. Forget about the salacious headlines of last October. That stuff wasn't the reason the Sox went 7-20 over the season's final month.
But after admitting that he was a follower and not a leader in his first season in Boston -- "I came in to a team that had leaders in place and didn't want to step on anybody's toes" -- he did say he's going to step up this year.
"There's things that I saw and noticed (last year) that I'm not going to leave unaddressed if they need to be (addressed)," he said. "With Bobby Valentine being our manager now, he's going to set a lot of ground rules for that, too."
Isaiah Thomas isn't a starter for the Eastern Conference All-Star team. But A. Sherrod Blakely expects it to be more motivation for the Celtics point guard.
BOSTON -- “I didn’t feel that love after I made a pitching change in the sixth inning,” Terry Francona said after a 45-second standing ovation from Boston fans upon receiving the MLB Manager of the Year award from the BBWAA Thursday.
It’s without question the love for Francona runs deep in the city. Why wouldn’t it? He was the leader in breaking the 86-year old curse, and wound up winning another World Series title for Boston three years later.
Actually, he was more of a co-leader, working alongside the same person who won the MLB Executive of the Year honors from the BBWAA for 2016.
Theo Epstein -- who received an ovation 17 seconds shorter than Francona, but who’s counting -- reminisced about the Red Sox ownership group that took a chance on a young kid who wasn’t necessarily the ideal candidate to take over as GM of a team, but now that’s helped him build the Chicago Cubs into a winning franchise and establish a great working environment.
This October marks 13 years since the ’04 championship, 10 years since ’07 and six years since the pair left Boston. Without question they’ve left their mark on the city and forever changed Red Sox baseball.
And while the fans showed their undying gratitude for Francona with an ovation almost as long as his acceptance speech, the Indians manager recognized the favor the current Red Sox brass has done for him.
“I’d like to thank Dave Dombrowski and the Red Sox for getting Chris Sale the hell out of the Central Division,” Francona said.