Light it up for Pesky

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Light it up for Pesky

RIP Johnny Pesky.

And theres not much else to say.

Or at least, not much that you haven't already heard.

Whether it was over the last 15 hours, or sometime over the last 70 years, weve all come to know and understand the awesomeness of Johnny Pesky; who he was and what he represented.

Pesky lived through the Great Depression. He fought in World War II. He was walking American history. As an athlete, he was best buds with Ted Williams. He was Peskys Pole. In many ways, Johnny Pesky was the Red Sox.

And it's tough to say goodbye.

But he was also 92. Pesky lived a life that should be celebrated as much as it's mourned. And Im sure well see a little of both the next time the Sox play at Fenway. (FYI: Tuesday, Aug. 21)

For all the awful things we say about this ownership group, you know theyll do it up right for The Needle. A moment of silence. Some kind of special tribute. I wont be surprised to see Peskys son David (who will turn 60 in December) on hand.

And I hope they do something with Peskys Pole.

I doubt the league will let them paint it black, but what if the Sox went the other way? How about lining it with neon track lighting? How great would it be to look out in right field for the rest of the season and see that pole beaming like a lightsaber? Or if that doesn't work, what about just one bright light at the very top?
Granted, with the way this season has gone for the Sox, someone would probably hit a line drive off one of the lights and send it crashing down on a bunch of fans.

But it would be worth it for Pesky.

A Red Sox legend. A great American.

He will be missed.

RIP.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Extended podcast with David Ortiz on his career, PED's, the Marathon bombing and more

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Extended podcast with David Ortiz on his career, PED's, the Marathon bombing and more

David Ortiz offers thoughtful answers and insight in this interview with Sean McAdam touching on his beginning with the Red Sox, the Boston Marathon bombings, showing up on a PED list, his impact in the dugout, and more.

You can also see pieces of the interview on CSN Friday at 6:30pm on a special Arbella Early Edition with Gary Tanguay and Lou Merloni.

RELATED Special Video Series - "Big Papi - An Oral History" from CSN

Bogaerts' "maturity is clearly taking hold"

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Bogaerts' "maturity is clearly taking hold"

NEW YORK -- Xander Bogaerts enjoyed a terrific 2015, his second full season in the big leagues.

He finished second in the American League batting race, established himself as a solid defender at short and generally showed immense promise.

The only thing he didn't do was show much home run power, limited to just seven homers.

This past spring, both manager John Farrell and Chili Davis expressed confidence that the home runs would come, and that they would come organically.

And so they have. In Thursday night's loss to the New York Yankees, a solo homer in the fifth by Bogaerts represented the only Red Sox run of the night in a 5-1 loss. It also gave Bogaerts 21 homers for the year, exactly triple his output from a year ago.

"The maturity is clearly taking hold," said John Farrell of Bogaerts' growth. "You start to get a couple thousand at-bats at the major league level, you're starting to understand your swing, you're picking out certain counts in which to leverage a little bit more. He's been able to do that.

"Home runs are up across the board. But with Xander in particular, he's physically maturing and he's maturing as a major league player as well."

Bogaerts took the advise of Davis and others and didn't set out to try to hit more homers this year. He knew they would come in time.

"Maybe not this quick," he said of the big increase, "but probably in the future, yeah. That's what I did in the minor leagues, so it's kind of something that I thought might translate to the big leagues, too."

Bogaerts is hard-pressed to put his finger on any on factor to explain the big uptick. After all, he didn't change his swing or his stance.

Rather, the homers came as a result of him understanding himself better as a hitter and consistently taking the right approach at the plate.

"It's just (a matter of) taking good swings in good counts," he offered. "Sometimes, you're looking for one. But overall, it's just being a more mature hitter and looking for the right spots to pick and choose."

It hasn't hurt that he's surrounded by quality hitters in the Red Sox lineup, with Mookie Betts and Dustin Pedroia ahead of him earlier in the year, and now Pedrioa ahead of him and David Ortiz behind him.

In addition to seeing better pitches because of who's surrounding him, Bogaerts has also benefitted from listening to Ortiz, who watches his at-bats and offers advice when called for.

Still, most of the credit belongs to Bogaerts himself, who has grown into his power naturally -- just as his manager and hitting coach forecast.