Dustin Pedroia was once -- along with David Ortiz -- one of the team's most popular players, but this year he has seen his likability take a bit of a dive.
The Red Sox are on pace to have a losing season, and Pedroia has found himself mixed up in some of his team's off-the-field tumult that has seemingly worn on much of the fan base.
On Wednesday night in California, Pedroia spoke with WEEI.com to set the record straight on some of the most noteworthy issues of this turbulent season.
First and foremost, he wanted to make clear just how badly he hopes to remain in Boston for the duration of his career.
"I want to be a Red Sox my whole career," Pedroia said. "I want to be here during the World Series times, during the September collapse, the biggest trade, and I want to be here when we're world champs again. I want that. I've been through times when not a writer said a bad thing about me, or the talk show hadn't said a bad thing about me, and I want to be here when they say a bad thing about me. I look in the mirror every day and at the end of the season I'm going to look back and say I did everything I could to help us win. Were there parts I regret? Yeah, without question. There were a lot more than in the past, but I learned from those things. It's going to make me better, I believe that. Yeah, I have to believe that. It's going to."
On the shot he took at Bobby Valentine early in the year after Valentine critiqued Kevin Youkilis' effort:
"Basically I was trying to get Youk's back and just say, basically, if someone had a problem with somebody just come to them and talk to them about it. It came out wrong. I messed that up. No question about it. Obviously I don't want to call out our manager by any means. I've never been put in that situation before and I didn't know how to respond. I regret that all that happened. I probably should have looked and saw what was going on and tried to check the pulse of how the fans and everyone was reacting to our team. I had no idea."
On the meeting Red Sox players had with ownership in New York, where players reportedly tried to have Valentine fired:
"Obviously we weren't playing very good and this meeting was of bigger magnitude because we're all trying to figure out why we're not playing well. Why are we losing ballgames, and how come we're not like we were last year before September? Basically everybody spoke, everybody gave their opinions on why we weren't winning. My intentions when I spoke was to talk about how we can improve and be better. It had nothing to do with Bobby. How many pitches has Bobby thrown this year? How many hits has he got?"
On the photo Pedroia reportedly took, mocking Valentine as Valentine slept in the clubhouse:
"We were in Oakland and Bobby passed out, he was sleeping, taking a nap. We were all tired. We were grinding. David was right there and I took a picture, put two thumbs up, smiled and took a picture. I was trying to keep the guys We weren't playing very well, trying to keep a loose atmosphere. That was it. You have to enjoy your life. It was funny. I'm not trying to be disrespectful. I had no idea First off, I don't know how, maybe somebody was just joking around with somebody and told them, 'Hey man, this was hilarious,' and this guy thought it was a story I was disrespecting the manager. That was basically it. I was just trying to keep the guys loose, having fun, playing the game right. That's it.
"Listen, when you have a different manager, it's a different environment. I was basically thinking, 'This is fine.' Me and Bobby have built a relationship that's pretty darn good. The other night I led off the inning, struck out, and we ended up four or five, and Bobby looked at me and said, 'Hey, way to start it.' I'm laughing. It's normal as a team and normal when you have a good relationship to do things like that, because we're around each every day. We're in the fight together. When times are tough people would view that, 'Oh, can you believe he said this, or did this.' All of our intentions are good. We all want to win the game. Everybody wants to have fun doing it. It's not to disrespect anybody. I've never disrespected anybody."
On why he missed Johnny Pesky's funeral:
"We got in at 3:45 or 4 a.m. and we had a note on our chair. I didn't even get my luggage that day because my wife is nine months pregnant and I wanted to get home. I was under the impression when I got up -- her mom had left town the day before to go back to Chicago, so I've got to make sure I take care of Dylan, who's 3-years-old and flat-out wild. She can't handle him one-on-one right now. When I found out I didn't have any help to have somebody to help with him. We did that night because we knew about Josh's event for so long. So when Dylan woke up I took care of him.
"Johnny meant the world to me, just like he did to everybody. That's something I'm going to have to live with, not being at his funeral. It was just a tough situation. Then I got my wife out for a couple of hours at Josh's thing, she was starving and we went out to dinner real quick and went back to the event. When you look back, yeah, it looks bad, but I had no intentions of disrespecting anybody. That's all I can say. I wish everybody handled it differently. I wish we would have known earlier. Don't get me wrong, if we had known earlier then a lot of guys It was tough on the timing. It was hard."